When the Jaguar course (now called the Mercedes-Benz course) at the Hartl Golf Resort was completed in 2003, it brought the number of 18-hole courses at Bad Griesbach to six – and, in addition, there are three 9-hole courses and two six hole “learner” layouts on the property.
In the world of mega-sized global golfing destinations, you will not be surprised to learn that the Hartl resort boasts of links with the 5-course PGA National complex in America and 12-course Mission Hills in China. Like those other two sites, Hartl plays an important part in promoting the game of golf both nationally and internationally.
The Brunnwies course was the first to be designed by Bernhard Langer at Bad Griesbach and it remains the flagship layout at the resort. Located in the Rott Valley of Lower Bavaria to the north east of Munich, the eighteen holes have been intuitively routed to blend in beautifully with the natural landscape.
The par four 5th is an absolute beast, well worthy of its stroke index 1 rating. Played from a left offset tee position, with out of bounds to the right of the fairway, the hole ventures straight uphill to a wickedly sloping green that affords few, if any, reasonable pin positions.
Other notable holes include the par fives at holes 7 and 10 (both plunge steeply downhill from gun platform tee positions, inviting golfers to open their shoulders and let rip with the driver) and the signature hole on the course, the par three 14th, where a pond protects the front left corner of a green sitting more than a hundred feet below the level of the tee.
I’d heard the Brunnwies course was hilly - just like the nearby Uttlau and Lederbach courses - and so it proved to be. Describing the topography in this part of Bavaria as “rolling” would just about cover it, I suppose, and fairways hug the contours pretty tightly to provide both thrilling downhill holes (like those on 2, 7, 10 and 18) and some not so thrilling uphill treks, such as at holes 5, 9, 13 and 15.
It would be impossible to route a course over this type of landscape so that all the holes were played on an even keel so you just have to go with the flow and enjoy the ups and the downs as they arrive during the round.
I liked the three par threes on the front nine (one long, one medium and one short in length) and the double doglegged par five 7th, which snakes first to the right and then to the left before climbing to the green. The downhill 4th, played to a green protected by a pond on its left flank, was also a very pretty hole.
On the inward half, the three-tiered putting surface on hole 11 made it a real feature green and the downhill par three 14th was another visually stunning hole. The artificial pond in front of the par four 18th green is rather an eyesore for the purist but it certainly did its job protecting par with my fourball as only one golfer walked off the home green with a closing four.
I’m not so sure the Brunnwies course deserves to be nationally ranked higher than the Beckenbauer course at Bad Griesbach as I think the latter offers more of a true test of golf. Nonetheless, these two 18-hole layouts comprise the best 36-hole combination at the resort so best to play them both then compare and contrast their respective strengths and weaknesses over a Bavarian beer or two in the clubhouse.