Gut Düneburg is a tranquil golf resort in a rural area that’s blessed with some great terrain for its golf course. The first three holes are moorland in nature and gently undulated as they wind their way through the forest. The 4th hole makes a great transition into more open land and the following stretch of holes play around a couple of lakes with an assortment of heroic water carries.
A number of Scandinavian-style holiday cottages are also located there, but they fit nicely into the surroundings. Instead of lining the fairways, the developer put them on the other side of the lakes and arranged them in an irregular cluster, rather than rows. The entire area is sandy, as evidenced by the numerous natural bunkers that are laid out as waste areas.
At the 9th hole, there’s an exasperating walk where golfers actually leave the golf course, re-enter at the clubhouse, then pass the 18th green before going back up towards the 1st tee to reach the 10th behind it. An easy solution to overcome this long trek would be to simply switch the nines, cutting the walk into two parts. The reason for this awkward routing is probably that the 18th is the signature hole and the back nine seems to be received more favourably in general.
Holes 10-18 were built on a giant sand drift with yet more natural bunkers and an occasional patch of heather. Unfortunately, the heathland character seems to not play much of a role in the maintenance meld, as there are all sorts of young trees and greedy shrubs growing in between. The course still does play firm, but not as much as the carefully groomed heathland courses in England.
In any event, there are a number of great holes here that also feature some good ground game aspects. The culmination is the 18th hole, a left doglegged par four with the ultimate penal approach. Only after a 100% perfect drive can the golfer hope to attack the peninsula green through a gap in the trees and off a side hill or downhill lie.
Things are generally pretty low key at Gut Düneburg and the course doesn't shove its features in your face, but there’s a quiet air of quality underlying everything. The variety of the terrain is rare and many holes have a sound strategy. Replay interest should be high and the entire place is easy to spend time at.
This one's definitely off the beaten track and so it has flown under my radar, which usually is quite sensitive to sandy courses. The marketing doesn't make much of that angle though and neither does the greenkeeping. But how many courses in Germany can lay a legitimate claim to either the links or heathland designation? There's a lot of heather in Northern Germany, but all of it fiercely protected from development, so I don't know how they got permission to build here. I suppose no one actually saw the sand before the pines were cleared. Be that as it may, it's a strong design on great land and if they could somehow tie the 18 holes together, perhaps by creating an out and back routing, they could export the course to Surrey. Cut down more trees, cultivate the heather - it's no secret how to rise up in the rankings. (UM)