Founded in 1988, Golf Club Gut Murstätten operates a splendid golf complex that’s situated only half an hour’s drive from Graz city centre. The 18-hole Championship layout is impressively complemented by the 9-hole Süd course, along with a 3-hole short course, 20-bay driving range and comprehensive practice facility.
The first three holes on the Championship course are routed around the northern perimeter of the golf estate, easing players into their round. The left doglegged 4th then heads south towards the large lake sited in the middle of the property and holes 5 to 8 then wind their way around this large body of water.
The fairways on the back nine are routed away from this rather dominant hazard but the aquatic challenge continues in the form of ditches that come into play at holes 12 to 14. The 17th then returns to the lakeside, with the fairway of this difficult par five hole doglegging left around the water, before the par three 18th completes the round.
This is one unique golf course design: how about a links course reviewed and completed with a woman’s eye? One that includes a Japanese tea garden and house behind the 17th green? The result is not the most stressing golf course in Austria (totally flat, and seemingly open fairways where the 30 years old trees are not quite mature yet), but definitely a top aesthetic, and pleasant, experience.
When Baronin Marie-Helene Bachofen van Echt decided, in the mid-eighties, to convert the family farming estate into a golf course, she hired Dutch architect Joan Dudok van Heel to design it. He looked at the hills in the distance surrounding the flat valley grounds offered to him, and imagined a links layout with all the hillocks around the fairways and between the holes to echo the hills. However, when the original course layout was executed, Baronin Bachofen realized that this would not do: in the summer, the heat in the valley would be too much for golfers to suffer through, so she asked her brother, a lover of trees, to plant thousands of trees around the course to offer some shade relief and flowery shrubs to complement a colorful and changing decor to play golf in. She also converted the farm buildings into the clubhouse (the restaurant used to be the pen for some 45 pigs). The result is: a links that does not feel like a links at all but still gives the golf player of all levels a good run for their money, and a very pleasant one at that.
The first three holes have an out-of-bounds limit along the right side but it is not really in play. However, the par-four 2nd is a long one at 386 meters from the back tees, while the par-five third requires a good, precise drive over the trees and the bunkers at the left turn to have a chance to attack the green in two. Not a given anyway, it is 512 meters long! The main hazard on the course is a large lake which is first encountered when on the green of the 4th hole. Enjoy the view from that green! The par-three 5th puts that lake definitely into play as the green is built on a peninsula, so one cannot be short (or too long, or too far off right) off the tee. The water remains in play on holes 6 thru 8, the latter being a tricky par-four with the lake on the right side demanding a good carry over water to reach the green. The short par-four 9th going back to the clubhouse.
Although the water is not in play on holes 10-11, it is still nearby, but it consists in a smaller lake. However, a different kind of water hazard awaits you on the par-five 12th: the green is tucked in a recess cut into the forest across a large ditch. It is further protected by high trees barring most of the fairway, so attacking the green with the second shot is very difficult indeed; instead, you must make sure that your second shot lands at the right spot to have an opening to the green. The ditch tries to impress on the tee of the par-three 13th, but it is not really a threat, the green is not near it at all. The remaining difficulty on the course is the par-five 17th which wraps around the lake, so even if you don’t want to take the high risk road and find a way to reach the green in two (cutting the 516 meters length of the hole shorter over the water), you want to make sure you reach firma terra on every shot.
Have a look at the Japanese garden before you tee off on the par-three 18th, and beware of the pot bunker on the right of the green. A friendly lunch or drink awaits you, hopefully on the terrace of the “pigpen”.
Wonderful course layout in Styria not to far from Graz. Some spectacular holes and a lot of water in play. The Par 5 holes are really nice. Very nice driving range, spacious pitch and putt areas and also a very nice 9 hole course.