Golf courses on dunes by the sea, challenging pot bunkers and a fresh breeze in your face: A total of eight golf courses on five German North Sea islands offer links courses that you would otherwise only expect to find in Scotland. Find out what distinguishes these extraordinary golf courses and why you should definitely get to know the variety of courses.
Links courses from Sylt to Norderney
That the islands in the Wadden Sea are popular vacation spots is nothing new. That there are also great links courses to discover here, maybe. Four varied courses – including Germany’s best golf course 2020/21 – are located on the island of Sylt. The other four are spread over the islands of Föhr, Langeoog, Wangerooge and Norderney. All of these golf courses are links courses in the original sense: they are located on a strip between the sea and fertile land that is not or hardly arable for agriculture, mostly on a dune. The subsoil is sandy and together with the persistent wind only the typical dune flora thrives here – short grasses, small bushes, broom, here and there dune roses. Due to the different locations, there are also places with groups of trees and small groves on the North German islands: Variety and variety are therefore guaranteed.
Pretty tricky – Playing links courses
Apart from flora and fauna – what actually distinguishes links courses from the park courses as they are laid out in most of the 736 German golf clubs? The most obvious difference is the vegetation or planting. The fairways of park courses are very often bordered by tall trees, landscaped flower strips and an easily playable semi-rough lead to the green, which is often defended by water. Original links courses are located in a more or less hilly dune landscape where no tall trees thrive. Another difference is the construction of the bunkers. Park golf courses are often equipped with very flat, wide bunkers, from which you can play with a 7 iron if the sand is firm. Bunkers look completely different on the links course: the dreaded, deep and often walled pot bunkers sometimes only offer one way out – the one to the back. The steady and often strong coastal wind would simply blow away the sand of a shallow bunker, so the pot bunker is the perfect obstacle choice here.
Tactics before shot speed for links golfers
Speaking of wind: cool park golf long hitters like to get into trouble at links golf because tactics are the order of the day here. However, due to the lack of trees, you can also throw a dogleg over the corner here (if the wind is right!). “Keep the ball flat” isn’t just a saying in links golf. Teeing off with an iron is often more effective than a spirited drive. It is nice that the fairways on a links course merge directly into the green – a putt from the fairway is therefore quite possible. It is also pleasant that the distances from the green to the next tee are usually short. Incidentally, the rough on the Links golf courses is a really rough affair and hardly playable. So: Always stay on the (narrow) fairways, play tactically and keep an eye on the wind – then the most original form of playing golf is pure pleasure!
Links courses, each with their own character
The eight island courses in the North Sea surprise with their different appearances. From completely flat to very hilly, from completely treeless to partly forest-like, from different bunker shapes to small water hazards, you can find everything here on 9-hole and 18-hole courses:
Links Golf on Sylt:
You absolutely have to play this true links course in the south of Sylt! The sensationally laid out 18 holes are located directly on the Wadden Sea, gentle hills with rough that is typical of the island limit the extremely hard fairways, which end in well-armed greens. On the golf course, between the dunes and the sea, there is also a great 5-star superior hotel with a spa, where you can relax after a round of golf. Incidentally, the course of the Budersand Golf Club was voted the best German golf course of the 2020/21 season (German Golf Award/Golf Magazin).
Another 18-hole links golf course that doesn’t need to fear comparison with Scotland’s best. In the wide dune landscape, small groups of trees form welcome landmarks, undulating greens, heavily reinforced with pot bunkers, demand some respect and skill from even experienced golfers.
The northernmost golf course in Germany lures with an 18-hole Links Championship course and a 9-hole short course, which offers a welcome opportunity especially for beginners and for everyone who wants to improve their playing strength. Water hazards also come into play on this course. The view of the heath, the lighthouse, which can be seen from afar, and the wide Wadden Sea is particularly beautiful.
Here comes number four of the Links Courses on Sylt: Many water hazards and small groups of trees structure the 18-hole course in a striking way. A scenic place – of course also here with a view of the Wadden Sea – wind included.
Links golf on four other North Sea islands
Golf has been played on the island in the middle of the Wadden Sea since 1925. The character of the course is lovely, water, bushes and trees and the view of the sea alternate over a total of 27 holes. The course is one of Germany’s top 10: a true links course, with trees and flat, wide bunkers that let a bit of a park golf ambience shine through.
The 9-hole course lies between dunes and dikes, the landscape is defined by heathland, Hard Rough islands, birch groves and water. The wind is a special challenge on Langeoog – as on Wangerooge and Norderney – but golfers are happy to accept it. This is where the birdie book comes in handy, because it’s not just the fairways on the ground that require attention. The large greens are pleasant and allow many a long, enjoyable putt.
This golf course, which is only a decade old, is unique: It is located on an absolutely flat area next to the sports airport. If you want to complete the fairways successfully, you should be prepared for “short and sweet”. This course should not be underestimated, especially the short greens require a lot of sensitivity.
Did you know? In Norderney you play on Germany’s oldest links course, which is also one of the world’s best 9-hole courses! The scenery is sensational, from the view of the lighthouse, to the hills topped with tees, to the stairways that climb up and down through the mini sand mountains, to the awe-inspiring pot bunkers. A unique golfing experience in an incomparable dune landscape that can definitely be described as rugged.
Links Golf on Germany’s North Sea Islands:
Experience the fascination of original golf with a GOLF JOURNEY TO SYLT:
● 7 nights in Hotel Budersand including breakfast
● 5 x 18-hole golf on various golf courses
● exclusive transfer to the golf courses
● Massage voucher worth 75 EUR
● Wine & Golf Country Corkscrew & Golf Ball