In Most of Europe You Either Need a Golf Teaching License or a Low Handicap to Play Golf.
You must complete an 18-hole course in a maximum of 108 or a license will not be granted and you won’t be allowed to play. For many amateur golfers that’s incredibly difficult.
To play golf in Germany, most golfers must possess a license called a “Platzreife” before they can get on the green. To get a license, you can expect to pay at least $300 for a five-day course that involves several hours of training each day. Then you must pass a series of tests.
The “Platzreife” is a legal requirement to play golf in Germany, instituted over 40 years ago. No other country in Europe requires such a license, but most of Europe’s courses require a certain handicap. German golfing associations say it is necessary to prevent unskilled players from holding up the games of others. Germany has no courses open to all, like the public ones in the U.S. So, the “Platzreife” is a way to control who gets to play.
It’s a Rigorous Process
The “ Platzreife” requirement is rigorous and consists of two parts—a written test and a hands-on test. The hands-on test takes you out on a golf course where you must prove your driving, putting, and chipping skills, and then you join a pro to play 18 holes of golf with a maximum of 108 strokes.
The written test checks your proficiency on the rules of golf and etiquette on the course. If you miss six questions out of the 30, you’ve failed. Of course, the test is in German. The Germans instituted these rules to keep hackers from slowing up play for others. Some players, however, think the “Platzreife” is a method to preserve golf for the elite. Getting it requires a considerable sum when you add up the training fees, hotel costs, and equipment.
Make Sure You Have Your Handicap Card if You Plan to Play Golf in Germany
German courses will allow foreign visitors to play but usually only if they can produce a handicap card from their home club. German clubs have been known to turn away foreign golfers because they couldn’t prove their level of skill.
Germans have found a way around the strict system by going on golf holidays to other countries like Italy, Austria, or Switzerland where passing the tests is usually easier than in Germany. The training courses almost always end with the golfer getting a “Platzreife,” a practice that German golf associations abhor.
Some German golfers are trying to remove the “Platzreife” requirement for playing on German golf courses, especially golf course developers who want to grow the sport in Germany but it’s not clear if they will be successful in overturning the law.
In the meantime, remember to bring proof of your handicap, along with your clubs and shoes, for golfing in Germany. The same holds true for most European courses.
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The International PGA offers current and past teaching professionals the opportunity to belong to a global body of professional golfers. Our mission is to promote career development and act as one voice for individual professionals from every golfing nation. International PGA members are recognized and respected worldwide by both the public and golf management within the industry.
We offer benefits available only to our members. One of the benefits our members like most is the ability to play golf courses worldwide at some kind of discount—sometimes even free—when they show their membership card.
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