A swinging summer: Golfing opportunities in Germany
Dust off the drivers and get the bugs out of your swing. The chance to prove that you can keep up with pros is here.
Golfers who simply want a chance to hit the driving range, take lessons or play a round, can choose from scores of manicured greens at various military installations. Each course offers golf instructions, pro-shops, driving ranges and rental equipment. Daily play and annual membership options are available. All that is needed to play is a valid military ID card or installation pass.
There are numerous courses to choose from throughout Germany. Eighteen-hole courses include: Rheinblick Golf Course Wiesbaden, Stuttgart Golf Course and Woodlawn Golf Course at Ramstein Air Base. For those unable to swing the full 18, try these 9-hole courses: the Eifel Mountain Golf Course at Spangdahlem Air Base, Rolling Hills Golf Course in Baumholder (boasting a state-of-the-art driving range with 20 hitting stations; 10 outdoor and 10 indoor) and the Whispering Pines Golf Course in Bamberg. Finally, for those who like the resort golfing experience, hit the links at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. Located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Alpental Golf Course stretches for 9-holes.
For all the women golfers out there, Ramstein is home of the Woodlawn Women’s Golf Association (WWGA). Leah Bradley, publicity spokeswoman for WWGA, says, “Since Ramstein is a NATO base, the WWGA is comprised of women from all over the world; that’s one of the best things about being part of it -- getting to meet all of the different women.” If you are interested in joining, Bradley says, “Basically, any woman who has an interest in golf and has an ID card can join.”
If you are thinking about golfing off-base in Germany, you might want to add the word “Platzreife” to your German vocabulary. You may be asked if you have one, though it is possible to play without one. Most German golf clubs expect German golfers to possess a Platzreife; in essence, a license to golf. Earning a Platzreife entails taking a class which covers the rules of the game, proper etiquette and lessons. Once the class ends, an exam is given. Earning a Platzreife signifies a level of competence and ensures the golf club that patrons have the know-how to play; perhaps, most importantly, it squelches the fear of patrons tearing up their precious greens.
Most clubs allow Americans and other visitors to play without a Platzreife. Marinus Engelbarts, president of Golf-Club Pfaelzerwald in Waldfischbach-Burgalben, warmly welcomes Americans and says, “You don’t need a Platzreiefe to play here, all you have to do is show a handicap or membership card from your home golf course, for example Ramstein’s Woodlawn.” Proof that you can play is what is essential. Of course, Americans can obtain a Platzreife if so desired. There is an English PGA teaching professional on staff at Golf-Club Pfaelzerwald. Engelbarts says, “For a small fee of five Euros, you can even bring your dog on the course with you.” Fortunately, your dog doesn’t need a handicap or membership card.el: 06333 2796-03