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GOLF GUIDE


the chance to atempt to repeat it in Austria, all-expenses paid at Eichenheim. Get lucky twice and they’re €1m beter off. Easy. The trio included 24-handicapper


Australian Marissa L’Estrange who had used a driver on a 149m par-three in the Algarve. Sadly, for L’Estrange, Jose Pinto Da Silva, from Portugal and Merja Salminen, from Finland, they’d had their fill of holes-in-one for the year with the pressure telling and all of their shots veering to the leſt and a good pitch and put from the hole. In fairness to them, it could also have


been the views that distracted them. Wherever you are on the course, it’s prety hard not to find yourself staring at a slice of Alpine beauty. Buggies are essential. This is winding-around-the-mountains golf and if you don’t have a buggy then you’d beter hope you’ve got mountain goats as ancestors. Like so many of the holes, the par-three


that crushed the dreams of the wannabe millionaires, was bordered on one side by a steep forest of pine trees, guiding you to a hole set to a backdrop of mountain peaks — their snow-covered tops shrouded in mist. The elevated tee of the 482m, par-four,


third gives you a stunning view that takes in a winding, forest-lined fairway and leads your gaze to the perfectly framed pine-speckled mountain beyond. On the


Eichenheim


downside, the elevation is so great that it makes distances hard to judge and with a narrow fairway to hit, you can’t get too wild with your driver to try and make the distance. Be cautious, and you might make it, but the temptation to give a wild swing from that great height is too much for most aside from the most ardent of score-chasers. But this isn’t a course to worry about the


scorecard, it’s a course to revel in and take on every challenge it offers and there are plenty. Arguably the 299m par-four seventh is among the easier holes, but even then the roll of the land gives you more than enough to think about — the only flat you ever find here is on the green, and even then you oſten have to be on your game to get there. Shrug your shoulders, take a picture of the view and move on, it’s standard procedure in these parts. If there’s slow play ahead, who cares? Breath in the Alpine air and see if you can at least save face on the par threes. The tinkle of bells from the cows grazing


nearby and the giant wooden catle sheds that dot the lush, green landscape only adds to the quaint charm of Eichenheim. It’s a place to escape — which probably explains why so many golf balls go awol: they probably don’t want to leave either. You’ll want to play this course over and over, it’s the kind of place that you need


to see several times and even aſter you’ve played it countless times, you imagine it still has the ability to take you aback, with the different light painting new pictures of this most artistic of natural landscapes. When you do finish the golf, Hotel Grand


Tirolia has plenty both to fuel your talk of favourite holes and rejuvenate bodies that have been tackling a terrain made for hooves not feet. First, the refuelling. A Josper means that


charcoal-grilled steak is always going to be cooked well and we’re in the Alps so fondue is a welcome appearance on the menu, and likewise wienerschnitzel (breadcrumbed veal). The platers of meat, cheese and anything that can be pickled are perfect for a quick post-round feed and the balance of restaurants here, one fine-diner, one bistro, means you’re prety much going to be happy whichever way your appetite swings. With the belly full, geting ready for your


next round is pivotal and the spa options at Hotel Grand Tirolia are, quite frankly, dizzying. You can be heated, cooled, wrapped, coated, scrubbed, cleansed, peeled, pummelled and probably boiled and fried too. Whatever works for you, you’ll find it here, so you’ll always be ready for just one more round. Green fees from £45. grand-tirolia.com


72


ABTA Golf 2018


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