Hartl Golf Resort
Freude am Golfen.
We all know that when Germany produces something, it produces quality … look at the cars, and Hartl Golf Resort is no exception to that rule.
Driving from Munich to Bad Griesbach is like driving through a postcard. The gently undulating farmland, casually separated by green belts of forest with the traditional Bavarian farmhouses sprinkled amidst these fertile lands, is where the Hartl Golf Resort is situated.
With its 129 golf holes, this is the largest golf resort of its kind in Europe. No less than five 18 hole courses, three of which designed by Bernhard Langer and a whole array of accommodation possibilities and restaurants will make sure that any golfer, single, family or group of friends will find the perfect package combination for their next golf trip.
A group of 18 European Golf & Travel Media Association members went to Bad Griesbach to see for themselves how German golf stacked up against the rest of Europe.
We were stationed at the 5* Maximilian hotel in the middle of the resort. The hotel not only provides luxury accommodation but also, the on site wellness centre, or ‘Quellness’ as they call it here, complete with a medical centre and doctor(s) on site, will make sure you are not left unattended. Transfers to the golf courses are organised by the hotel and take around 15 minutes maximum. The Quellness word comes from the natural and warm water sources underneath the Bad Griesbach plateau and which is used in all the swimming pools.
Back to why we were there and that was golf. Our first round of golf was played over the Mercedes Course, one of the Bernhard Langer designed courses and laid out on a flat plane next to the river Roth. At 6,037 meters of the back tees, not an overly long course but extremely challenging, even tricky in places, where little streams and small ponds cut into fairways and greens. Hartl Resort prides itself on the quality of the courses and the hand mowed greens, although not very fast after some torrential rain, were extremely true. The scores reflected the difficulty of the course with the leading score being 31 points by Wieland Wagner and a whole host of ladies and gents on 30 points and close behind.
The EGTMA events are all played over multiple rounds and there was still plenty of golf to be played over the next few days. Second day we tackled the Brunnwies course, the first one Langer designed and arguably the best course on the estate. The course features at the top of many German and European rankings and it is easy to see why. The undulating course offers dramatic scenery but let this not distract you from the task at hand. I personally love it when you see the checkerboard pattern on the fairway and when everything is out there in front of you. No hidden surprises, what you see is what you get. There are some very good holes on this courses, all Par 3’s for that matter, from the long and challenging 3rd to the delightful short and downhill 14th. I didn’t care much for the long and uphill 5th and 13th. Both similar holes, one a long par 4 with an elevated green and the latter a long par 5 with nothing much but bash bash bash to it. The other 16 holes are all magnificent and a joy to play.
Scoring was much better which in my opinion reflects the quality of the course and this time the course seemed to favour the ladies when both Jana Janku from Slovakia and Svetlana Andryukina from Russia covered 18 holes with a score of 34 points followed by Natascha Kames with 31 points. Three men followed on 30 points with Rudy Bauwens, Wieland Wagner and Jo Maes bringing in that number.
Obviously, EGTMA members need to be able to report on all aspects of a destination and resorts and every night we were treated to some culinary delights. The Uttlau golf course clubhouse is a 400 year old Bavarian farm with a courtyard where locally sourced produce is cooked to perfection. The Gutshof Sagmuhle is run by Italians and the barbecued fish and meat were an absolute delight combined with the elegant Italian red wine.
Our last round was played over the ‘Kaiser’ golf course, the Beckenbauer. Recognised by visitors as the most difficult course on the resort and over 6.500 meters from the back tees, this is very much a man’s course. With abundant water hazards, tree lined and well bunkered fairways, the emphasis is on driving the ball. Once you have the ball in play, the greens, again hand mowed, are well protected and gentle undulations will play havoc with your line and pace. Again, and like on all courses, there is always one hole out of place and in this case it’s the Par 5 12th hole. A long drive down the right hand side left me nothing but to play two wedge shots to get to the green as it is tucked away behind the bend and obstructed from view by large trees. In my opinion, this would be a far better par 4 by either bringing the tee forward and widening the landing area but I’m sure there is method to Langer’s (in this case) madness. Apart from this minor glitch, this is a very good course on which you can play very well if you hit the right shots but miscue and you will not be able to score to your expectations. This time it was England’s Steve Jackson who took command with an authoritative 36 points while Russia’s Svetlana Andryukina mastered 35 points closely followed by Holland’s Marten Witkamp and EGTMA president Jo Maes on 34 points.
Apart from the above mentioned courses, Hartl Resort offers two more 18 hole courses with Uttlau and Lederbach both designed by Germany’s Kurt Rossknecht. A few more 9-holes and a kids golf course complete the offering and if you need to work on your game, the Golfodrom has 210 teeing areas and employs numerous PGA professionals all teaching to the same method to guide you to become a more accomplished golfer.
If you want to take a break from golf, cities like Passau and Salzburg are well worthwhile a visit. Passau, where three rivers come together to provide some extra power to the majestic Donau and where you can find the largest church organ in the world. Salzburg, or Mozart’s city, with its elegant churches, castle, fortified bridges and casual bars and restaurants is a bit over an hour away.
Our final dinner and prize giving took place at the Heurigen Restaurant, a typical Bavarian restaurant with all staff in Lederhosen and fresh Schnitzel’s cooked in front of you and on demand and where the local wine was crisp and the Apple Strudel sweet indeed.
One can see why Hartl Golf Resort is a very popular place to stay and play. Everything is available, from quality accommodation, wellness, children’s activities, typical Bavarian food (no place for vegetarians I would say) and some of the best parkland golf courses in continental Europe. Like I said, they do not only make some of the best cars in the world, their golf courses are not bad neither
Words: Jo Maes, President of the EGTMA