Oct 11th, 2017
Eichenheim Golf Club is hitting new heights
In the Austrian Alps
The Austrian Alps have always been synonymous with skiing, yet golf is now proving to be a genuine rival to that long-standing position thanks to boasting five top courses that all enjoy the breath-taking Alpine views.
And the Kyle Phillips-designed Eichenheim Golf Club beneath the rugged Wilder Kaiser mountains is without doubt the jewel in the crown of this picture-postcard Tyrol region.
The golf here is unrivalled anywhere else in the world and the Golf & Spa Resort Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel is the ultimate in luxury and was chosen to be the setting for the Million Dollar Hole in One (MDHIO) grand final last month when three golfers from across the world – Marissa L’Estrange, from Brisbane, Australia, Jose Pinto Da Silva, from Lisbon, Portugal and Merja Salminen from Sipoo, Finland – had the chance to shoot for a life-changing $1million on the 150-yard par-three second hole.
None of the trio managed the feat to land the prize pot, but the Alpine adventure saw former England strike ace Alan Shearer, who is an ambassador for MDHIO’s sister company Million Dollar Club, join the finalists.
Shearer, a three-time Golden boot winner and now a keen golfer, was full of praise for the resort, and said: "The course is absolutely superb and the resort is just incredible. It was a fantastic event in an amazing place. I was just sad I was unable to play the course myself as I am recovering from an arm injury."
MDHIO, which has been running since 1990 in the USA and since 2000 in Europe, has steadily grown in popularity over the years. More than 50,000 people each year try their luck at the various par-3 holes at the 40 associated courses across Portugal, mainland Spain, Majorca and the UK.
The final was held in Las Vegas every other year and is now hosted at other top venues across the world every alternative season with Eichenheim, which played host to the PGA Challenge Tour's Austrian Championship, proving to be the ideal venue this time around.
The views are as spectacular as you would imagine, but the signature hole is probably the incredibly tricky short par-4 ninth, which has out of bounds on both sides, water guarding the left side of the green and large overhanging trees on the right.
Although the back nine of this par-71 layout descends into the valley floor and is slightly less physically demanding, there are several beautifully-designed holes, including the 391m par-4 11th, which is an uphill slight dog-leg to an elevated green.
The Eichenheim course, which opened in 2000, finishes with another real stamina-sapping uphill par-4 dog-leg – out of bounds to the right – to an elevated green protected in front by seven daunting bunkers.
Golf & Spa Resort Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel, situated an hour from Salzburg airport, was voted Luxury Golf Hotel of the year 2017 in the Luxury Travel Guide awards and boasts an array of top-quality facilities such as the Grand Alps SPA, indoor/outdoor swimming, six different saunas and 13 treatment rooms.
The accommodation options are superb with 81 spacious rooms and suites, including the 300sqm Presidential Suite, two hotel restaurants, a couple of bars and three sun terraces offering panoramic views over the Tyrolean alps.
There is also a 30-bay driving range, golf school, practice bunkers and a putting green, while buggies are equipped with GPS to make the golfing experience even more enjoyable.