Ferdinand von Schill, a self-styled freedom fighter, gained some notoriety in early 19th century Germany by waging his own, private war against Napoleon with a motley gang of mercenaries. Naturally, this rather optimistic endeavour ended with total defeat and Schill's death. Had he stayed at home and nurtured a family instead, then Golf Club Dresden Elbflorenz might not even exist today. As it is, the course was laid out over Schill's former estate and the listed building, where he was born, is also part of the ensemble.
The property provides generous undulations, which course architect Dieter Sziedat translated into a number of inspiring situations, while at the same time preserving walkability and avoiding excessive blindness. Additional land from a formerly royal forest was acquired for Holes 12 through 15, which the club considers its signature stretch. Number 13 is certainly a very unusual par five in that it has two solitary trees in the middle of the fairway that come into play for the first and second shot. These forest holes reward accurate play (read: are very tight), but the rest of the course is open enough for strategic play and the rough is always kept in check.
The main issue with the course is drainage, perhaps surprising considering the natural undulations. Dresden Elbflorenz is definitely not a place for winter golf, temporary greens appear early and the forest holes are closed off entirely during the off-season.
On the administrative side, the club certainly does not shy away from innovation: one slightly bemusing decision is to keep the holes unnumbered and refer to them by their sponsor's name only. This could lead to conversations like "Excuse me Sir, we lost our way, we are looking for Lexus? ... Well, this here is Vodafone, you need to backtrack over Mercedes-Benz and turn sharp right towards the Bombastus green!"
A more admirable practice is that the club rates all four tees for both sexes and gives recommendations based on handicap. Although according to those the back tees, almost 6,800 yards, are for players with a handicap of 15 or better. Bogey golfers will probably have their hands full from 6,500 yards already, considering the slope value of 139. However, the layout's biggest asset is not its difficulty, but the diversity of the challenges. It's hard not to have fun here.