The holiday resort “Land Fleesensee” lies in the heart of the spectacular Mecklenburg Lake District and offers, amongst other attractions, three 18-hole courses and two 9-holers, making it the second largest golf resort in Germany, trailing only Bad Griesbach. European Golf Design, the European Tour’s golf course design arm, built all 72 holes plus the huge practice area.
Hence the overall feel is one of an American Tour venue, which will split opinions on whether this is appropriate for a European setting. Regardless of what golfers may think about the style, EGD’s man in charge, American Stan Eby, is certainly no stranger to prestigious projects. He was involved in the construction of places like the Langer course at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, the Montgomerie course at Carton House and the Faldo course at Sporting Club Berlin.
The flagship layout at Fleesensee is the Schloss course, which is a tough test of target golf – unusual for a family-oriented resort, where many guests will struggle on such a penal design. The idea might have been that weaker players would seek out one of the other tracks, but those are not only less demanding, but also visually less attractive by some margin. The pecking order is made clear by the fact that all other courses have changing names, depending on the current corporate sponsor.
Coming back to the Schloss course, there's a good flow and some intimacy to the routing, but the individual hole strategies are mostly set up to reward conservative play. Only good players can attack here, there is water and rough everywhere and the bunkers have real teeth. It’s a good test of golf, but it fails to make Fleesensee a destination in itself, such as Bandon Dunes, where people will come from everywhere just to play the famous courses.
Although it has to be said that the golf school delivers some destination flair, headed by charismatic Oliver Heuler, one of the most famous and controversial teachers of the game in Germany. He offers a money back guarantee on lessons, which the student can invoke without confronting the Professional in question. Some will think that a golf lesson is still more work than play and the same might be said about the Schloss course.