Esbjerg Golf Club: Award-winning golf in the heart of Denmark’s largest national park


Destination Golf Global Editor, Peter Ellegard, takes a look at Esbjerg Golf Club, winner of Denmark’s Best Golf Course 2019 by the World Golf Awards.

The third oldest golf club in Denmark, Esbjerg Golf Club celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. Esbjerg Golf Club has two 18-hole courses: the Marbæk Course and the Myrtue Course – the fourth and fifth courses in the club’s history. Having been established in 1921, the golf club moved to its present location in the Marbæk plantation, in Wadden Sea National Park, in 1975 when the Marbæk Course opened.

The famous Marbæk Course is recognised by golfers far beyond Denmark’s borders. Not least because it is a true championship course that has hosted several big tournaments, including four European Championships, two Challenge Tour events and, recently, events on the Nordic Golf League, Scandinavia’s third-level tour. The course record is 64, shot in 1995 by Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who captained Europe’s Ryder Cup team to victory at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

Having consistently ranked among the best courses in Denmark, the Marbæk Course was named “Denmark’s Best Golf Course” at the World Golf Awards in 2019 – an award for which it has just been nominated again for 2020. The course was designed by Frederik Dreyer and features characteristics including heather, mounds and hollows, and fast greens.

The Myrtue Course offers varied holes with a lot of opportunities for beginners as well as seasoned players to challenge themselves.

Both courses are challenging, regardless of golfers’ levels, and they offer scenic surroundings and enjoyable golfing experiences for everyone. Esbjerg Golf Club’s skilled greenkeeping staff ensure that both golf courses are maintained to the highest quality; indeed, head greenkeeper Morten Terkelsen was named “Greenkeeper of the Year” by the Danish Greenkeeper Association in 2019.

Furthermore, Esbjerg Golf Club has a large driving range where it is possible to practice on both mats and grass. The practice facilities also include three pitching areas, a putting green and a beautiful par-3 course. One of the pitching areas is the former 9th hole on the Myrtue Course, a par-3 hole that was closed when the Myrtue Course was expanded from nine to 18 holes. It offers golfers the possibility to practise long pitch shots.

Esbjerg Golf Club has a partnership with Hjerting Badehotel, located around seven kilometres from the club in the Esbjerg suburb of Hjerting. The golf club can help guests with package deals including golf and overnight accommodation.

The golf club is easy to access for visitors, being situated around 17 kilometres from Esbjerg city centre and around 61 kilometres from Billund Airport. It offers golfing guests help with arranging transport from the airport.

The Marbæk Course and clubhouse were opened in May 1975. The par-71 course is laid out over approximately 70 hectares in the north-western part of the Marbæk plantation, an area is owned by Esbjerg Municipality. The course was designed by Frederik Dreyer, who was tasked with designing a golf course of international calibre.

The aim was to create a golf course that was both a challenge for the elite player and a fair test for the regular club golfer. One innovation was having four teeing grounds on each hole. Another was making the greens both very big and severely undulating. As an example, the 18th green originally spanned 1,600 square metres before being slightly reduced in size by adding two greenside bunkers.

Today, the Marbæk Course appears pretty much as it was when it first opened. Adjustments have been made over the years on some holes, however. Most noticeable is the reshaping of the greens on the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes. The lake by the green on the par-5 4th has also been added. On a few holes, bunkers have been added or removed.

With its location near the coast and fairly open setting, the strong westerly wind has free rein, which can make the course a particularly tough challenge, especially from the back tees.

When the number of members approached 1,000 in the late 1980s, it was decided to expand the layout with a further nine holes to prevent the course from being overcrowded. The additional course was also designed by Frederik Dreyer.

When that course opened with nine holes in June 1993, the original course was given the name Marbæk and the new course was named Myrtue.

In 2008, the Myrtue Course was expanded with another nine holes, giving Esbjerg Golf Club two 18-hole, high quality golf courses.

Esbjerg Golf Club’s six-hole, par-3 practice course was also designed as a true golf course.

A meeting was held on 2 March, 1921, at the Paladshotellet in Esbjerg, seeking to form a golf club. After it became apparent that a sufficient number of members had already put their names down, it was decided to found Esbjerg Golf Club.

The first golf course was laid out with nine relatively-short holes on a leased field and meadow area in Måde, on the southern outskirts of the town near the beach. The course was traversed by numerous streams and, with very sparse vegetation, it was almost links-like in character. The fact that the course was largely maintained using grazing cattle gives a vivid impression of its conditions. The cattle made mowing machines almost unnecessary. The course was even characterised by an unusually good turf. On the other hand, however, a local rule applied that the golf ball could be dropped without penalty when it landed in a cowpat!

Esbjerg Golf Club’s clubhouse is a modern building that blends beautifully into the nature of the Marbæk plantation with its turf roof. The clubhouse marks, in its own way, that this is a place where everyone who likes the special atmosphere in Esbjerg Golf Club is welcome.

From the lobby, there is access to two big locker rooms with shower cubicles. These are for the use of both members and guests. Lockers with keys are available free of charge while guests are playing golf.

On the first floor lies Restaurant JC. Here, exquisite meals are served while diners enjoy the view of the Marbæk plantation from the restaurant’s bright and spacious facilities. Restaurant JC has a large outside terrace, which is an idyllic place to enjoy a cold beer or soft drink in the summer.

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