Stensballegaard Golf Club

Denmark, Aarhus
5.3 (3)
Designer: Rick Baril
Course Opened: 2008

A golf club with great potential, Stensballegaard occupies an interesting piece of land outside the town of Horsens, and overlooking the Horsens fjord inlet. The developers of the club were a local Count and Countess, who had no interest in continuing to farm pigs on their expansive estate and instead decided to convert the land into golf. They hired American designer Rick Baril, who set about creating three sets of nines that start from and return to an old manor house.

Each of the nines stretches initially toward the fjord, with the Brakor Course getting closest to the water and the Guldbjerg Nine climbing highest into the surrounding hills. The final nine, Elbaek, plays mostly across the southern land and also gets a little steep in places.

Like elsewhere in Denmark, Stensballegaard’s problems begin with the amount of golf cut across its relatively bleak landscape. An 18-hole test using the best land alone would have made most sense here, as each nine is compromised in some way and the effort required to get back to the clubhouse three times left little room for sideways design.

Of the nines the biggest routing concern relates to the higher Guldbjerg holes, which must have been at least as frustrating to build as they are to play. There are a couple of beautiful par threes on this side, but the layout is seriously let down by a torturous walk to play the steeply uphill and steeply sidehill short par four 7th. The momentary thrill of plunging 100+ feet down the 9th fairway small consolation for the fact you climbed so far, so quickly, in the first place.

Better are the Brakor and Elbaek nines, which are best recommended for their pleasant coastal views, effective use of native grasses and rugged bunkering and a couple of good shortish par fours. The downhill par three Elbaek 8th is also quite effective.

Overall, Stensballegaard is a nice club and an enjoyable place to golf for those who don’t ponder too seriously how much better it might have been with fewer holes.


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