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Playing breezy golf in Budersand on Sylt


Legendary celeb island playground.
Endless sand and wicker beach chairs.
Gourmet restaurants at every turn.
360 degree wind and weather.

Sansibar-Restaurant-Flagge-SyltThis was roughly how I imagined the island in the far northern reaches of Germany to be. As it turned out, the wind regardless of direction had quite a kick to it…

I’d always wanted to make it to Sylt. Kind of the way I always longed to see Zanzibar. Adding to the allure, the legendary beach restaurant “Zanzibar” flies its flag there! How could you not head for destinations with names like these…

And the golf courses here are supposed to pose all sorts of challenges. Undaunted, we headed for the green expanses.

Golf Club Budersand

After a short drive we found ourselves standing on the frequently “invoked” and highly-decorated Budersand golf course on the island’s southern end. Let it be said that Budersand counts among the Top 10 courses in Germany! That didn’t exactly dampen our expectations… but what was dampened, and in the parking lot in fact, was our enthusiasm: to put on our golf shoes, we had to shelter in our rental car, that’s how strong and chill that Nor’easter blew!

But just as it holds true in other sports: There is no bad weather, there’s just poor equipment. So we assembled all the vests, caps, windbreakers, and golf gloves within reach and then stomped with heads down, shoulders raised, and eyes squinting against the wind in direction of the clubhouse..

Let it be noted that we are talking about a round of golf in summer in late June……

The clubhouse is very elegantly appointed and offers a generous view of the golf course stretching away over the dunescape and of the  Budersand Golf Hotel next door.

Golf links and Hotel Budersand under fitful skies

Golf links and Hotel Budersand under fitful skies

Sand bunker at budersand golf course

Here is one more harmless sand bunker…

Once safely in the club house we breathed a sigh of relief; that first weather shock had rattled us in our bones. Of course, we did not let on and reached nonchalantly for the rented clubs waiting for us. Then we pushed off back into wind and weather and to the starter’s hut at the first tee. The nice starter wised us patent foreigners up on the pitfalls the course held in store, not neglecting to mention the stiff crosswind.

Oh, really; wind you say?

Then I was ready, squared up on the famous first tee. Without my own clubs. Without having warmed up on the driving range. Instead, I was wrapped up like an Eskimo. Behind me, grinning from ear to ear, stood a starter who wanted to be right there for my first tee shot.

Well, so what; pressure brings out the best in us. Plus, I just knew that my flight partner Katja would dazzle with long, straight tee shots. All right, bottoms up, the club that is, and smack that ball! But, of course, do it with an elegant swing, because, as everyone knows, only a smooth, relaxed swing produces straight, long ball trajectories. Just muscling it accomplishes next to nothing. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s a fact. Now, executing a relaxed swing under the prevailing conditions, that’s a whole ‘nother thing…

Be that as it may, somehow my cold hips, cramped up arms and the strange driver came together in wonderfully harmonious swing that rocketed the ball down the middle of the fairway, right on target.

It was practically an epiphany!

A pro couldn’t have done it better! I could almost feel how the starter’s secret smile faded as he watched the ball with a baffled look on his face. But I might have been a bit premature; his face-splitting grin reappeared with a vengeance because – recall that crosswind! – with the ball established on a mathematically perfect parabolic curve, suddenly it was intercepted by some perfidious,  invisible force that caused it to veer off in a highly undesirable direction. And so, right off the first tee I wound up in the rough made up of Sylt dune grass waving in the wind.

Thanks a lot!

Now Katja was forewarned. But can you believe it, even her normally straight-flying ball oddly landed on the lee side of the fairway. Wonder why…

A few strokes and first-hand experiences with the wind later, the ball was irretrievably sunk in the tall grass . Naturally, this does not in the least upset the seasoned golfer, and so I straightened my little crown and reached with supreme calm for the next ball. As it turned out, it was a move I would repeat, grinding my teeth, several times as the day wore on…

Walter Schärer in the rough on the Budersand golf course

Walter in the relatively harmless semi-rough

At least the wind came from behind sometimes. Only to turn promptly into another headwind. In between, there was probably a crosswind. And the greens, cut down to 3 mm and also rollered, at ca. 10 feet on the Stimpmeter are pretty damn fast, and they undulate like crazy to boot.

Good luck getting to the relative safety of the greens, because no fewer than 90 (!) pot bunkers of the most wicked design get in the way. To extricate yourself again, you practically have to play back. Avoid these at all costs!

Bunker on the Budersand golf course on Sylt

Tricky pot bunkers by the fairway edge

What comes to mind at this point but the inimitable Robin Williams and his riff on the invention of this variety of obstacle course. It has never been said better…

Yeah, those Scots had some fun with this one! And the Budersand version in any case turned out perfect…

… rejoice, ye who make it relatively unscathed to the noble clubhouse or the Budersand Hotel’s coffee shop.

Coffee and cake in the Budersand Golf Hotel on Sylt

Coffee and cake in the Budersand Golf Hotel

Golf-Club Budersand
Fernsicht 1
25997 Hörnum/Sylt

Marine Golf Club

For those who want it a bit calmer, choose a wind-still day and the Marine Golf Club on 200 acres of greensward laid out in the Scottish style. On those firm, fast greens you’ll leave your divot tool in the bag in good conscience…

But watch out, here, too, the pot bunkers are mercilessly deep and steep and practically even more to be avoided than at Budersand!

Sand bunker in the Marine golf course on Sylt

Expertly perverse – a typical sand bunker…

Clubhouse and beach chairs at the Marine Golf Club Sylt

Clubhouse at the Marine Golf Club Sylt

Marine-Golf-Clb Sylt e.G.
Flughafen 69
25980 Tinnum/Sylt

Sylt Golf Club

And then worth testing yourself on as well is the Küstenplatz Golf Club Sylt near the Kampen lighthouse. By the tidal flats, generous water hazards impede your march to greens that are also lightning fast.

Walter Schärer in a bunker at the Marine Golf Course Sylt

There he goes again…Walter in another bunker…

Golf-Club Sylt e.V.
Norderweg 5
25996 Wenningstedt/Sylt

Lots of enjoyment and good playing…

What more there is to do on days of calmer winds we put together in this overview. Looking for a gourmet experience? Consider the Fährhaus Restaurant by top chef Alexandro Pape. This man (and his wife) have their own way with salt…

And should you want to relax after a romantic walk through Keitum, the village of captains, don’t pass up the Kontorhaus! The architect couple of Franziska and Wolfgang Zaeske have created an exceptional feel-good oasis… Even an overnight stay is possible in this “tea house”!

Stellar round of golf in Sylt

Awesome links golfing

Potentially breezy and challenging but worth the trouble. Absolutely commendable!

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About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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