Pulheim-Stommeln — North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
International Championship course (teaser)
Playable on simulator in Paris at Golf en Ville
Architect: Jack Niklaus — Designed: 1997
Severity index: 3 — Difficult
18 holes, Par 72 — Length: 7812 yards
Jack Nicklaus may have put his name to more than 300 courses worldwide, but only a tiny fraction of them have been located in Europe. Of the European courses created by the Nicklaus Design company, half have been in Britain and Ireland and half of the remainder in Spain. No great surprise then to discover there is only one Nicklaus signature design in all of Germany, here at Gut Lärchenhof Golf Club. For what it's worth, the Lakes Course at Schloss Lüdersburg is also a Nicklaus creation according to its owners, but they don't have a golden bear sculpture in front of the clubhouse.
So in that sense the Golden Bear at Gut Lärchenhof is unique within Germany, although at one time it almost became a non-entity there as well. That was when the club's owners – a non-profit community bank – were questioned why their business model included running a loss-making golf course. When nasty allegations of misappropriation of savings deposits made the rounds, the golf operation was sold off to a wealthy member in 2009 and has been sailing in more peaceful waters ever since. The same cannot be said of the bank's former director, who was subsequently indicted for tax evasion on benefits received in the form of a complimentary membership.
When the dust finally settled, Gut Lärchenhof returned to the professional circuit by staging the BMW International Open in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, thus continuing a proud tradition that began by hosting the German Masters (1998 - 2005) and the Mercedes-Benz Championship (2007 - 2009). It is fitting that Bernhard Langer, who has won here no fewer than four times, promoted the tournament through his Langer Sport Marketing company until 2009.
The course itself is a championship venue with typical American styling. When the European Tour comes to town they add brutal rough, but in everyday play the fairways are wide and largely devoid of challenges. Most holes are clearly arranged and the driver can be used with little fear. The greens aren't especially wild and the bunkering is quite predictable. All of this results in the unusual situation of a modern Tour venue being neither overly long nor particularly difficult from the members’ tees.
If you front up here and discover that this type of expansive, stadium golf does not sit comfortably with you then you may find some culinary consolation in the Michelin-rated restaurant located within one of the very best clubhouses in Germany – guten Appetit!
Play Larchenhof in Paris on simulator
Alone or with friends, whether you are a golfer or not, you can play Larchenhof (or one of other 99 international courses available) in Paris, on simulator, in very realistic conditions and spend a good time.
In one click, you can choose to play a selection of holes or the whole course; you can adjust about twenty parameters and display modes and customize the gaming experience and difficulty: the tee-box that is right for you, wind strength, pin position, green speed, fairway hardness, etc ...) or simply you can keep the settings that are available to you. You can also try one of the 35 scoring systems available, for more fun.
You can also choose to take a golf lesson on this course, and enjoy the precision of trajectory measures and the beautiful surroundings.
Please note that the severity index specified above is meant in ideal conditions i.e. no wind, pin position easy,...
If you add some wind, it's a different ball game, some courses can become very difficult.
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Updated on 10-10-19