Unveiled in 2014, the course at GolfClub Zillertal-Uderns is an exciting new 18-hole layout from architects Diethard Fahrenleitner and Barbara Eisserer of Garten Golf Design which occupies a 155-acre property on the valley floor of the River Ziller, less than an hour’s drive east of Innsbruck.
The course measures 6,026 metres from the back tees, playing to a par of 71. Some might consider the layout to be a little imbalanced because, after playing a couple of par threes in the first four holes, there isn’t another short hole on the card until reaching the 154-metre 12th, which then begins a sequence of three par threes in five holes!
The signature hole is undoubtedly the 400-metre par four 9th, rated stoke index 1, which doglegs right to an island green situated right in front of the clubhouse – which begs the question, why would you not reverse the nines and have this hole as a dramatic 18th at the end of the round?
It is not often in Western Austria that you find a flat golf course as the Alps rule life in this part of the country. Zillertal-Uderns is an exception. It was developed by the Schultz-Gruppe, a family enterprise that has done quite a bit to develop their area’s economy in the tourism and hospitality industries, and for the past few years the game of golf, to increase local summer traffic and local employment.
They took the flat floor of the Zimmer river just outside the village of Uderns and a local architect, Diethard Fahrleitner, and developed a golf resort complete with 18 contoured holes and a boutique hotel of 33 suites that includes a spa (booked months in advance apparently).
The course saw a lot of earth moved in the making, and the five lakes that come into play are all man-made, but the result is pristine, the fairways and greens are impeccable, and despite the odd rhythm of the course (the par-3s are grouped, two on holes 2 and 4, and three on holes 12, 14 and 16), it is quite a bit of fun to play and of course totally walkable.
My personal favorite hole, apart from the signature 9th, was the par-five 15th. It is long (560 meters from the tips, 615 yards). It does take three good shots to reach the green, the first one between a hillock and a lake, the second one over a dip crossing the fairway, and the approach avoiding the four bunkers on the left and front right of the green as well as the rough on the hill on the right side.
The pleasing views on the surrounding area (and mountains of course) may certainly distract from your game momentarily. The eye is definitely drawn to the peculiar little church perched on a steep hill just off the 4th tee (but also quite visible from holes 1, 3 and 6). The hotel and clubhouse, sitting just behind the lake that surrounds the 9th green and lies in the rear of the 18th green, is also a remarkable landmark. If you can, ask and go up to the spa floor and onto the terraces to have a spectacular view of the 9th and 18th greens from above, and a general view of the whole course.
As remarked by another visitor, reversing the two 9-hole loops might allow for a more dramatic finish with the 9th’s island green and its rating as the hardest hole on the course, However the course was designed with golf carts in mind, and the routing simply does not favor starting the game on the 10th at all! So, just an idea for a future redesign, but not a cheap one…
This is a very young course but it is kept at a very high standrd. The greens are wonderful und and very fast. Some really challenging holes out there. Wonderful views over the sourrounding landscape. In a few years it will be even more beautiful.
Very nice clubhouse and hotel besindes the golf course. They take a high greenfee rate. But if you are in the vincinity it is worth playing.