|Hamburg is know for its nightlife - but the city and the surrounding area also have great golf options. (Courtesy photo)|
Hamburg, a diverse port city where the Beatles cut their teeth, is known for rocking nightlife. But it's also got great golf courses like Hamburg Falkenstein Golf Club and Treudelberg Country Club.
HAMBURG, Germany - Spend about two minutes in downtown Hamburg's St. Pauli District and you'll fully understand the expression, "acting crazier than a sailor on shore leave."
This is one wild spot, from the Red Light District to an estimated 650 pubs all within about a kilometer's walk. Gritty rock and electro music blare from open windowed establishments and cross-dressers and transvestites offer up guided tours of this port city's wild side.
After all, this is where The Beatles earned their chops in the late 1950s and early 1960s at spots like the Indra Club and Top Ten Club.
Hamburg's artistic side can be credited in large part to its ports, which served as the hub of Europe for many years. The city was also home to Ballinstadt, where families from across Europe came in the early part of the 20th century in the hopes of getting a ticket to Ellis Island.
Once Germany's gateway to the world, Hamburg remains a bustling port city, Europe's second largest behind Rotterdam, which funnels out to the Baltic Sea. Its oldest and most famous canals can be easily spotted around the Warehouse District, home to centuries-old buildings, tucked tightly against one another.
So Hamburg still has plenty of diversity from those families who were either turned away or couldn't afford the ticket across the Atlantic. Today, visitors from North America can stop by the museum and look up their own family lineage to see if ancestors found America through Ballinstadt. There's a very good chance they did.
But Hamburg has another side to it. Aside from the grit, the music and the parties, the city is northern Germany's golf capital, which begins to make more sense once you explore its green, tree-lined roads, quiet canals and many parks.
Hamburg's golf roots are deep, as the German Golf Association was founded here. Three golf courses lie within city limits, while over 20 more are within an easy drive.
Over a century old and right in the heart of town, Hamburg Falkenstein Golf Club is the most well known. Harry Colt, a renowned designer from the United Kingdom, had a prominent hand in its design.
Just outside of town is Treudelberg Country Club, home to a luxury Steigenberger brand hotel and spa and on-site golf course. This championship layout is in a quiet, natural setting with gently rolling fairways. Treudelberg holds the distinction of hosting a practice round by Tiger Woods during a year he competed in the Deutsche Bank Championship down the road at Gut Kaden Golf Club. A former European Tour host and knight's estate, Treudelberg is among the most prestigious golf courses in Germany.
To the north of Hamburg are a handful of golf courses, including the Waldhof Estate, set on scenic and hilly terrain and boasting contrasting nines.
Southeast of the city are the 40-hole Schloss Ludersburg golf courses and one of the region's more impressive facilities. The Lakes Course is a Jack Nicklaus design featuring wide-open terrain that is also littered with water hazards, creating a tournament-type test. The Old Course, on the other hand, is a mature parkland with a variety of plant life and trees, making it among Germany's most picturesque layouts.
Keep in mind that German clubs ask players to provide a handicap card from your local club with a 54-handicap maximum. Germans are also required to provide a golfer's license, though that is usually waived for tourists.
Air Berlin, one of Germany's largest air carriers and continues to get bigger and expand it's service, offers very competitive rates for travel both within Germany and internationally. Their fleet consists of the most recent Boeing 737s, none older than 1998, which makes them not only one of the must up-to-date planes in all of Europe but also offers quiet and comfortable cabins. The airline has also ordered 25 of the new Boeing 787 "Dreamliners".
In North America, Air Berlin currently services Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Ft. Myers all to numerous German cities. For more information, visit AirBerlin.com.
For more information on golf and travel in Hamburg and Germany, visit Germany-Tourism.de
October 15, 2008
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
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