Is there a better way to start off the Easter holidays than with a course visit?? Not in our opinion so on Maundy Thursday we went on the first visit of this season. The "target" of our visit was Struer Golfklub. A club which we actually would have visited last year, had we not run out of weekends!! We now would make remedy and the 17th April 2003 would be a date, which we would not soon forget!! More about this later. The clubhouse is a beautiful farmhouse with three wings. It has been rebuild in the most fashionable style and with all the facilities that are needed to run a modern golf club today. The only thing missing to make it perfect, is a restaurant but if you go into town (Struer) you will find several good places worth visiting. On the day we visited the club, we were blessed with some really fine weather. The wind was hardly noticeable, the temperature was 18-20 degrees and the sun was shining from a clear blue sky...so there were no complaints from our point of view. We would like to mention here, that we were very pleased that the wind wasn't stronger. That could easily have raised the scores by 10 strokes, and our scores on this particular day were in fact really good (right Lars!? - 42 points) and on a course never played before, not too shabby.
After a warm welcome in the clubhouse we went for the practice course. Let us put it like it is - the training facilities are VERY good in Struer Golfklub. There is plenty of space on the driving range and the range has good distance markers. Next to the range lies a perfect chipping green with a matching practice bunker. The sand in this bunker is very fine and really good to hit from and the same goes for the sand in all the bunkers on the course. Once and again the shots came out high and perfect as it should be every time (we have never had so many sand saves out on a course) and neither of us are like Paul Azinger in the bunkers!! The putting green is fine and pretty quick with some interesting slopes, so it is possible to train even the most crooked putts. It is situated close to the first tee so, you can be ready in a jiffy when it is your turn. All in all the facilities are just great.
Let's now jump to the holes. First of all we have to say it is probably hard to find a more elegant start than with the first hole on this course. It is a short par 4 (319y/292m) slightly uphill and with a bunker on each side of the fairway. The one on the left is placed (228y/208m) from the tee and the one on the right is placed (160y/146m) from the tee. Well placed and in play for most golfers. Here we recommend you hit a long iron or a small wood to get you past the first bunker, but not in the second one... If you have hit the fairway and lies short of the second bunker, you will face a shot no longer than (90y/82m/). The approach shot is up to an elevated green, which is protected by a bunker on the left side. Should you hit it long, the woods are ready to help hide your ball behind the green. Because of the elevation, you can not see the bottom of the green and therefore the exact pin placement is a well kept secret. This makes it difficult to choose the right club, but this just makes the challenge bigger. The green is not typical for the rest of the course, as this green only has some light slopes. It is actually quite easy to read, but don't be fooled - it is not going to last. A par here on this beautiful opening hole is a must and a birdie is a good bonus.
The 3rd hole is a fun par 5 (515y/471m) and it REALLY has to be played with the inside of your head. The hole is almost shaped like a horseshoe and you have to hit your drive at least (230y/210m) to be able to hit a reasonable easy second shot down the fairway. If you are amongst the long hitters and master a little precision, you might be able to hit a good drive over the right side of the right fairway bunker. If you manage to do, so you will perhaps only lack (164y/150m) to the green. You still need to know the course well and contain a good portion of courage (perhaps even a little madness) to hit this shot!! The second shot should for most of us be a long lay up with a spoon or long iron to get to the bunker, that is placed (61y/56m) from the green. From there you hit an approach shot to an elevated green, and it gives you a semi-blind shot. All around the green the woods lurks - it actually follows you from the tee box and all the way along the right side of the hole. You DON'T want to mess with that!! If you should hit your ball in there, it is lost for sure. If you are really careful this is a good birdie opportunity, but you might as well walk away with a 7 on the card. We think this is a really good par 5.
The 4th hole is a real pain of a par 3, so we just move right on to the next... NO, NO, just kidding, because this spectacular hole has its own special story. The hole (132y/121m) is placed in the woods, and you stand high above the green on the tee. There is a stunning view over the green, but the tee shot looks narrow because of the trees. Don't be fooled - there is room enough for the shot. In front of the green runs a small stream, so be sure you have got plenty of club. We know it is not polite to brag, but we just have to mention that the "occasionally marksman" of the test team (Lars) shot his first ever HOLE-IN-ONE at this hole (from the back tee 154y/141m) and the cheering would not stop. We believe that we could be heard all over the course, and we would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the golfers there were there that day. We hope, you didn't miss any putts!! This hole is just one in a line of beautiful and challenging par 3 holes which characterises this course.
The 7th hole is a really good par 4 (410y/375m) with a dogleg right. It is rated as the toughest hole on the course. We fully acknowledge that because despite the fact, that we all hit good drives - none of us has had less than (164y/150m)to the green which is elevated (6-11y/5-10m) over the bottom of the fairway. The wind was not to speak of and we wondered how short our drives would have been, had the wind been strong and against... There are not too many difficulties in the drive (besides the wind factor), and there is plenty of room to hit the driver. The only place you are NOT allowed to hit you ball is in the little stream which runs (11y/10m) on the fairways right side. It begins at (164y/150m) and ends at (191y/175m). The easiest is of course to hit our drive over the water, but this means that you have to carry the ball at least (202y/185m) to be absolutely sure, you clear it. The shorter hitters can always break the hole into three shots and still make par, if the putter is hot. The second shot is quite hard as the green is so elevated, that you can not see the bottom of the pin - this challenges you to pick the right club. The green is protected by to bunkers in front - the right one is not so big, but the one on the left side is quite bigger - neither of them are pleasant to visit. All around the green it slopes rather steeply and a missed green gives you a tough chip shot - so don't do that!! When you finally hit the green the dance isn't over because it is as exiting as the rest of them. A par is a good score here and a birdie a REALLY good score... we send a warm thanks to the golf gods with special thoughts to Lars' hole-in-one on the 4th and Jan's birdie on the 7th.
