- Sonnenalp 1, 87527 Ofterschwang, Germany
- www.golfsonnenalp-oberallgaeu.de / sonnenalp.de
- 08 321 272 181
Set in the Bavarian mountains in the south of Germany not far from the principality of Liechtenstein, this resort features two fine 18-hole courses. You’ll enjoy stunning Alpine views as you progress through a layout that keeps surprising.
“The routing must be considered a stroke of genius due to the dearth of contiguous space,” writes Ulrich Mayring for Top100golfcourses.com. “More than once it looks like the golfer has finally played himself into a dead-end, but the course keeps on winding its way forward between houses, barns, pastures, ravines and mountains.”
Sonnenalp has a flatter layout through meadows and forests but is still worth playing. The snow-capped Allgäu Alps add a scenic backdrop and you can stop at a rustic Halfway House before the 10th hole for refreshments.
On Sonnenalp, golfers will be challenged by doglegs, ponds, small streams, strategically-placed bunkers and undulating greens.
The five-star hotel on site also offers its guests weekly tournaments to sign up for, introducing an element of competition to the beautiful setting. You can also warm up on the nine-hole Gundelsberg course.
Owner Karlheinz Fäßler employed Swiss golf course architect Donald Harradine to design Sonnenalp in 1975, whilst local designer Kurt Rossknecht completed Oberallgäu and Gundelsberg in 2004, establishing this resort as one of Europe’s top golfing destinations. Rossknecht modernized Sonnenalp in 2008.
There are two clubhouses – Waldhaus and Seehaus – with accompanying pro shops servicing golfers here, too. The clubhouses each have golf academies that employ the latest teaching methods, such as video feedback and sports psychology, to help sharpen your game.
The challenges: After the driveable par-4 first hole on Oberallgäu, smart club selection is needed to stay out of trouble from bunkers, lakes and trees on this windy, mountainous course.
When to play: March – November. This becomes an Alpine ski resort when the snow starts falling in winter.
Par: Sonnenalp par 73; Oberallgäu par 72
Sonnenalp 6133 meters, 6707 yards
Oberallgäu 5936 meters, 6492 yards
Slope: Sonnenalp 136. Oberallgäu 127
Rating: Sonnenalp 74.8. Oberallgäu 71.5
Oberallgäu’s “Pond Witch”, the par-4 fourth hole, offers two truly challenging shots to reach a small target in regulation. Avoid the trees on the left off the tee but make sure you don’t cut the ball into the lake on the right, which follows the dog-leg to the right all the way to the green. Then on Hole 7, a par 4 dubbed “Grand Canyon” will see you hitting downhill over canyon and water hazard.
On Sonnenalp’s Halfway House, the par-4 10th, golfers will face a stream to hit over, and a fairway that narrows on both sides with trees closing in. If you make it past that, your approach shot will have to carry a pond on the left side in front of the green, which is also flanked by two bunkers. Hole 13, a par 3 called “S’Insele”, is another top challenge with the green almost surrounded by water.
The manager says:
On Sonnenalp: “The ambitious golfer will be challenged by doglegs, ingrown ponds, small streams, bunkers and tricky greens that need technical skill, while the less ambitious golfer can enjoy the fair course at the same time.”
On Oberallgäu: “The championship course was designed by the renowned golf course architect Kurt Rossknecht. A round of golf here, with a breathtaking 360° panoramic view, is a special experience. Oberallgäu is set against the picturesque scenery of the Nebelhorn and is considered one of the most charming Alpine courses in Germany. The fairways are harmoniously integrated into the beautiful landscape with its old stock of trees. The undulating fairways are indeed challenging.”
Hanspeter Schratt, Manager of the Golf Resort Sonnenalp-Oberallgäu
The resort experience:
Expect five-star service at the Sonnenalp Hotel, a resort that started operations as a lodge in 1919 by Ludwig and Resi Fässler. The property has stayed in the family for four generations (currently managed by Anna-Maria and Michael Fäßler) and aims to bring that family warmth to its service. The spa and wellness center is set out over 10,000 square meters (107,639 square feet) with ample facilities.
With three bars, multiple lounges, two libraries and a concert room that features bands playing everything from jazz to Bavarian folk for guests, the resort offers plenty of places to relax.
It also has the world’s best whirlpool, according to Ulrich Mayring: “The destination offers anything you expect from a top mountain resort.”
Sonnenalp Hotel won the Diners Club Award for European Resort of the Year in 2012 and TopHotel Award – ‘Edutainment’ in 2016 for its educational and entertaining activities for children (see activities) amongst many other plaudits.
Dine and wine:
The Sonnenalp’s Michelin-star restaurant Silberdistel is located at the top of the main building. Enjoy great views of the Allgäu Mountains as you dine on nine courses of gourmet food. The main dining restaurant in the center of the building is good for breakfast and buffet lunch. Or you can opt for barbecue, steaks and burgers at Fäßlers Grillstube.
The Waldhaus and Seehaus clubhouses each feature a restaurant you can settle into after a round. The former has a classic wooded Alpine lodge feel while the latter is built in a Allgäu country-house style. The chefs use local produce to prepare Bavarian and German dishes. Watch out for the cakes, which are baked on site, and enjoy the Alpine view as you dig in. There’s also a day restaurant in the spa called Seepferdl where you can eat light meals in your bathrobe.
The accommodation: Seven different room types are on offer – 218 in total – to match your budget and the size of your group. It starts with the compact EZ Comfort & Deluxe for single travelers happy to fit into 13 square meters (140 square feet). There is a modern and fresh look about these rooms. At the other end of the scale, you can retire to your own Alpine chalet. Within the 142 square meters (1528 square feet) on offer you’ll find two bedrooms, a luxury bathroom and a fire place to cozy up to. These Berghirsch apartments are dog-friendly to the point of having a dog mini-bar with treats. Woof!
Other activities: The spa and wellness center provides everything from anti-ageing cosmetic treatments and massages for couples to physiotherapy and traditional Ayurveda treatments. But Sonnenalp’s differentiating strength is its focus on keeping kids happy during the German holiday season. There are over 70 activities for children of all ages to throw themselves into – many aim to educate youngsters about sustainability, wildlife and the environment. They might enjoy horse riding, water skiing, canyoning, ziplining up to 120 km/h (75 miles/h) down the Alpspitzkick, ballooning over the mountains, and even tandem paragliding! Then the little people can chill out in the children’s cinema or take a theatre workshop after that. How completely cool.