Our man in Austria goes behind the scenes.....
Pure class from Sepp
The general consensus from the Challenge Tour Membership this week has been that the putting surfaces at the Jacques Lemans Golf Club are among the best of the season. Golfers use the brilliant word ‘pure’ to describe great greens, and there were a hell of a lot of ‘pures’ through the week at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda and most of the credit for the quality of the greens has to go to greenkeeper Sepp Hartleb, whose tireless work was, put simply, pure class…….
Falling in love with St. Veit
This week’s event is being staged in the beautiful region of Carinthia, in the town of St. Veit – Längsee. Anyone who visits this beautiful part of the world will be instantly struck by the natural alpine beauty of the area, with glorious lakes surrounded by daunting forests of fir trees all around. Love at first sight often fizzles out, but once St. Veit has you in her gaze, she then hits you with a second thunderbolt: some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in the world……
The feast at Mentehof
Nowhere has that aforementioned warmth and hospitality been more in evidence than from the man who owns the farm and other land surrounding the Jacques Lemans Golf Club, Mr Hans Rainer. Not only has Hans given a huge amount of support to the tournament this week, but he and his wife welcomed tournament officials to their amazing home on the farm at Mentehof. A beautiful old farmhouse, the lucky invited few were treated to what can only be described as a feast fit for a Carinthian King, with home grown and produced delicacies dominating the ‘Brettljause’. A ‘brettl’ is a plate made of wood, while the ‘jause’ was the sensational food we piled onto our wooden plates. A typical Carinthian evening wouldn’t be the same without a drink (or two or three or four) of schnaps, and after our royal treatment it would be fair to say that a happy band of revellers exited the farm with the kind of warm glow that can only be derived from the loving hospitality of a family home…….
Talking of warmth, and families and schnapps, the Challenge Tour staff this week have discovered an absolute gem of a hotel, the Hotel Seehof, which overlooks the beautiful lake just across the road from the Jacques Lemans Golf Club. The Schratt family run the hotel together and on our first visit to the bar, the leader of the pack, Herr Schratt Snr, offered us a ‘medicine’. Slightly confused, and with none of us able to communicate properly given our collective lack of German-speaking skills, we politely said yes. Out came the homemade schnaps. Ah, that’s the medicine, we thought. What we didn’t realise was just how much medicine we would administered…..