Golfing in Kitzbuhel, Austria, Scotland on Sunday Travel Wish List
Kitzbuhel is a medieval town marked by original walls and gates. The sense of history is palpable in the cobbled streets connected by arches and lined with restaurants, cafes and bars. Tables set outside beautiful facades serve knodelsuppe and kaiserschmarrn – noodle soup and pancake dessert. No bland chicken noodles, but big meatballs rich in liver and herbs; not delicious suzette pancakes, but large pieces of pancakes mixed with plum jam and dipped in schnapps, hot in the common pan and dusted with icing sugar. Skiers and boarders are used to Austrian ways of satisfying big appetites during cold winters, but golfers may be less aware of alpine pleasures.
In a Mediterranean golf resort, a distant view of the sea between the villas is often as beautiful as it gets. In KitzbÃ¼hel, the mighty Streif dominates the city. In January, the best descenders cling to perilous lines on its almost vertical ice walls in pursuit of victory in the Hahnenkamm, the most dangerous race on the FIS World Cup circuit. In July, the sun shines on the pastures, lush and green.
To the north, the gray teeth of the Wilder Kaiser massif, the still snow-covered slopes, dominate the horizon. It claims to be the first alpine region to receive the Austrian hiking seal of approval, but its rambling 27-hole golf course doesn’t deserve any accolades. Anyway, no need to go that far: Kitzbuhel has two 18 and two nine hole courses of its own.
The king is Eichenheim, ranked number seven in Austria, a good position for a distant Tyrolean course as the above splendor is clustered around Vienna. When Scotland wants to prove that modernity can be on a par with the old, she quotes Kingsbarns, designed by Kyle Phillips. He is also the man of Eichenheim, turning unruly slopes into a magnificent ordeal, not least because keeping your head down in such an environment is a constant challenge. Unless you’re training for a marathon, take a buggy to avoid mountaineering from green to tee.
Eichenheim turns 20 this year, a sadly muted celebration in the Covid-19 era for a course open only from April to October.
With no expense spared, Phillips literally moved mountains to create fairways wide and flat enough to keep good balls in play. Many tees are high, always alluring, sometimes scary as they reveal the nature of the task at hand. The first 14 holes are very varied then the last stretch short on the wow factor but the 18th reveals a final prick in the tail. As the clubhouse is an integral part of the five-star Grand Tirolia Hotel and Spa, part of the Hilton Curio collection, facilities are generally good, but lack the feel of independent facilities.
The Schwarzsee Club is a course in two halves, with the front nine rolling along the valley floor and the rear nine rolling up into the buttresses.
From the start, he takes no prisoners with a dog leg par 5 towards a lake in front of the green. An overly optimistic angle over the water and your map is toast even though you’ve barely started.
This if the first of the four dog-legs before the fairways straightens towards the 9: where the spectators on the terrace of the clubhouse watch the balls drown in front of the green. The last nine start the same way with an intrusive lake, then roll through arched hills.
If you play in the afternoon, go to Rosengarten to Kirchberg (9km) for one of the best dinners in Austria. The host of the mine is Simon Taxacher, who, together with his partner Sandra, runs a five-star boutique hotel.
In 2009, Taxacher won two Michelin stars, the first of many awards, and sources local ingredients and customer favorites such as Gillardeau oysters. It is the same with the wine list which is Austro-international at the highest level. Eat at the Simon Taxacher restaurant or at the Bistro, both relaxed and comforting with impeccable service. If you need a splash, have it here.
Back in Kitz, as his friends call him, there are two nine hole options. My favorite is the Rasmushof, essentially a large sloping ground which also serves as the arrival point for the Streif track in winter.
The Kitzbuhel Golf Club, founded in 1955 and reinvented in the 2000s in the form of an ornate and very neat layout, is part of the chic A-rosa Hotel and Spa, a German resort specializing in rigid luxury. This is characterized by the 8th hole, a labyrinth of walkways and small bridges accessing an islet of greenery surrounded by ponds surrounded by stone walls.
For future agendas, the annual week of the KitzbÃ¼hel Gourmet Golf Festival during the June solstice has 12 tournaments over six days spread over the four courses; the highlight is the red jacket on the Rasmushof. An improvised 12-hole course on the Streif starts with a powerful tee shot from the Hahnenkamm starting gate. Local chefs from Gault & Millau compete to offer signature dishes, with the support of wine merchants across the country.
As one of the best luxury winter sports resorts, The center of Kitzbuhel has several mansions converted into beautiful hotels such as the four star Zur Tenne, The Tiefenbrunner, backed by former Olympic downhill champion Franz Klammer, for all the right reasons. Away from the center, Lebenbergis Castle a five-star medieval hideaway with tower suites and a rooftop pool while the four-star Tennenhof, Relais & ChÃ¢teaux “Gourmet & Spa de Charme” up to its offer, with 39 rooms and three restaurants, a reassuring ratio for gourmets. Relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city center among the herbaceous borders and mature trees. On the 19th hole, it’s as good as it gets.
Stunning backdrop: KitzbÃ¼hel offers a different golf course, plus all the perks of a luxury resort
Eichenheim, 18 holes, 6092m, par 71, green fee â¬ 99, ââtwilight â¬ 60 (after 2.30pm). +43 5356 66615.
Schwarzsee, 18 holes, 6104m, par 72, green 87-95 â¬, +44 5356 71645, golf-schwarzsee-.at
Rasmushof, 9 holes ,, 28-34 â¬, twilight â¬ 19 (from 17.00) + 43 5356 65252, rasmushof.at
Kitzbuhel Golf Club, 9 holes, 2850m, par 35, â¬ 50-56, +43 5356 65660, golfclub-kitzbuhel.com
Tennenhof Gourmet & Spa de Charme Hotel, double (2 persons) with breakfast Â£ 166 (July) +43 5356 636181; tennenhof.com
The nearest airports are Salzburg (59.9 km) and Innsbruck (81 km). Currently suspended flights
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