This week at the Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort the field will be competing on the Beckenbauer Course, named after one of Germany's greatest sportsmen.
That’s right, the 7,322 yard par 72 layout is named after one of football’s biggest names, and arguably Germany’s most legendary – Der Kaiser – Franz Beckenbauer.
As one of his nation’s most decorated sportsman, he turned out for his country over 100 times, many of which as captain, while also being decorated at club level as the only man to captain his club, Bayern Munich, to three consecutive European Cup titles. He is also one of only two men to lift the World Cup as a player and a manager, making Beckenbauer’s name one of legend.
The two time European Footballer of the Year has been heavily involved at Hartl Resort from the beginning, and it was actually his idea to turn the land, in the heart of Bavaria, into a golf course.
“It was a long time ago but I advised Alois Hartl to make this beautiful area into a couple of golf courses, and he did, he took my advice, and now it is the biggest golf complex in Europe,” explained Beckenbauer. “They have six 18 hole golf courses here, so it is like a paradise for any golfer.
“One of the owners, and Bernhard Langer, who designed the course, came to me one day and asked what I thought about having my name put to the course, and I said OK.
“This area is not, shall we say, a very public area, it is a little bit outside the main cities like Munich and Regensburg, so it is not really a very crowded place. So to help make this area more popular the owner wanted the course to take my name.”
The Beckenbauer Course combines tight fairways and tall rough with the threat of water on almost every hole, a test that demands accuracy as well as power from the tee.
It is one of six courses here at the Hartl Resort, but there is no doubting which is Beckenbauer’s favourite: “This one is the best one, the most attractive one, and it really is a challenge for an average golfer as well as a professional, which is great.”
As for his own golf game, the German was speaking ahead of the Wednesday Pro-Am competition at Hartl Resort, and had been due to play himself, until a minor operation a fortnight ago left him unable to tee it up, under doctor’s orders.
But it is clear that one of Germany’s greatest ever sportsmen is a big fan of golf, even if he didn’t come to it until he hung up his boots at the end of a truly illustrious career.
He said: “A lot of professional footballers play golf because it is a fantastic game, but I started late, when I retired from football at 38, so it was too late to start a golf career. But for me as an amateur it is OK, I enjoy the game, I enjoy the day with friends, to be surrounded by them, so it is fantastic.”
“I play more now than I did when we bid for the World Cup in 2006 as I had no time left to play golf, so I’m happy with my golf and the time I have left to play this beautiful game.
And the 12 handicapper believes that as more German stars like Martin Kaymer, Max Kieffer and Marcel Siem make a name for themselves in the game, it should draw more people to play golf at home in Germany.
“Golf is getting better in Germany, because the first successful golfer was Bernhard Langer, and he brought an interest in golf into the country. Now there’s Kaymer and Siem, and yes it is getting better and the talent is becoming better, and the education is better than decades ago. I would say golf ‘is in’ right now in Germany.”