News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Hi all,

I finally managed to get myself onto the course of the Mittelrheinischer GC, something I had promised in this forum a long time ago. However, they have been rebuilding and renovating it during the last two years and so I felt it would be better to wait and see what they come up with. In short: I was impressed. Even though the Mackenzie is Charles A. and not Alister, this is a genuine Golden Age layout that still lives and breathes.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't great, so some of the pictures are a bit bleaky. However, it was dry and the course was very playable, so I feel I can give it a fair appraisal. Let's get right to it, this is the opening tee shot:

A blind downhiller with the fairway hanging to the left, so you'll want to aim down the right side. One of the themes of Bad Ems is that the tee shot looks rather tight, but after any halfway decent drive the holes open up nicely. Such as here:


To me this approach looks very appealing, the green appears like a haven of peace within the rather undulating surroundings. The clever player can roll the ball on from the right side, thus avoiding the bunkers and the sheer drop-offs on the left.

Here's a close-up of the green, one of the biggest on the course and you can see that the landforms do feed into the bunker, so the aforementioned clever player needs to stay well right.


After this doable par 4 the second hole is a wild par 5 with this view from the tee:

Even the average hitter can draw this ball around the corner, if he uses the sloping fairway correctly. I'm not sure if the big hitters take it over the trees on the left, they are rather high.

On the other side the view presenting itself is a bit like on the first hole. So the aforementioned clever player now knows he has figured it all out and aims way right.


Oh well, there's a sneaky bunker right in the landing zone of the overly confident player:


The third hole is the first par 3 on the front. Believe it or not, but the lake was built only last year and I think it fits the course perfectly and introduces strategic options. There are a number of challenging pin positions for the better players and a way to bail out for all others, who can still hope for a chip and a putt.

Like many here I am definitely not a fan of building lakes on historic courses, but I think this is a very credible effort.

The fourth hole is another par 5, yes the fun doesn't stop.

It's a really good idea to fade this one (for right-handers), as the terrain to the left of the fairway is of an altogether unpromising nature. After turning right the rest of the hole goes uphill all the way to the green, which makes it quite a bit longer.

And on to another short hole, although this is a long short hole, but not the longest short hole on the course :)

Despite sitting on a heavily wooded site, the actual playing areas are often very wide and allow for all sorts of strategies. It's not a heathland course, but the soil is pretty healthy and the greens roll true. Don't expect firm and fast in the UK definition, but for continental Europe it's definitely a boon. I'm sure the generous clearing practices help a lot in keeping the soil relatively dry. Perhaps Christoph can provide some older pictures, so we might compare.

The 6th is only the second par 4 of the round, although playing uphill and hiding the green around a bend sure makes it play like a par 5:


Here's the green, angled off to the right and blind to all but the longest drives:


This concludes the first six holes, more to follow.

Ulrich
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 05:20:22 PM by Ulrich Mayring »
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pictorial: Bad Ems (Hoffmann, Fahrenholtz, Mackenzie 1930)
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 05:47:28 PM »
Hole #7 is a very long par 4 and the drive needs to go towards the out of bounds area on the right, as the fairway contours will bring it back.

Yes, I know that it doesn't look particularly dangerous, but trust me on this one. Hitting it down the middle will take you off the fairway on the left.

Here's a rather decent position for the approach, but obviously far from a level lie. The site is certainly moving!


The 8th hole is another great par 5. It looks like this from the tee:

The steep, downhill fairway may turn out to be a mixed blessing. For one, the lake will catch the seriously long ball and, in dry conditions, also the career shot of the average hitter. And if it doesn't ...


... there is the issue of hitting the second shot from a severe downhill lie and still needing a good carry distance: not only because of the hazard, but in many cases the group of trees on the right edge of the water will defend the direct line. As you can see this hole is still under construction, so I don't know what the eventual plans will be for the fenced off area. The lake is another 2009 introduction. In my eyes it turns a good hole into a great one - kudos to whoever managed to build two lakes on a historic course and not fail miserably.

The ninth is a shortish par 4 with another surprise for the clever strategist. If he avoids the huge bunker dominating the right half of the fairway (seen as a dark patch in this picture) ...


... he might well end up in a hopelessly blocked out position on the far left. The green itself is weirdly positioned and doesn't really offer an obvious lay up spot.


The 10th hole is another long par 4, so the best strategy is to hit a veritable monster drive off the tee ...


... which will provide this view. Note the bunkering, it is well in front of the green and serves a dual purpose:


First, it all but prevents a running approach from far back and second, it sits right where the average hitter would love to lay up to.


We're back at the clubhouse at this point and leave now for the final loop. Of course there is no better way to reach the remote corners of the site than a par 5 with a twisted tee shot:


Once around the corner (fade, baby, fade) the rest is rather straightforward. Unless you count the undulating fairway, but at this point I guess most won't even notice.


