The Argentine cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo is known for his long-necked animals and conk-nosed humans, thrown into all sorts of flabbergasting situations. He has also produced a volume about golfers and their misadventures, some of them undoubtedly inspired by his own play at St Eurach, which he lists as one of his favourite courses. And there is much to like about it, such as the Alpine views (weather permitting), the wide fairways routed over gently rolling land and the serene rural setting away from all the hustle and bustle around Munich.
Donald Harradine was responsible for the design of St Eurach in 1973. His company was so busy around this time that they created nineteen courses (ten of them in Germany) in five European countries between 1967 and 1972. However, they must have allowed their work ethic to slip somewhat as they had designed no fewer than thirty-five courses in the previous six-year period!
The land covering the entire region between the lakes of Southern Bavaria and the mountains proper has a propensity to be wet and the turf is consequently rather heavy. Accordingly, St Eurach usually closes from mid November to mid April and even throughout other times of the year after prolonged rainfall. The greenkeeping team does an admirable job considering these circumstances, especially on the speedy and true greens. But most of the time there will be little roll on the ball, which begs the question why so many ground game features were employed, such as the raised greens or the knoll on the 18th fairway. On the other hand the lack of roll also makes the course play very wide, only two or three holes have any tightness to them, so long hitters can open their shoulders. It's not the most variable layout, but St Eurach certainly has an expansive feel to it.
St Eurach hosted the BMW International between 1994 and 1996 when Mark McNulty, Frank Nobilo and Marc Farry won the tournament, so some serious golfers have competed here over the years. If you want to visit, why not include it in a Harradine tour with Beuerberg, Tegernseer Bad Wiessee and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, all within a circle of 20 miles? And if you're more the stationary type, services in and around the clubhouse are impeccable.
St. Eurach would be a joy to play in firm and fast conditions, because most holes are very wide and the moderate undulations and raised greens would make for a cool ground game. However, even in the best of times it's purely target golf and in borderline weather the course plays exceedingly long, so a number of clubs will not be used at all.
The routing is quite natural, two sweeping loops of nine holes and only a few spots are in need of tree management. On almost every hole there is something going on, but not overly much. This can be viewed as beautifully restrained, but I call it not fully committed. Look at the included image: a straight, wide and short par 4 without any fairway hazards is certainly a novel concept in golf architecture.
Conditioning is pretty good, as far as turf and lack of installed drainage will allow. The greens usually have a reasonable speed and roll true. Good putters will make their share, because they aren't especially tricky to read. The best feature of the course is its peaceful setting. There is no traffic noise, the water hazards are nicely matured and no industrial activities or buildings interfere with the softly rolling landscape.
Unfortunately, without a ground game and little propensity for crisply struck iron shots, the course lacks some important components of the total golfing experience. (UM)
I hope I don't get too close to you when I think that in some parts the review, which is otherwise accurate, doesn't seem particularly fair to me, I am sorry. The photo shows hole 6, the simplest par 4 on the course. Also taken with extreme wide angle, which makes everything appear wider than it actually is. But even on this simple hole is still something going on, as you say. What you can't see well in the photo is the relatively far into the fairway cut very dense, fat and clovered rough on the left side. Also the burn on the right side is not visible and it is not mentioned. Okay, the fairway's still really wide. But I'd bet that if you were laying on the fairway, you left the iron shot into the green too short, and probably even got stuck in the deep bunker at the front. Due to the soft topography, most players underestimate the considerable incline of the hole towards the green. And this is still the simplest par 4 of the course. Thus, even the few apparently simpler holes have their changing challenges on this very varied course, especially for better players. It's no coincidence that in league matches, the visiting teams often go downright under because they approach the difficult course too aggressively. And it is also no coincidence that the course record has been only 6 strokes under par for over 20 years now (held by Seve Ballesteros), despite the various professional tournaments and the many amateur championships and league matches up to the German team championships that took place on the course.
I confess that I have recently joined St Eurach. However, I live almost an hour's drive away and have been a member of another, better ranked club for many years. However, I decided to take the long journeys because of the quality of the course and the outstanding scenery and atmosphere.