Hartl Resort in Bad Griesbach, the largest golf facility in Europe
Tucked away in the south east corner of Germany, within the Rott Valley of Lower Bavaria, the Hartl Resort in Bad Griesbach is the biggest golf complex in all of Europe. Currently, it boasts a massive training centre and golf academy, along with 147 holes of golf located on six 18-hole courses (three of which were designed by Bernhard Langer), three 9-hole layouts and two 6-hole practice courses.
Matching the variety of golf on offer at this thermal spa, there’s also a wide choice of accommodation with a total of almost 700 rooms and suites available in three central hotels and four adjacent golf estates at Brunnwies, Penning, Sagmüle and Uttlau.
To the south of the main resort and the 5-star Maximilian, 4-star Fürstenhof and 4-star Das Ludwig hotels, the Penning estate is home to two 18-hole courses - the Mercedes-Benz and the Beckenbauer - and both are laid out on relatively flat terrain next to the River Rott.
The Mercedes-Benz is rated the most difficult of all six 18-hole Hartl courses from the back tees. The 6th and 16th, which both dogleg to the right around water, are two of the toughest par fours that you’ll come across in many a long day. And with many of the fairways crossed by open ditches, you need to plot your way around this track very carefully in order to post a score of any significance.
The Beckenbauer plays a lot longer than its neighbour but it’s a lot fairer, even though many of the fairway bunkers are invisible from the tee – golfers really need to scrutinize their “birdie card” stroke saver very closely at every hole to make sure they’re aware of exactly what lies ahead.
Less than a mile to the west of the Penning estate, the Sagmüle 18-hole layout is the oldest of the Hartl courses, laid out by Kurt Rossknecht in 1984. Routed around the meandering River Rott, many of the holes feature small ponds and lakes as water hazards.
To the north of the main Hartl resort, the landscape changes dramatically and the golf facilities are laid out on undulating (and in parts severely hilly) terrain. The highly rated Brunnwies course was the first Langer design at Bad Griesbach and it remains the main 18-hole layout at this golf complex. The 6-hole Chervò Junior course is also located on the Brunnwies estate.
Close by, the courses at Uttlau and Lederbach are each configured with returning nines. The 505-yard 12th hole on Uttlau is one of the best par fives in all of Bavaria, sweeping downhill from an elevated tee position to a green that sits behind water. The hillier Lederbach is the shortest of the six 18-hole Hartl courses and it’s by far the sportiest, with many of the holes plunging in and out of little wooded valleys.
The final venue on the north campus is the Golfodrom training centre which contains - in addition to an enormous 21-bay golf school, an indoor 18-hole putting green, a golf academy with high-tech analysis centre, an outdoor 72-hole putting area and 6-hole practice course - three 9-hole courses named Engled, Jagl and Pfeiffer.
After a full day’s golf at Bad Griesbach, the only way to unwind properly is by taking a dip in one of the indoor or outdoor thermal springs back at the main resort where the warm waters will soon sooth away any aches and pains. Then, suitably cleansed, it’s into one of the Hartl resort’s many restaurants or bars to finish the day with a traditional Bavarian dish, washed down, of course, with a nice big one litre Maß of beer.
Click the following link to see where the Brunnwies and Beckenbauer courses feature in our 2012 German Top 30 rankings.