GC Altenhof: golfing in the park

Trees give golf courses a face: Whoever has played the 18 holes of the Golf Club Altenhof is impressed by the large solitary trees, which give the golf course in Schleswig-Holstein a special character. Built in the 1970s, the facility impresses above all with its parkland character. There is hardly a fairway that is not framed on both sides by lush trees and bushes.

Tree care is standard

When it comes to golf and nature , head greenkeeper Kai Schmuck quickly returns to the subject of trees. They determine the day-to-day maintenance of many of the fairways: “With many greens, it is a matter of coping with the shade of the tall trees. In addition, the necessary airflow is often missing,” is his experience. Balancing the preservation of the giant trees and a good playing quality of the greens is the biggest challenge here.

According to Schmuck, the Golf Club Gut Altenhof “depends a lot on biological agents. For example, we work a lot with plant strengtheners here,” he explains the approach. Tree pruning in winter, foliage work and ensuring road safety are issues that play a particularly important role here. The discussion about the preservation of trees is omnipresent, with a tree register helping to monitor the development of the stock over the years.

As part of Golf & Natur in the Schleswig-Holstein Golf Association , the Golf Club Gut Altenhof has also pushed the planting of flowering meadows. With a size of 85 hectares, there is still enough space on the golf course away from the tree areas for the installation of high-quality meadows, which should ultimately ensure more biodiversity on the course.

Climate change brings changes in greenkeeping

The challenges that climate change poses to the golf course have changed. “We actually only have two seasons here now,” sums up Schmuck. “Autumn and winter are largely gone. We’re playing a lot longer now than we used to. That ended in October.” Unlike ten years ago, Schmuck now has to mow the greens and fairways in winter too. “The grass grows much longer, and the mild climate has also increased the susceptibility to fungus,” he notes.

Fortunately, Schmuck has not yet noticed any problems with excessive drought, especially in the area of the solitary trees. The preservation of the park landscape is his top priority. It is the trademark of GC Altenhof – and it should stay that way.