Time for another par 3, the 12th has a nice view and a decent shot is needed to carry the bunkers and hold the green:


This concludes the second six, more to follow.

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Christoph Meister

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pictorial: Bad Ems (Hoffmann, Fahrenholtz, Mackenzie 1930)
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 06:16:37 PM »

The 8th hole is another great par 5. It looks like this from the tee:

The steep, downhill fairway may turn out to be a mixed blessing. For one, the lake will catch the seriously long ball and, in dry conditions, also the career shot of the average hitter. And if it doesn't ...

Ulrich

Hello Ulrich - I have heard your call, but need some time to search some more old photos as I was not prepared for your post - this is the view from the 8th tee in 1935 - Greetings Christoph:
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 06:53:42 PM by Christoph Meister »
Golf's Missing Links - Continental Europe
 https://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/wales-2
EAGHC European Association of
Golf Historians & Collectors
http://www.golfika.com
German Hickory Golf Society e.V.
http://www.german-hickory.com

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pictorial: Bad Ems (Hoffmann, Fahrenholtz, Mackenzie 1930)
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2010, 06:28:12 PM »
The 13th is a driveable par 4 - length-wise. But I'm not sure how the elaborate bunkering around the green can be circumnavigated. Obviously, from the tee you cannot spot the trouble and simply aim for the "material piled for removal". This hole may be the only weak proposition at Bad Ems, as it more or less forces you to lay up. Unfortunately I have no picture of the green, but I'll say it here, it makes absolutely no sense to roll the ball closer than maybe 30 yards.


Now comes the flattest hole on the course, it's a par 4 that again looks a bit tight from the tee:


While actually being pretty generous around the landing zone:


The penultimate par 3 is surely a good hole, but being more or less a shorter, uphill version of the 12th means you'll probably take the same club. So it has that going against it, but why not think of it as reverse Redan?


After a pleasant stroll through the woods (or a strenous uphill struggle for the less fit) we arrive at the 16th tee. It's another short par 4 and it has a mirror, because there is just no other way to play it safely:


Again, plenty of room in the landing zone, if (and only if!) the sloping fairway is taken into consideration. The second shot looks like a pitch, but due to the false front is easily underestimated.


Finally we're at the longest of the short holes. Most golfers will take the big stick and try to thread one through the bunkers and onto the right side of the green. It can be done, but it takes an ounce of talent. Any sincere effort will, however, be in play and rarely fail to entertain with some short game heroics.


We've played only eight par 4s, four on the front and four on the back. Personally, I think it makes for a lot more fun to add an extra par 3 and a par 5. Maybe they should have made the 15th a bit shorter and the putting surface a little wilder to test another club, but other than that I find the variety convincing. The appropriate conclusion to this round is of course another three-shotter, although it might be done in less than that:


Well, whoever took this picture is obviously far removed from making it in two:


The final approach is over a central bunker, but there is some room behind it to let the ball roll out.


In conclusion I think this is a great course, certainly one of the few faithfully preserved Golden Age layouts we have in Germany. It would be competent in England, but obviously lose out somewhat in the steep competition over there. It's fun to play, not crowded and the people I've met there appeared to be very friendly. It would be a great club to belong to and, Melvyn will love this, "as a rule, carts are not available."

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Christoph Meister

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pictorial: Bad Ems (Hoffmann, Fahrenholtz, Mackenzie 1930)
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2010, 06:51:46 PM »

The final approach is over a central bunker, but there is some room behind it to let the ball roll out.


Ulrich

Here is a picture of the 18th hole dating from 1937 - During the German Open 1937 Henry Cotton played a round of 63 at Bad Ems, the lowest score ever played in Germany, as the "Deutsche Golfzeitung" was reporting on September 15th, 1937 - here is a sketch of how Henry played his round...
Golf's Missing Links - Continental Europe
 https://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/wales-2
EAGHC European Association of
Golf Historians & Collectors
http://www.golfika.com
German Hickory Golf Society e.V.
http://www.german-hickory.com

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pictorial: Bad Ems (Hoffmann, Fahrenholtz, Mackenzie 1930)
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2010, 07:17:39 PM »
Interesting, this looks like there was a stream bisecting the 8th hole, so the lake they built there was actually not a modern idea. Indeed, it appears they are trying to re-create the stream somewhat by extending the lake into the neck of the dogleg of the fourth hole.

The 3rd hole is 20 metres shorter these days. The 10th is a par 4 now, but almost as long as it used to be. #12 and #13 are each about 15 metres shorter today.  #14 is a par 4 and much shorter. #16 is about 60 metres shorter. #18 is the only hole that's longer now, by about 100 metres and it's a par 5 now.

So in fact Bad Ems is about 200 metres shorter than the course Sir Henry played! Have you ever heard about a classic course being shortened to bring it into the modern age? :)

Ulrich
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 07:19:20 PM by Ulrich Mayring »
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back