Golf: The rapid upswing of German golf

Dhe German professional golf has experienced an unexpected upswing in the recent past. Within a year there were four victories on the DPWorld Tour by Max Kiefer, Yannik Paul, Marcel Siem and Nick Bachem. In the women’s race, Patricia Isabel Schmidt just this Sunday in Belgium celebrated a double victory ahead of Chiara Noja on the Ladies European Tour. The only 17-year-old Noja had already won a tournament last year.

There are now three major tournaments in Germany in June. In an interview, Jörg Schlockermann, who is responsible for golf development on the board of the German Golf Association, explains the reasons for the boom.

WELT: Mr. Schlockermann, is Germany better than ever?

Jörg Schlockermann: In terms of breadth, we have never been as strong as we are now. Of course we already had the number one in the world with Martin Kaymer and Bernhard Langer has won the Masters twice, but now we have 19 men and 16 women on the top pro tours. With Esther Henseleit, Isi Gabsa, Polly Mack and Aline Krauter, four players are currently playing on the LPGA Tour. Caroline Masson has just had her child, Sophia Popov will soon be there, and they both usually have the card for the LPGA. We also have two men on the PGA Tour in Matthias Schmid and Stefan Jäger. Everyone else is on the Ladies European Tour or DPWorld Tour. Now, of course, one can discuss the significance of the DPWorld Tour. The prize money is a bit lower than in the USA, but it’s number 1 in Europe. Overall, we already have a huge troupe, which is also very successful at the moment. Yannik Paul is about to join the Rydercup team. We definitely have players who are able to keep up at the front.

also read

Aging healthy through fasting

WELT: Where does the sudden success come from?

Schlockermann: The media usually focuses on the pros, but we’ve been the most successful European team in amateur sport for three or four years. And we firmly believe that this is far from the end. Also because we are now reaping the fruits of Vision Gold, our competitive sports structural reform that we started ten years ago.

WELT: That’s when golf became Olympic.

Schlockermann: The moment when golf became Olympic again was a real spark. With Vision Gold, the DGV involved the clubs more closely in the concept, as did the state associations. The results are the current successes. A key goal is of course to win a medal at the Olympic Games as soon as possible.

Jörg Schlockermann

Jörg Schlockermann

Source: pa/DGV/dpa-tmn

WELT: How have the structures changed since then?

Schlockermann: Ten years ago, for example, we founded the German golf league with the first Bundesliga at the top. Germany’s top players regularly play against each other at the highest level. In this way, they also push each other. That didn’t exist before. The golf federation was exclusively responsible for the amateurs until the return to the Olympic family, but that has since changed and obviously has positive effects. The transition from amateur to professional in particular is very closely supported financially by us, for example with travel expenses.

WELT: In the golf business worth millions, does the association provide financial support to professionals?

Schlockermann: Absolute top professionals can earn millions. But in the beginning it is difficult for most. You need a caddy, the trips, coaches, it all costs money. You can think of it like BAföG. If you are successful, you give something back later. But that’s not the focus. It is important to us that athletes first arrive well and feel reasonably comfortable. Since March, Stephan Morales has been responsible for the women and Ulrich Eckhardt for the men as national coaches only for the professionals. This is extremely important.

WELT: How come?

Schlockermann: As a new pro you are thrown into a shark tank. It’s really good when someone stands by your side and supports you. Among other things, the coaches are there for exactly this amateur/professional interface. With their experience and their contacts, they can be contact persons as trainers, psychologists or organizers. Some of the active players also do not have a permanent coach with whom they can exchange ideas. In the beginning, the prize money, if there is any, is usually small. A private coach or a fixed caddy are expensive. If there is a national coach who is also available to you and takes on this job, then that is exactly what we need at this point.

Yannik Paul last played like Stefan Jäger at the US Open

Yannik Paul last played like Stefan Jäger at the US Open

Quelle: Getty Images via AFP/ANDY LYONS

WELT: Are the players not mature enough when they go to the pros?

Schlockermann: As soon as they come on tour, another life begins. First of all you are alone. Your competitors, especially women, see you as an opponent. In the USA, the international players don’t wait for someone to come from Germany. You have to assert yourself first. The others don’t even notice you. Our players come from a rather sheltered, family environment from amateur sports, where you also go out for a drink together in the evening. Suddenly you’re in an environment where they’re not being nice to you anymore. That’s a huge step. We know from many conversations that loneliness at the beginning is a problem for many, especially in the USA.

WELT: But the professionals first have to work their way up to the top tours.

Schlockermann: A very important prerequisite is that we now also have our own professional golf tournament on the European Tour for women near Berlin and the Challenge Tour tournament in Wittelsbach for men. This is the second division of professionals. This gives us more starting places for our offspring. We let foreign players play with us and in return we get places in other tournaments. That means we can gain experience for players at a higher level. Yannik Paul is a clear example of this. Suddenly he was able to play in international tournaments and through good performances he secured a ticket for the DP World Tour. Young people can simply take off there. This is a structural advantage that we have developed over the past ten years.

WELT: So far we’ve talked about top-class sport, but the talent has to come from somewhere.

Schlockermann: We have had the “Abschlag Schule” initiative since 1999. Here, the DGV and the golf clubs bring sport into schools. Because it is often a long way to the golf courses, we organize the transport, which we also pay for. Around one million euros is invested there every year. On average, more than 13,000 students take part in 870 projects every year. This is a very important factor that we use to bring children to the course whose parents or family do not play golf themselves. There are always talents who took off there and now play at a high level in the different squads. Golf has recently succeeded in growing, especially among young target groups.

also read

Victory in a Hawaiian shirt: Marcel Siem at the Indian Open

WELT: Golf is still considered an expensive sport.

Schlockermann: That has been put into perspective in recent years. As a child, you usually don’t pay a membership fee, you often get a racquet and can take part in youth training. It’s the same for almost every club. If a child proves to be talented, there is individual and team training available at no additional cost. That’s well organized. If you are in the squad, the association does a lot. In the end, however, as in any sport, it is difficult to get to the top without the support of the parents.

WELT: Now the most important tournaments in Germany are coming up: the Porsche European Open, the Amundi German Masters and the BMW International Open. What do you expect?

Schlockermann: Recently, our athletes have been very successful, winning tournaments and setting an exclamation mark in the USA. It would certainly be asking too much to expect victories every weekend, but the chances are there, and the fact that Germans can be seen again and again in the live broadcasts of the tournaments because they play at the front is great for golf and gives them hope Future.

Three tournaments on German soil in June

Porsche European Open: This Thursday to Sunday, the DPWorld Tour is visiting the extremely demanding Green Eagle Golf Course in Winsen an der Luhe just outside Hamburg. Around 20 German professionals are at the start, including all four tournament winners of the past few months, as Max Kieffer, Yannick Paul, Nick Bachem and Marcel Siem.

Amundi German Masters: The largest women’s golf tournament on German soil will take place for the second time after last year’s premier from June 15th to 18th on the Südplatz in Seddin near Berlin. A number of European and German top players are at the start, including the only 17-year-old shooting star Chiara Noja (photo above).

BMW International Open: The traditional tournament on the DPWorld Tour concludes the event. The game will be played from June 21st to 25th in Munich Eichenried. In addition to the German elite, European top stars such as the Danish Hojgaard twins Nicolai and Rasmus are also at the start.

The Amundi German Masters will be held in the Golf and Country Club Seddiner See

The Amundi German Masters will be held in the Golf and Country Club Seddiner See

Source: pa/Moritz Vennemann


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *