Lively Linz in Upper Austria – an above average golf destination
We visit the Home of the PGA of Austria
Golf didn’t officially arrive in Austria until Willie Park Jnr laid out a course within the famous Prater public park for Golf Club Wien in 1901. The sport was a little slow to catch on initially as it took another twenty-five years for another golfing layout to appear, when Desider Lauber set out a course at the hoiday resort of Semmering. Nowadays, there are just over a hundred thousand golfers registered with the national governing body through 156 golf facilities which are spread out across nine regions.
We like to think that we keep up to date with what’s going on in Austria, maintaining ties with a few journalists who’ve been in touch with us in recent times. We also have our own Alpine correspondent, of course, and it’s only a couple of months in fact since François teed it up at several of the top tracks in the country, including the number 1 course at Fontana. Click this link to read his latest Austrian reviews.
This year, the European Golf and Travel Media Association formed an alliance with the PGAs of Europe and, as a result of this new partnership, an invitation was extended by one of the PGA of Austria member clubs for EGTMA members to visit the organisation’s national training centre just outside Linz. As this particular golfing destination at Golfpark Metzenhof was one that we knew nothing about, it seemed only right to have a look at what it had to offer golfers.
Metzenhof is one of
seven golf courses in close proximity to Linz and it’s where the
Home of the PGA of Austria is situated, half an hour’s drive south
east of the city centre. Metzenhof is a family run business,
established by Robert Leitner in 2004, with his daughter Melanie and
son Michael now in charge of general operations and his wife Renate
looking after the 31-bedroom hotel and restaurant which are attached
to the clubhouse.
The 18-hole layout was designed by
architect Hans Georg Erhardt and it’s complemented by a 3-hole
short course, driving range and practice area. In October, the club
opens a new training centre, which will be fully equipped with all
the latest technology to support Head Professional Florian Haempel
and his assistants when they’re coaching the next generation of up
and coming young professional golfers.
The golf course was constructed in
three phases, with five holes added to the original nine in 2008
before the 18-hole layout was then completed in 2010. All told,
around 700,000 cubic metres of earth was moved during construction to
add some contouring to the property because the local terrain is
rather flat, as can still be seen with the surrounding farmland. It’s
actually quite hard to imagine that less than twenty years ago
Metzenhof was just another collection of agricultural fields.
EGTMA delegates on the Press Trip were
also given the opportunity to call in on another typical golf
facility in the area and so an excursion was made to the 27-hole
complex at Golf Resort Kremstal, which hosted both the Austrian
Women’s and Senior Women’s Amateur Championships last year. The
Bergergutkurs and Panoramakurs nines comprise the main 18-hole layout
here, with the new downhill par three at the 169-metre 2nd by far the
best hole on the scorecard at this lovely little stay and play
It would have been remiss to not check
out the highest ranked course in the neighbourhood,
Linz St Florian,
which currently occupies the number 9 spot in our
Austrian Top 30
listings, so another outing was arranged to run the rule over a
mid-1970s Donald Harradine layout that has since been redesigned by
Hans Georg Erhardt. The course is the best in the region, set next to
the spectacular edifice of Tillysburg Castle which looms large over
There was still time for a quick tour
of Linz before heading for home, preceded by a look over the city
centre from Pöstlingberg, a hill to the north of the city that’s
popular with tourists because of its fabulous viewing platforms over
the industrial, commercial and residential areas that lie on either
side of the mighty Danube, some 500 metres below. On reaching ground
level again and parking just off the Landstraße (main street), it
was just a short stroll to find the Lentos modern art gallery and Ars
Electronica Center museum located on opposite banks of the river –
whoever said golf and culture don’t mix?
Linz isn’t exactly well known as a golfing hotspot, so it’s a bit of a tough task to try and entice people away from their usual overseas haunts in the Algarve or the Costa del Sol, especially when these destinations don’t shut in the winter like most of the courses in Austria. Nonetheless, Linz is only a short road trip away for golfers in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and southeast Germany and a mere 2-hour flight (twice a week) from London Stansted, so it’s definitely worth considering as an alternative place to play good quality golf at a very affordable price.
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