Golf on the former border between East & West Germany

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01 July 2022
5 min. read
Bart Bikker
The area on the former border between East and West Germany, Grenzland, is a fascinating area to discover with very good and affordable golfing opportunities. Not long ago, in 1989, Europe was still divided into East and West. The division line split Germany into two parts. For forty years the East and the West had developed in separate ways. We decided to head to this area for a golf trip!
The iconic Par 3 island green at Hardenberg Golfresort is designed as the heraldic animal of the Counts of Hardenberg, a boar head (Photo credits: member liek64)

In united Germany, the differences are still visible. In the East, many old buildings have been left as they were - or preserved if you like. You can find some of the nicest towns chock full of half-timbered houses. In the West, buildings were quickly renovated or replaced by new builds. Golf courses, also the more recent ones, are still mainly found in the West.

During our golf trip to this uncharted territory, we played five courses in the border region, also known as the Harz. That also comes with some beautiful, hilly surroundings.

The map of the golf courses in Grenzland that we played (map credits: Leading Courses)

On the map you can see the clubs I will highlight, all rated 8 or higher. This area is located between Hanover and Kassel. We played: Golf Club Harz in the North (8.0/10); Hardenberg Golfresort in the middle (8.3/10) and Golfclub Rittergut Rothenbergerhaus in the south (8.2/10).

We hope this gives you a nice idea of an itinerary when visiting this quiet and explored area. You could include Sport- & Golf-Resort Gut Wissmannshof in your golf trip; it is a resort that is gaining more and more attention lately. It is located southwest of Hardenberg GolfResort.

Our golf itinerary

Golf Club Harz

To get a feel of the Harz, you may well start with Golf Club Harz. The golf club is laid out on the slopes of the Harz mountains in Bad Harzburg with some nice vistas of the hinterland. Rather quirky laid out over three parts, stretching all the way to and making use of the tracks of a horse track. Bad Harzburg is a spa, so good for relaxing, but the nearby small town Goslar is also very much worth a visit. If you have some more time at hand, a ¾ hour drive will take you into former East Germany to one of the most picturesque towns in the country, Quedlinburg. Expect cobbled streets, castles, colourful houses and nice squares.

Hardenberg GolfResort

From Bad Harzburg it is a spectacular 1 hour+ drive straight through the Harz mountains and it’s highest peak the Brocken to the next course. Golf Club Hardenberg - or Hardenberg GolfResort - may well be Germany’s best value-for-money course. You may have seen it’s epic hole #11 green which depicts a boar’s head. But the golf course has so much more to offer than that. Each hole is an adventure on its own. So much variation in lay out of holes – doglegs, elevated greens and greens down the hill, all kinds of bunkers and water hazards, vegetation ranging from pine trees to apple orchard an flower beds… you name it, this course has it all!

Golfclub Rittergut Rothenbergerhaus

But if you really want to get a feel of the Grenzland, the next golf course is a must-visit. Golfclub Rittergut Rothenbergerhaus is situated a stone’s throw away from the former border. Literally: at hole 17 you can walk to the border during your game. Rothenbergerhaus is a very sympathetic course. The clubhouse is a half-timbered red and white building which used to be the stables of a farm dating back to the 1700s. The staff are all very welcoming and friendly. The setting is majestic, right in the countryside with rolling hills, forests and views all around. You will encounter these hills during your game. E-trolleys are not a luxury here. When you have time for a cup of coffee afterwards, be sure to try the Stacherbeer Baiser – this pie is almost as undulated as the course and equally delightful.

Sport- & Golf-Resort Gut Wissmannshof (possible add-on)

Although we didn't play Sport- & Golf-Resort Gut Wissmannshof, their reputation is increasing day by day which is also reflected in its current rating: an 8.8 out of 10. This golf resort is located close to the city of Kassel and only a few kilometres away from the beautiful half-timbered town of Hann. The resort currently offers two 9 hole loops (Blue and Yellow), but a third loop is being built (Red) as well as an Akademie Course.

Grünes Band (Green Belt)

The former strip of borderline land, or Grenzland, is enormous:  50-200 meters wide for a stretch of 1400km. This area was put to good use. For the major part, it was left to nature. This Grünes Band (green belt) harbours 150 nature reserves and 1200 endangered species. In places, the remnants of the former border are still visible. If you are interested in this recent history, be sure to visit the Grenzland museum in Eichsfeld, which is within easy reach of Rothenbergerhaus. You can walk along the path of the border from here. This is where villages and families were divided but also reunited.

The borders in Europe are still fragile, sometimes we forget this. And just how fragile, we didn’t realise when made this trip last year.

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Bart Bikker

Bart Bikker

Unique highlight: Bart Bikker has played all Dutch golf courses!
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