The 11th hole is a rather strange one, which calls for caution - especially if you are a longhitter!! The hole is a par 4 (412y/377m) and is rated as the second most difficult on the course. The drive is straight up in the air - it certainly feels that way, when you hit your tee shot. If you play the course for the first time, you have no idea in what direction you should hit the ball. A good guess is to aim at the left side of the ladies tee. If you hit your driver more than (252y/230m) you might want to consider a spoon instead. Out there in that distance from the tee a hedgerow runs through the fairway and the opening is quite narrow and leaves not much room for the ball. For the shorter hitters it is best to lay up short of the hedgerow or at least safely between the two small hills. From here you will face a long approach shot, which can be divided in two, if you lack the courage and/or the length to go for the green. The green is protected by two bunkers on the left side and is hard to hit. Be careful not to lose your ball at the right of the green (close by the 12th tee) because the rough is so thick here, that you don't want to flirt with it. The hole IS difficult and a par is a good score while a bogey is quite acceptable. Please remember to ring the bell in the left side of the fairway when you pass it!!
The 15th hole is a superb par 5 (507y/463m) and again you hit the drive uphill. The hole curves quite a bit to the left and there is out of bounds on the right, but we don't think it's in play very often. If you have hit a good solid drive down the left side of the hole, you can try to reach the green in two shots. It is reasonable safe to cut the dogleg and advance forward, but you still need to beware of the two bunkers (105y/96m) and (66y/60m) from the green. These bunkers are very much in play, if you miss hit your shot. In our opinion these bunkers are placed exactly where they bother most of the golfing population - the golfers who use tree shots to reach the green!! From the bunkers the hole is slightly uphill to the green, so bare that in mind when you pick your attack club. This hole also offers a fine birdie opportunity if your wedge play is sharp. You can enjoy a stunning view from the highest point on this hole and it is truly a beautiful designed par 5.
The 16th hole is a par 3 (171y/156m) and with an "annoying" bunker placed on the right side of the green. By annoying we mean deep... and very difficult to get out of!!! When you stand tall in the deepest part of the bunker, you can just look up over the edge (Lars is 1,84m tall and he tried this little, cosy bunker). Our best advice is to swing thru and pray that you will get out... The hole is situated close to the coastline and provides a breathtaking scenery. This is a hole that really can make your forehead sweat, when you enter the tee box. There is no doubt, where you want to land the ball on this hole - that is on the green - so be sure to take enough club... better a 5-iron than 6-iron when in doubt. If you hit the "dance floor" in regulation this is, believe it or not, a good birdie opportunity because the green is without serious slopes - just go for it. Remember to take a few seconds here to take in the all the impressions - the nature is stunning.
The final hole - the 18th - is a par 5 (521y/476m) and it offers - in our opinion - all the excitement you can wish for. The drive is relatively simple and slightly uphill. Here you can benefit from cutting the corner a little bit. It takes a carry of (206y/187m) over the fairway bunker in the right side and IF you can carry this one, you will get some extra roll on the other side of the hill. The fairway rolls down all the way to the little stream that runs across it some (44y/40m) in front of the green. On the left a bunker is placed some (104y/95m) from the green and you need to stay clear of this. Lay up in a safe distance from the water and hit your approach shot to the green from here. It is recommendable to stay below the pin as this green slopes rather steep towards the water hazard - you don't want a down hill chip or putt here, trust us!!! We speak from bitter experience!! Superb finishing hole which really putts a final touch and complements a long line of fine and challenging holes.
The course in Struer Golf Club is in a fine condition in spite of the early time of year. That tells us that they cherishes high quality in this Club. The fairways and greens are of cause a little dry and hard but that goes for all Danish clubs this spring, that has been unusually dry. The greens are level and true to putt. That and some very sloping greens give room for some real challenging pin placements. As mentioned earlier the sand in the bunkers is really nice to hit from and that makes it a lot easier to get on the green safely. In the well made course guide, it is mentioned that small stones in bunkers are "Moveable obstructions" - what stones, we ask?? These bunkers are amongst the 5-6 best from all the courses we have played at FORE.DK. That's the way to go!! The proshop has a good size and you can buy just about anything that a golfer needs to complete a round on this super course. There is no restaurant in the club, but we were told, that you can order some food before play, and it will be ready when you come back from your round. It is of course possible to buy beer and soft drinks in an automat in the club house. The course is placed in some of the most fantastic landscape, that this part of Denmark can offer and it is a great experience to play here. Some places on the course pylons crosses the holes, but somehow you don't really notice them. Many other places they would disfigure the landscape, but not on this course. We cant really explain it, but that's just the way it is - fortunately. The only thing we don't know anything about, is how the course plays in a strong wind. To tell you the truth we are not really interested in knowing, although it would be a great challenge. We are sure it will bring the difficulty rate up to 6... oh my - if the wind is in a naughty mood. We highly recommend a visit in Struer Golf Club and perhaps one of you will get an experience that will last a lifetime. You will never know.