Designed by local landscape architect Rolf-Stephan Hansen, Budersand is a fascinating high-end golf resort located near the southern tip of the upmarket German island of Sylt. Hansen was heavily involved in all aspects of this development. Not only did he provide the conceptual masterplan, he was central to the approvals process and helped source the funding necessary to build his course. That course sits on what was once a dilapidated army base, transformed by Hansen and his team into a very believable links golf experience.
Prior to construction commencing at Budersand, around 30 buildings were cleared from the Hörnum sand dunes, along with oil tanks, sewage and concrete structures and a number of abandoned ordnances. Apparently Allied forces bombed the area heavily during World War II. After the site was cleared the design team set about creating subtle links undulations to match the bigger native dunes. The work done to create the look required here was first-rate.
Despite his golfing inexperience, Hansen deserves credit at Budersand for the shaping of several greens and bunkers and the manner in which the dunes and the local fescues and heath grasses were put together. This is an authentic looking links, and the manufactured elements are often indistinguishable from the natural terrain. Among the better holes are beautiful par threes at the 8th, 13th and 15th, the latter with views straight out to sea. Individual pot bunkers and fun greens like the 3rd, 14th and 16th are also a standout, as is the general look and feel of the entire layout.
Ultimately, what keeps Budersand from the absolute top shelf are a handful of holes that don’t really work and the location of some of the fairway bunkering. Most features look right in isolation, but some parts of the course are better built than they are designed. These points aside, this modestly maintained links is such a refreshing find for this part of Europe and recommended as much for the fun of genuine, bouncy golf in the north of Germany as for the opportunity to visit this charming island.