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Great German golf resorts

01 March, 2023
Jim McCann

Great German golf resorts 

So far in this series of resort articles we’ve profiled only one German golf facility – albeit it was the largest in Europe at the Quellness & Golf Resort Bad Griesbach, which has an incredible 129 holes in play – so we thought it was time to take a look at some of the other top golf establishments in a nation ranked #6 in the world by the R&A for the number of courses (811) that are open to golfers.

We’ll start in the north of the country near the Danish border then gradually meander our way almost two thousand kilometres southwards through several German states to end up in Bavaria, close to the border with Austria. Some of the resorts rank highly in our German national chart, others are listed in our regional listings – all of them offer stay and play options that are as good as you’ll find anywhere on the continent.


First stop on our resort roundup is Golf Club Budersand Sylt, located on the North Frisian island of Sylt, the most northerly German island in the North Sea, which connects to the mainland by the Hindenburg Dam, a railway causeway that links the long sandy stretch of land to the rest of the country. First opened for business fifteen years ago, the course is set out in what was formerly an old military base, with holes routed as two returning nines across dune-strewn linksland, bringing pot bunkers, meandering burns and creative contouring into focus.

The club’s 5-star hotel offers 77 rooms and suites which are characterized by the thoughtful use of fine natural materials and each of the five guest room categories comes with its own balcony or suite roof terrace. Room furnishings are high quality, from Perlino Bianco marble in the bathroom to walls adorned with works of art. The restaurant serves “Nordic Fusion" cuisine – featuring ingredients from selected producers in Northern Germany and Scandinavia – and the spa comprises a large pool, saunas, steam bath and several treatment rooms.

Gut Apeldör

Halfway between Sylt and Hamburg lies the 27-hole golf facility at Golf Club Gut Apeldör in the Dithmarschen district of Schleswig-Holstein. David Krause laid out the “Big Apple” and “Big 9” courses in the mid-1990s and holes on both layouts are set out on a sandy heathland landscape with free-draining soil properties. Water and sand hazards come into play at many holes, most memorably at the par four 18th, with a long beach bunker positioned between the home green and a lake on the right.

The Golfhotel Gut Apeldör has 42 guest rooms available for visitors, divided into four different categories (standard, business, comfort, junior suites) and varying in size from 27 to 80 square metres. The Gutshof Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and evening dinners, serving fresh, high-quality regional food. The attached wellness centre within the converted silo tower of the Old Barn is where to seek out a sauna or a massage – or maybe just a place to chill out in the designated relaxation room.

Gut Kaden

A 90-minute drive from Gut Apeldör brings us to another 27-hole complex to the north of Hamburg, Gut Kaden Golf und Land Club, where Frank Pennink designed the original 18-hole layout in the early 1980s. Deutsche Bank became title sponsors of the European Players Championship in 1995 and the event was held here nine times until its demise in 2007, with tournament winners on the “B” and “C” nines at Gut Kaden including the likes of Bernhard Langer, Lee Westwood (twice) and Padraig Harrington.

The hotel offers 39 spacious guest rooms (each one decorated with an eye to detail) for single or double occupancy and if 30 square metres of space is too small then there’s also a suite for those who might require a bit more room. The restaurant in the Gut Kaden manor house also boasts a large outdoor terrace as a meeting place for both golfers and hotel guests. The fitness area contains a range of cardio equipment, in addition to a sauna, massage room and other treatment rooms.


Another 2-hour drive east of Gut Kaden sits the 45-hole facility at WINSTONgolf in the northeast German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Built on the site of an old sand quarry, the Open course was the first layout unveiled here around twenty years ago, designed by Holger Rengstorf, followed a decade later by the David Krause-designed Links layout. You’ll be hard pressed to discover a more diverse 36 holes at one location – and including the 9-hole kranich course gives a full day of golf that’s hard to forget.

The Gut Vorbeck manor house hotel is situated on the 13th hole of the Links course, directly on the river Warnow. The building was constructed in 1912 on the ruins of a previous enterprise which burned down, though the original vaulted cellar has been preserved. The manor house was completely renovated in 2010 and converted into 19 stylishly furnished guest rooms and a suite. The Kranichhaus restaurant serves everything from crispy salads to fresh fish and fine fillets. On the spacious estate grounds there is a canoe station and a riding stable for those who want more than golf.


We continue east from WINSTONgolf into the heart of the spectacular Mecklenburg Lake District and the 72-hole Golf Fleesensee resort. The Schloss course is the longest and toughest of the three 18-hole layouts here, designed by Stan Eby for European Golf Design in the late 1990s. With well-bunkered holes routed in an out-and-back fashion, the Schloss course extends to a little over 6,400 metres from the back markers and ponds come into play close to the green on several occasions at this rather demanding track.

There are three main accommodation options at Fleesensee, starting with the 177-bedroom Schloss hotel which has rooms varying in size between 27 and 73 square metres. Restaurant Blüchers (once the castle chapel) presents cuisine of the highest quality and the spa and wellness area are wonderful facilities providing exclusive treatments and soothing massages. In addition to the hotel, the child-friendly Beech Resort is a great family-orientated hostelry and there are also apartments in the Maremüritz Yachthafen Resort.


