Stories from the mountain summer
Fine fairway carpets, top bunkers, well-kept greens – and all of this embedded in the magnificent nature of the Zillertal. At the Golf Club in Uderns, every swing is an experience.
It’s all about the mix. There are golf courses with exceptional layouts, but no scenic charms. Just as there are golf courses in breathtaking surroundings, yet lacking architectural ideas. And then … you have the golf course in Zillertal. Where the experience of nature and the experience of design have merged into an internationally recognized work of art. “Only harmony can awaken passion,” as Beethoven already said. In this light, the facility is a composition of the good and the beautiful, as always longed for by dynamic people.
Feeling good before the swing. I am standing at the first tee. Above me, the sun. Next to me, the picturesque green of the trees. In front of me, the attractive par 4, a fairway with an elegant right turn. What a challenging start! My gaze captures the beauty of the mountain world and creates that feeling of wellbeing you need for the first stroke. I haven’t brought my dog along this time. Although he would be very welcome in this club as a wellbehaved companion. The Uderns golf course was officially opened in 2014. Since then, the facility has seen growth at an amazing speed in the Erste Ferienregion Fügen-Kaltenbach, which has long since been accepted into the association “Leading Golf Courses Austria” – where the motto is: Quality knows no boundaries. A claim that can only be made by 14 clubs throughout the country.
Hole 2 is a remarkable par 3 across a pond and the next proof of nature’s effect on the golfer’s soul awaits at hole 3. The small church on the hill is the perfect setting for a selfie. Hole 4 is the next par 3 – again across water. Holes 5 and 6 suddenly reveal this in a wonderful way: It’s all about the mix. Of long and short, wide and narrow, downhill and uphill, tough and easy (well, sort of ...). The philosophy of architect Diethard Fahrenleitner becomes apparent. Using modern knowhow, he succeeded in lending an unmistakable character to the regional charm. It is no surprise that hikers and bikers also find their happiness in this paradise – or excursion guests, who can take off to high altitudes thanks to the Spieljochbahn cable car. A nice 18-hole course alone is not enough for a “Very good”, at least not for golfers. It also requires an opulent driving range (with covered teeing grounds) or a golf school whose three pros offer so many special courses (from “Early Practice” to “Technique and Tactics” to “Fit for Tournaments") besides individual lessons, that pleasure becomes a matter of course.
During my round, holes 7 and 8 reveal once again what this place stands for: The view down into the valley is magical, the magnificent alpine panorama invites one to pause – first marvel, then swing. And while we’re on the subject of fascination, the 9th fairway gives us exactly those impressions that we associate with sporty claim and aesthetic perfection. When the course takes you over a hill to the island green in front of the clubhouse. What a spectacle! Especially since this very clubhouse counts among the most impressive ones in Europe. Elegant architecture, stylish ambience and inviting terraces – this is how summer can be enjoyed even by non-golfers. Hole 10 leads away from the clubhouse again, on hole 11 the next hint at the motto awaits: It’s all about the mix. Namely, of conventional and original. The drive should be hit to an intermediate plateau, where a short but challenging drive over a mighty treetop awaits – a surprising variation, the kind we love. Speaking of love: Holes 12 and 13 are no exception when it comes to course maintenance. Those who have played here will also remember fairway carpets worth experiencing, quality bunker landscapes and perfectly prepared greens. And may even be happy about a diamond. You can win one on hole 14, for a hole-in-one during a tournament round.
The 15th fairway is one of the most beautiful par 5 holes in the country – elongated, with water and a left turn; strategy and courage are required here. The longest par 3 of the course (183 meters from the yellow tee) follows as an icing on the cake, before the last adventure awaits at the final part over hole 17, where the church appears again for golf believers. On hole 18 as well, the ball must be hit towards the clubhouse, where relaxed observers already wait on their sunloungers. And along with them, a noble culinary experience awaits the returnees as well. The club’s gourmet restaurant, “Die Genusswerkstatt”, is recommended to all visitors – golfers or not. Where not only regional dishes are prepared, but international specialties can be found on the menu as well. In this spirit: Bon appétit! And, of course: Have a great game!
Image Christoph Johann and text: Michael Hufnagl
Zillertal magazine Sommer 2021
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