This course is routed masterfully over a problematic U-shaped site. The two keys were that the 9 hole course remained on one flank of the U and the other 18 holes were routed out and back, so the narrow connector between the two flanks had to be traversed only one in each direction. The result is much more than a good compromise, it can stand with any of the classic Golden Age routings that I have seen. Necessarily most holes are side by side affairs, but they are so cleverly built along the natural landforms that it hardly ever becomes apparent. All this was achieved without skimping on fairway width except perhaps on the second hole, that runs "Out" through the narrowest part of the site and needs to accommodate the "In" hole (the climactic par 3 17th).
100 years of tree growth will change the character of a course entirely and Berlin Wannsee is no exception: just look at some of the old photos in the history section of their webpage. However, the mature trees are relatively sparse and the undergrowth is cleared, so errant shots can be recovered and in many cases played forward heroically. As usual Harry Colt snapped up the best greensites for his par 3s, but the entire property is interesting enough to provide strategic angles without introducing a barrage of bunkers. While I would not go so far as to put this course in the "like in Surrey" category, it is well worth a visit. The third 9, which I didn't get to play, also look quite interesting, if a bit on the short side. I was told that some regard the 7th hole there as the best all over. (UM)
Date: July 12, 2019