Top 50 Golf Courses of Germany 2016
Halfway there? Top 100 Golf Courses hits a half-century in Germany
While previously the focus was on cleaning up our slightly “historical” Top 30, we now found the time (and the courses) to expand. Despite a stagnating golf market and yet another failed Ryder Cup bid, the Germans still play the game. And they do so on more than 700 courses, many of which are quite good and relatively unknown.
Our new entries speak to that, the highest being a very diverse trio entering the rankings at #21, #22 and #23: first there's Altenhof in the classic English parkland style, then Sonnenalp Oberallgäu, a spectacular mountain course by Kurt Rossknecht and finally Bad Münstereifel, the archetypical hidden gem designed by Nature. Not far behind those, two seaside courses make waves: Föhr at #27 and the Ostsee golf resort Wittenbeck at #29, both from Christoph Städler's stable of architecture.
There is some movement at the top of the table as well. Most notably the tremendous East course at Hubbelrath continues its upward trend by leapfrogging 11 competitors to land at #5. The Düsseldorf behemoth also crashed into our Continental European Top 100 at position #57. No other course rises in double digits, but two come close: Seddiner See Süd (up 9 to #14) and Taunus-Weilrod (up 9 to #17). The controversial Winston Links, which stormed up the rankings in the last couple of years, seems to have reached its pinnacle at #3 – hard to believe it could upset the real links course at Budersand or even Colt's masterpiece at Hamburg.
Not everyone was fortunate, of course, none less so than Beuerberg, which loses 17 spots and finds itself at #26. It can't just be ignored that the courses south of Munich generally struggle with heavy soil. Former kingpin St. Leon-Rot also lost some of its USP thanks to the assortment of quality courses appearing in the last decade. The two layouts St Leon (now #19) and Rot (now #25) combine for a loss of 21 spots, Solheim Cup notwithstanding.
Naturally, the expansion to 50 courses allows us to feature a cluster of lesser-known tracks, some of which, like Schloss Klingenburg, Regensburg and Weimarer Land (Goethe) have considerable upward potential.
The general trend in Germany appears to be towards a cheaper golf experience, which is rather difficult to achieve in a densely populated country, where real estate is always at a premium. Traditional clubs defend their business model, of course, and in the midst of all these shake-ups the German Golf Association took it on the chin, when for the first time in its 100+ year history the incumbent president was voted out of office. There are even proposals on the table to require unaffiliated golfers to join a club.
Interesting times are certainly ahead, so why not go out and play some of those Top 50 courses, while you still can? And if you don't agree with our assessment (or if you do!) you can always make yourself heard by contributing a review. We believe that those are often more helpful to other readers than a purely numerical chart. We do not want our rankings to end all discussions, but rather to facilitate them.
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 50 Golf Courses of Germany 2016 click the link.
17 January 2016 Respond to this article