Much of 2020 has left me feeling like a pro golfer - only time you’ll ever catch me writing this - who has lost his tour card. So when a friend managed to get me a sponsor’s exemption for an event in Germany, I was pretty happy. A short trip across the border & one Big Mac later we found ourselves at Gut Duneberg, a course ranked #19 amongst Germany’s 700+ options.
The opening hole, a pretty enough little left to right dogleg, had my Spider Sense tingling almost immediately. You see I had feared my unintentionally excellent opening drive had run out of room, yet in Mysterio fashion I found my ball in the fairway, about 3 inches behind its deep plug mark. Where was the Sand, man, mentioned in the previous review? These ground conditions continued for the first 7 or 8 holes.
Much of the front nine was also too narrow (or a relative lack of width was exacerbated by wild rough immediately outside of the fairways). This gave no chance of recovery shots and lead to balls lost for shots that were not the worst you’d ever seen. One additional observation would be that several of these opening holes had unnecessary tree/shrub growth obscuring some targets, both into greens or in front of tee boxes. If this was an Alister MacKenzie course you might credit the camouflage or applaud the deception, but it was just messy.And it would be the simplest of fixes. On the positive side, I enjoyed the green site on the 3rd hole, hitting up into a benched target with trouble left, and the pretty dropshot short 4th. My Spider Sense did tingle again, one final time, when using the shortest stick. This time it was Green Goblins that caught my attention - seemingly exhibits from Kew Gardens were on display on some of the putting surfaces.
Thankfully, things dramatically improve at the turn, and what follows is a series of more expansive woodland holes, with intermittent clusters of heather (as well as that legend, sand). If you had 18 holes like this, you might have something that rivals the likes of Rosendaelsche in The Netherlands. These holes were a pleasure to play. Hole 18 returns to the softer conditions of the opening holes and a par here is well earned. It requires a very precise drive up the right side of a tilted fairway, and then a forced carry steeply downhill over a pond to what is essentially an island green. 3 stableford points here were appreciated and sneaked my total up to 30 or 31. I’d played well but had lost too many balls.
Gut Duneberg could be greatly improved by better maintenance and I wonder if the Corona situation has had an impact on this? This would still leave a distinct quality divergence between the 9’s, but that could be forgiven if the overall playability and conditioning was optimized - especially as the better holes are saved for later in the round. I have limited experience of playing in Germany, but a current ranking of #19 feels too high based on what we saw. Back 9 sneaks it up to 4 balls.
Date: October 19, 2020