It is not by accident that the Championship Course in Murstӓtten has received rave reviews from world class golfers such as Joost Luiten and Sergio Garcia (then a youth golfer). With bunkers and water in play on many holes, this course offers everything required to challenge a golfer. It is also one of the longest courses in Austria with a distance of 6417 meters (7018 yards) from white tees and 5,381 meters (5,885 yards) from black. Even the distances from yellow and red (6,031 and 5,072 meters respectively, or 6,595 and 5,547 yards) offer a competitive challenge to all. For all those who would like to better understand how to best take on the Championship Course, here is a hole by hole description from reigning Club Champion Phillip Hӧdl:
A par 4 that is not long and offers a generous fairway to drive, enabling players to get off to a good start. The only danger is an out of bounds on the right. The green is deep and has a hump in the middle.
A more challenging par 4 straight forward where players need to look out for a fairway bunker of the left which is right in the driving zone. The whole hole has an out of bounds area on the right. Precision is required when shooting for the green, defended as it is by a large bunker and a further out of bounds area behind it.
The first par 5 offering long hitters the possibility of taking a short cut over the trees to the left of the elevated tee, which will enable them to go for the green in two. For all other players will tend to either aim for the gap to the left of the big tree, to go over it or aim to the right. Their second shot will require caution because of the deep fairway bunkers on the left which begin approximately 90 meters before the green. The green itself is protected by bunkers on the right and the back left.
A par 4 requiring further precision from the tee owing to the mounds in the typical driving area, which also contain several bunkers. There are also numerous trees on the right and deep rough. Long hitters may wish to take on the challenge of hitting over these mounds. A shallow green requires players to keep their approaches short to minimise the risk of ending up in the water behind the green. Bunkers to the front left and back right also protect the green.
One of the signature holes of the course. This short par 3 demands a fearless tee shot onto the peninsula green, which is protected on the left and on the right side by bunkers. A shot to the middle of the green is the surest way to overcome this hole, but beware: the green has a steep swell which makes for challenging putts.
The view from the tee (especially from white) on this second par 5 can appear both spectacular and terrifying. The whole hole has water running along the right side. In the driving zone lie two fairway bunkers, one behind the other. A good tee shot permits a player to either go for the green or to lay up on the generous fairway. The approach requires one to hit the right plateau as the green is undulating and makes putting tricky.
According to the score card, this par 3 is amongst the easiest holes on the course, but this may not appear optically so when standing on the tee. The green is protected on three sides by water and by bunkers on both left and right sides. A shot to the middle of the green should satisfy most players as even with an undulating green, two putts are a feasible proposition wherever the hole may be.
This par 4 is the hardest hole on the course, requiring a long a precise tee shot made even more difficult by the water on the right and trees to the left exacting in the driving zone. The shot to the diagonal and shallow green is also highly challenging and a miss to the right will mean landing either in the water or a bunker.
A short par 4 with a slight dog leg to the right requires a tee shot on the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunkers hiding in the mounds to the right. The approach to the green requires further precision as it protected all around by bunkers and is undulating with several levels making putting a challenge. However, the short length means this hole offers players an excellent opportunity for a birdie.
A challenging start to the back 9. The tee shot really needs to hit the fairway and be as far as possible, as this par 4 is almost 400 meters (437 yards) long. The second shot is no easier as the target is a relatively small green which is protected by bunkers on all sides. The green itself is relatively even making putting more straight forward.
Bunkers await on both the right and left sides of the fairway here, right in the typical driving zone of this par 4. A good drive is rewarded by a relatively short approach to the undulating green, which is characterised by a hump to the right. The green is deeper than it appears from the fairway and players are advised to hit their approaches deep to also avoid the bunker to the front right.
The first par 5 on the back 9 is quite special. From the tee, the whole left side is out of bounds. The second shot will normally require a precise lay-up, not least because there is a wide stream running between the fairway and green. There are three large trees obstructing a ball’s flight to the green which must be played around with some skill as only limited space is available. The green is divided into two separate plateaus.
A kidney shaped green awaits players to this middle-distance par 3, which is also well protected by bunkers on all sides. Behind the hole is out of bounds, but this area rarely comes into play. A careful reading of this green is essential in order to pick the right putting line.
The longest par 4 on the Championship Course not only requires length from the tee, but also more precision as high trees are found to the left of the fairway while deep rough prevails to the right. The perfect drive will be a small draw. The approach shot crosses a public road and demands a further good length hit. Those who overshoot the green will discover they are forced to hit onto a green which slopes to the front.
In order to avoid the fairway bunkers on this short par 4, located on either side of the typical landing zone from the tee, players can aim for the 100 meter marker. Only long hitters can really avoid this pinch point. The approach shot to the three bunker protected green is not long and therefore offers players an excellent chance for birdie.
The last par 4 on the course has its own pitfalls. The left side of the fairway is strewn with thick rough and is followed by a bunker. To the right trees and undulating terrain await. The usually long second shot is to a very deep green, further protected to the right by a very large bunker dug into a low hollow. Again, picking the right putting line is tricky as there are many small breaks on the green.
The most renowned hole on the whole Championship Course is a par 5 double right to left dog leg, curving around almost half of the lake. A safe drive from the tee must be followed by a perfect lay-up which is not made any easier by the continuous danger of water to the left and slopes, trees and bunkers to the right. The back to front sloping green is protected by further bunkers and hollows. In summary, this hole will punish any relapse in concentration, which must be maintained until the last putt drops.
The longest par 3 on the Championship Course remains to round things off. To the right of the green a narrow pot-bunker awaits, while a large flatter bunker protects the front left. On top of this, the green is on three plateaus requiring a solid tee shot and confident putting to finish the round.
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