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Golfing is still an elite sport in Germany. While traditionally not a golfing country, the emergence of German golfer Bernhard Langer, the "Ice Man", in the 1980s placed Germany firmly on the golfing map and since then new courses have been developed around the country. There are now more than 600 golf courses nationwide across all federal states and the number of golfers is fast approaching half a million. Bavaria has the most highly concentrated number of golf courses, and the former East of the country has the fewest.
The German Golf Association (Deutsche Golf Verband, DGV) is the main association which looks after clubs and licences.
There is also an association for players that are not affiliated to any particular club, the Vereinigung Clubfreier Golfspieler (VcG).
Germany follows the handicap system set by the European Golf Association (EGA). Generally, a handicap certificate is always required to play and a Tee-time must be booked in advance (it is seldom possible to simply turn up and play). Clubs and shoes are not available for rent.
All golfers wishing to practise their sport in Germany require a golfing licence (Platzreife) which is proof of handicap. It is not necessary to have a medical certificate or proof of insurance in order to play.
Foreign players do not need to take the Platzreife examinations if they can prove their handicap through official club membership and handicap card.
Residents of Germany and others without an official handicap card must take the Platzreife examination before permission is granted to play a round of golf.
The Platzreife examination comes in two parts:
In 2006 the DGV introduced new examination guidelines for obtaining a DGV-certified golfing licence. This certification is the most widely accepted form of golfing licence in Germany and can be obtained by all golfers no matter whether they are a club member or not. There are now over 400 clubs in Germany offering three- to five-day courses for obtaining a DGV and PGA approved golfing licence. To check that the club in question is DGV certified see the DGV website or call the information line during office hours.
There is a fee for training and taking the Platzreife and many choose instead to take the course in Austria, Italy, Switzerland or Spain where it is less expensive. Some golf course developers as well as others in the profession have tried to get rid of the Platzreife in order to make golf more accessible.
Once the Platzreife has been obtained, golfers are free to join a private golf club or play as a non-member on the numerous courses in Germany. Club fees vary with club exclusivity, as do links fees.
Golf driving ranges can also be found throughout the country. The majority of driving ranges are to be found within a golf club. Restrictions may apply, most commonly:
There are also a small number of driving ranges that do not belong to private golf courses where non-licensed players may practise. Golfers need to take their own clubs. Payment is made directly at the ball dispenser. Sometimes, a chip is required for the ball dispenser. In this case, the driving range management will exchange the chip for cash and may refuse admission if certain rules of golfing etiquette are not being followed (dress code, shoes, general appearance, for example).
Check on the list of German driving ranges to find the nearest golf driving range. Simply type in the post code and city of residence to obtain a list of course and ranges in the area.
|Golf club (organisation)||Golfklub|
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