- AddressMoselweg 4, 53902 Bad Münstereifel, Germany
Bad Münstereifel is the archetypical hidden gem… no one in particular designed it, it lies in the middle of nowhere, there is hardly any traffic on the course, no two golfers agree on its merits and absolutely nothing stands between the player and the natural landscape. Perhaps with the exception of "Astropeiler", a historic radio telescope that once was the most expensive and largest scientific installation in Germany. Local enthusiasts keep it working and golfers profit by having an aiming point for the long par three 11th as well as an inimitable backdrop for a number of other holes.
The layout is beautifully simple and simply beautiful, the only manicured elements are the devilish greens. By combining the properties "small", "undulating" and "firm", they create a formidable challenge or spell imminent doom, depending on the player's short game prowess or even more so his mental resilience. There is actually a ground game here, a curiosity on the European continent!
The wild and wacky (and occasionally blind) ride starts with a par three that’s rather mellow, unless one fails to notice that the ball will bounce and roll towards the parking lot. The course picks up speed gradually over the next two holes, before #4 will ask the first serious question: Where to hit the tee ball and which club to use? A question that is repeated many times over the following holes and only overstated once, on the 12th, where something needs to be done to help the first-timer avoid knocking it deep into the woods.
Coming back to the front nine, holes play in terraces up towards Astropeiler and demand precise shot-making more than absolute length. A phenomenal stretch of holes begins with #9, a short par five that nevertheless demands two perfect strikes and a nervy pitch. The next few holes run around the top of the hill, emerge from the forest on the other side and roller coast home over open and very undulating terrain, not to mention the breathtaking scenery.
It plays much harder than it looks on the 6,000-yard scorecard. Legions of overly ambitious long hitters have been destroyed here and dismissed the experience as "not golf", which is their terminology for quirky courses that cannot be overpowered. But on hidden gems only one right is unalienable and that’s uniqueness, which Bad Münstereifel certainly has in spades.
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