The Big Bertha line of golf clubs is popular enough to warrant its own article in Wikipedia. Callaway chose the name to evoke the famous Big Bertha howitzer built by German arms manufacturer Krupp. The artillery piece in turn was named after Bertha Krupp, heiress and owner of the industrial giant. There are other, less interesting theories about the origin of the name, but let's go with Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, because she was not only the main woman at the firm, but also an influential member at Golf-Club Bergisch Land. John Morrison laid out the first 9 holes in 1928 and two years later Bertha donated the clubhouse: the first prefabricated house ever, just invented by Krupp's engineers and steel-plated from wall to wall. Only one other unit was ever sold, but there were no issues with longevity: Bergisch Land's clubhouse has refused to go down to this day, withstanding a devastating fire in the 1970s and some less than enthusiastic members after that.
Bergisch Land means "mountainous country" and that may be a slight exaggeration, but "hilly" certainly fits the bill. After World War II John Morrison was brought in again, which resulted in today's classic stretch of thirteen holes. Bernhard von Limburger added the last five holes after Morrison's death and on a different property to boot. So this feels a bit like two courses with a decent walk between them.
The Morrison course is a typical Colt & Company product of the Golden Age; quirky, adventurous, but always clearly laid out in front of the golfer, so that even elite players will not complain about unfairness. The only really confusing part is finding the 5th tee, which, oddly enough, is hidden right behind the first green. Speaking of the putting surfaces, they are interesting, but not over the top and the day's stimp reading is posted as well. The signature hole is the 13th that plays from a panoramic tee back down to Bertha's clubhouse. The one issue with the classic holes may be that while they all look very different, they do not always play very different. A number of approaches (including the tee shots on some of the par threes) are of a similar length.Holes 14 and 15 are rather ordinary, it's almost as if a third architect was at work here. Gladly, the final three holes carry some interest again and will ask for a bit of strategic thinking. So there are sixteen very good holes on offer and despite the hilly site the layout is walkable and always in good nick.