Konken: Tee off at fun farm golf course
The best bar games are simple. The woozy atmosphere of a tavern, pub or gasthaus is not the setting for strategy or deep concentration. Nestled in a noisy fog of smoke, alcohol and fried food, patrons generally prefer to clack billiard balls into pockets, aim pointy projectiles at targets and carom pingpong balls into cups.
The ingenious sport of farm golf fits this straightforward tradition perfectly. It’s golf, but with a soccer ball.
This outdoor take on fun, simple bar pastimes is accessible to residents of the Kaiserslautern Military Community at Heuhotel Schanz Rundwieserhof in Konken, Germany, a village in the verdant countryside between Baumholder and Ramstein.
When the gasthaus is open, so too is the course. Overnight guests and diners visiting the gasthaus need only pay a small fee, gather equipment from its friendly proprietors and wander into an adjacent field to start a round.
Players are given a ball and a kitschy wooden club with a clog on the end, though one may also choose to skip the club and simply kick the ball. Using the club is certainly the more challenging of the two options, as any attempts at distance increase the odds of a slice into the thick grass on either side of the fairway.
With your weapon chosen, it’s time to tee off. Place your ball and send it flying down the first fairway in the direction of the pin. As you approach the hole, you’ll note that it is, in fact, a plastic bucket dug into the ground, its dimensions crafting a snug but reasonable fit for the soccer ball.
With that task complete, retrieve your ball and move on. There are no marked tee boxes; it’s an imprecise system, but functional enough.
The meandering field that houses the course won’t take you far from the gasthaus. There is nothing spectacular in the surrounding scenery, but there is an agrarian appeal to the vistas of grazing cows, distant villages and hypnotic windmills among endless fields of green. As you venture deeper into the course, the sense of immersion in this idyllic scene grows stronger, marred only by the mild challenge at hand — or, perhaps, at foot.
The holes get mildly more complex as the 18-hole course proceeds, incorporating sharp doglegs, long straightaways and obstacles both natural and man-made. Often the hole itself is obscured by such trappings.
One infuriating hole is perched between two craggy trees atop a mound of unforgiving turf. Another requires players to roll their ball into a huge tire via a mound of gravel that seems too short for the job. But the course’s rough edges are part of the quirky charm. If these imperfections bother you, here’s some simple advice: Take a break from your round of golf, head back across the street and have another round of drinks.
It’s just a game, after all. And like any good bar game, it’s best when kept simple.
Directions Address: Rundwieserhof, 66871 Konken, Germany
Times The course is open when the gasthaus is; that’s starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and from 11 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. Call to book the course outside of those regular hours.
Costs An 18-hole round costs 4.50 euros for adults and 3.50 euros for ages 13 and under.
Food The course is attached to a thriving gasthaus; classic German food and drink are served and poured generously.
Information A German-only website can be found at www.heuhotel-schanz.de; call 06384-5140415 or email email@example.com.