Three hundred and thirty-five kilometres southwest of Fleesensee in Lower Saxony is where you’ll find the 36-hole facility at Golf Resort Hardenberg. The Göttingen course was first to arrive here in 1971 when Donald Harradine set out the original 9-holer (later expanded to eighteen holes in 1987) then the David Krause-designed Niedersachsen 18-hole course came along in 2004. The Göttingen brings water into play from time to time while the Niedersachsen goes one better with an island green complex shaped like a boar’s head on the par three 11th, replicating the distinctive image on the Hardenberg family crest.

The 5-star Hardenberg BurgHotel nestles close to the ancient Hardenberg castle ruin (some 8 kilometres south from the golf courses) on the outskirts of Nörten-Hardenberg, with 38 guest rooms and 4 suites available. The Novalis restaurant serves regional northern German and classic French cuisine and the wellness centre houses a state-of-the-art gymnasium, three different types of sauna and a couple of whirlpools.

Alternatively, the 4-star Hotel FREIgeist Northeim is located 5 kilometres in the opposite direction from the resort outside Northeim, with 62 double rooms which are suitablefor 1-2 adults with children and/or a dog – and family rooms can be booked with connecting doors.

Weimarer Land

We continue 200 kilometres southeast into the Thüringen state (“the green heart of Germany”) and the Weimarer Land Spa & Golf Resort. Here, you’ll discover a 45-hole facility designed by Christoph Städler with two 18-hole layouts (the Goethe and Feininger) and a recently developed short track named the Königin Luise 9-hole course. Interestingly, the Bobby Jones Champion Course is an 18-hole composite layout which is configured as holes 1-5 and 15-18 of the Goethe course then holes 10-18 of the Feininger course.

The on-site hotel consists of 94 elegant guest rooms which range from 27-square metre double rooms to 97-square metre suites (with 1 bedroom and spacious living room area over two floors). The Lindenspa contains several pools, a blossom bath, steam bath and sauna, while the wellness centre provides a selection of body treatments and massages. The Augusta restaurant is named after the legendary Masters venue in Georgia and it opens for breakfast from 06:30 to 11:00 then for dinner in the evening between 18:00 and 21:30.


Our next golfing port of call lies 350 kilometres west of Weimarer Land at the Jakobsberg Hotel & Golfresort, overlooking the Rhine Valley to the south of Koblenz. The property was purchased in 1960 by Dr. Hans Riegel – founder of confectionery maker Haribo – who later brought in architect Wolfgang Jarsombek during the 1990s to develop the hunting grounds and transform them into the 18-hole golf course that’s in play today. The resort has been a training base for the German PGA for many years now.

Romantik Hotel Klostergut Jakobsberg was built in 1157 as a monastery by Emperor Barbarossa and today it towers high above the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site with 39 guest rooms in total (most come with a balcony or terrace) and a well-appointed spa and gymnasium. Local and regional cuisine is served in the Waidblick restaurant and there are 7 conference rooms for up to 200 people. The estate’s vineyard is managed by a local winemaker who tends to the vines, produces the wine and bottles it.


We continue 425 kilometres south now, past Heidelberg and Stuttgart into central Baden-Württemberg and the Princely Golf Resort Bad Waldsee. This 45-hole golf complex nestles close to the small spa town of Bad Waldsee, with two very different 18-hole layouts: the Old course is a Donald Harradine design dating back to 1969 and the longer, tougher New course is a Thomas Himmel and Carlo Knauss co-design which appeared in 1998. Both tracks as complemented by a delightful 9-hole par three course measuring less than a thousand metres.

Forty guest rooms at the resort each have a balcony and they come with all the usual amenities such as television, telephone, minibar and high-speed internet connection. Overnight stays include use of the fully-equipped fitness room, sauna and whirlpool. A range of chargeable massage therapies are also available. The Restaurant in the Courtyard lays on regional and seasonal specialties, with a full buffet breakfast on offer every morning. Snacks, light meals and drinks are served in The Outlook T-19 café-restaurant.


The final leg of our German resort excursion takes us another hour’s drive southeast from Bad Waldsee to Sonthofen, the most southerly town in the country, and the nearby Golf Resort Sonnenalp-Oberallgäu. The older Sonnenalp layout is another Donald Harradine track which originally opened for play in 1975, while the Oberallgäu course is a Kurt Rossknecht early new millennium production – if mountain golf is what you’re looking for then look no further than here (out with the winter months of course)!

Accommodation at the 5-star hotel comprises 218 guest rooms and suites, along with 7 Alpine chalets. Nearly all rooms have a south-facing balcony or terrace with a view of the Allgäu Alps. Catering is taken care of at four restaurants, including the award-winning Silberdistel gourmet restaurant. The wellness area features a separate natural spa section, heated outdoor pools, saunas and relaxation rooms. A gymnasium with modern Technogym equipment is also on hand for those who feel the need to work out.

Many thanks to Stefan von Stengel for permission to use his images above for Budersand, Gut Apeldör and WINSTONgolf.

If you have any comment to make on the above article then please use the “WRITE A RESPONSE” link at the bottom of this page.

Jim McCann


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