Floodlights prompt surge at German club

Germany 2

Golfclub Residenz Rothenbach is already reaping the benefits of becoming the first fully floodlit nine-hole course in Germany, barely two months after opening.​

The club, close to the border with the Netherlands in western Germany, has reported four times as many green fees in October and November compared to 2019, thanks largely to having a tee sheet that extends until 10pm every evening.

Based in an area where 13 other nearby golf clubs vie for business, Residenz Rothenbach was recently bought by local entrepreneur Eduard Müllenbruch and his daughter Miriam, who knew radical change was needed to retain existing members and attract new ones.

As well as modernizing the course’s irrigation system and revamping the restaurant, the Müllenbruchs wanted to create something unique. 

Floodlit courses are popular in the Middle East and Thailand, but are rare in Europe with two in the Netherlands and one each in Turkey, Portugal and Spain. Most are nine holes or fewer, and often feature just par-3 holes.

“An expansion to 18 holes would also have been conceivable, but that just doesn't create a USP,” Eduard told Golfmanager.

“In total, our investment in the floodlight system was around €560,000 (about a fifth of the total investment). Our goal is to be operationally profitable with the golf course in about two years.”

Members can play under the floodlights at no extra cost, guests pay a 15 euros surcharge for nine holes, and discounts and price reductions will be significantly limited in order to regain pricing sovereignty.

Sustainability and ecology have been important in the development. The nine narrow fairways are lined on both sides by dense trees, and 88 poles equipped with around 600 LED spotlights emit insect-tolerant light.

A storage system is currently being prepared which will enable the floodlights to be powered by solar energy, and the lights go off on holes not in use.

“Before teeing off, the players press a buzzer, then they have 15 minutes of floodlight on the course before the lights turn off,” explains club manager Sascha Kreuzberg.

Residenz Rothenbach, like many organizations in the golf industry this year, has shaken up its offering.