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Hiking golf

3 slightly different golf courses

“Come on, we’re off to play golf today!“ I announce happily at breakfast and receive disbelieving looks from my husband and two children in return. “Golf?“ my husband repeats and adds, “We don’t have a handicap and… chasing a little white ball for hours….well I don’t know if I would enjoy that! Let’s go for a hike in the Salzburger Saalachtal instead.“

  Laughing, I explain to my family that that is exactly what I have planned and they should trust me a bit. “Come on, time for an adventure! I promise you that we’ll have lots of fun today“, I say and we lace up our hiking boots. There are three different wander golf courses in Lofer, St. Martin and Weißbach and the equipment can be hired free of charge from the respective tourist information offices. In the game pass all of the stations are marked so you can’t get lost. Relieved, my husband bursts out laughing as he takes the club – a rustic wooden mallet – and the little wooden ball. The children are also very enthusiastic and listen attentively while I read the rules for wander golf from the game pass as we make our way to the first hole. I say to my eldest, “You are the secretary and must record the number of strokes in the game pass after each player’s turn.“ She takes the pass and pencil proudly with shining eyes. And to my son I say, “You are the referee. You make sure that everyone – especially Dad – follows the rules.“

Hole-in-One at the Millstone

We stroll happily alongside the lively, bubbling Saalach with our dog Wanda and head to our first station with our golf clubs on our shoulders and a couple of drinks and muesli bars in our bag. “A plough!“, the children laugh and say “We have to shoot the ball through the plough into the hole!“ Cheering each other on we try our luck. I have a few problems overcoming the obstacle but Dad reveals a surprising talent for golf. In just three strokes he hits the ball into the hole and eagerly says, “Come on, let’s go on to the millstone! And how do we play the herb spiral?“ I detect no trace of the scepticism from this morning and everyone chats excitedly about their new favourite sport. The short walk on a pretty path across a field to the next obstacle is soon over. I ask my children, “So, are the secretary and referee ready? Now Dad’s going to show you how to swing the club like a champion.“ Laughing, he stands in front of the millstone and sets his sights on the hole. With a loud crack the club makes contact with the ball and it rolls off purposefully in the direction of the millstone.

The ball seems to miss the hole by a hair’s breadth – we let out a disappointed “Ooooh“. But then the ball turns and rolls straight into the hole with a quiet plop! The whole of the Salzburger Saalachtal probably hears our cheering and laughing, we pat Dad on the back.

From the Mud Bath to the Hay Bath

The creative obstacles surprise us once again at the next stations, which are easily reached by short, pleasant strolls. There is the “hay bath“, the “tree trunk“ or the “milk churn“: The “mud bathtub“, the “wooden ski“ or the “chicken ladder“ also provide great fun and a sporting challenge. Every hole is perfectly integrated into the surrounding nature and the children are also becoming more competent from one stroke to the next. They perform their best thanks to cheering each other on but Dad still lies in front, not to be beaten.

Wander Golf is Addictive

At our last station I declare, “The winner has to pay for gigantic ice-creams for the whole group!“ Dad swings his golf club over his head like a light sabre and with a dark voice shouts, “The golf force is with me!“. Giggling, we putt our golf balls into the hole for the last time and Dad says, “Well, I’m the golf champion for the day and invite you all for an ice-cream. And if you have nothing against it, let’s put the next course to the test tomorrow!“ The children yell their agreement and after we have returned the clubs and balls, we head off for our icy reward. “Thank goodness there are four hiking golf routes in the Salzburger Saalachtal – I think I already know what we will be doing the day after tomorrow.“

Hiking golf in the Salzburger Saalachtal

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