Golfing Like A King
Finally, golf is being played in the Zugertal valley near Lech. It only took 40 years of planning and 24 different layouts.
Hole 7 is her favourite. Standing on a little hill, Kristl Moosbrugger hits the ball down towards the green. No wonder she loves this hole. You would have to cover your eyes to not fall for its most picturesque setting. The ball’s trajectory runs parallel to a little creek, a little waterfall babbles behind the tee box. But it’s not only hole number 7. Every single one of the other eight holes of the new golf course in Lech is perfectly nestled into the stunning landscape of the Zugertal valley as well.
Everyone knows Kristl Moosbrugger here at the golf course. Everyone greets her, she gives out advice, talks shop with other players. Moosbrugger is the club’s vice president and one of the people who had the tenacity and commitment to bring this place to life. Moreover, she is the senior lady of the house at Hotel Post in Lech and the first woman to be awarded the “Hotelier of the Year” award. And she is someone who thinks outside the box, looks at the wider picture. Therefore, she knows that a golf course is not only for the stereotypical golf enthusiast but for every man and every woman, a place of social interaction for locals and guests alike.
Mrs Moosbrugger, is it true that the idea of a golf course here in Lech was born already in 1976?
Kristl Moosbrugger: Yes. And it really took us 40 years to finally realise it. My husband had been to the States when he was young and realised that golf really is a potential sport for the masses. Already back then, he, Paul Pfefferkorn and Peter Burger commissioned plans for a 18-hole course but it was impossible to get the required lots and so the plans fell through. Still the idea was always in our heads, even after my husband passed away. But although there were always people who backed it, no one could really push it through.
What was the main problem?
Kristl Moosbrugger: One problem was getting the lots we needed. Also, many argued that a golf course would do damage to the nature around here.
But eventually it all worked out.
Kristl Moosbrugger: Yes, and this is mainly thanks to Clemens Walch (editor’s note: the founder and president of the golf club) who has always held on to the idea despite all obstacles and backlashes. In the end it always comes down to finding compromises and mutual understanding. We really made an effort in touching as little of the surroundings as possible and take really good care of the nature around us. That was in our own interest as well. Nothing was altered in the terrain, no banking, no levelling, so the golf course would not stand out from its surroundings. We all appreciate what we have around here, we love our nature, care for it, look after it. I myself don’t like it when a building looks completely out of place around here.
What is the importance of a golf course for a place like Lech?
Kristl Moosbrugger: Well, up until 1971 or 1972, we had fantastic summer seasons here in Lech. Then the oil crisis hit us, and at the same time many of our German guests realised that there are a lot of nice places outside the German-speaking world, and they started to spend more and more of their holidays there. Up until that time, all you had to care for as a host was good food, nice staff and clean rooms. But then you had to offer more and more activities for guests. Still, summer guests were mainly seen as “hiking people”.
And doesn’t that reflect reality?
Kristl Moosbrugger: Well, I for my part – and many others - think that hiking and golfing go together very well and that there are a lot of guests who like to do both. In many other classic holiday destinations, say in Southern Europe, however, it is often too hot for any kind of activity during the day. You spend your days lying around and at night you still can’t sleep. But up here, even in a really hot summer, you feel like a king day and night.
So the main reason for building the golf course was to attract guests?
Kristl Moosbrugger: No, absolutely not. It adds a lot to the quality of life for locals as well. Many of them come here for a round of golf after work and spend the evening at the clubhouse, meeting new people and making new friends. I am convinced that the golf course is of great value to the whole community in Lech.
And, finally, what makes the course in Zugertal valley so special?
Kristl Moosbrugger: A golf course can only be as good as its holes. It’s the same in skiing, you don’t want flat slopes all the time. Many golf courses consist of plain lawns only. So all you play is this lawn, then that lawn, this lawn again and then the next lawn. You don’t even know whether you are playing hole five or seven. Here, every hole is different. One is on the left side of the river, the next on the right and so on. You have to get to know the place and play tactical. All this makes playing here incredibly fascinating.
Interview: Matthias Köb // friendship.is
Photos: Florian Lechner // friendship.is
Sept. 20, 2017