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A COURSE WITH AN ANCESTRY
Each hole on our course has its name and its story. We think you deserve more than to play on an anonymous golf course. At Kynžvart golf course, each hole has its ancestry.
Hole no. 1 - THE BRIDGE
A major hazard awaits players here in the form of a pond and dense reeds. It a good idea to calm down before driving, maybe by taking a long look from the brick bridge with cast ironwork which gives the hole its name. The material was manufactured in Metternich's ironworks in Plasy. Founded by the Prince in 1827‒29, the ironworks manufactured for a variety of uses. Other products of the Plasy ironworks can be found throughout the park. Examples include Ferdinand's monument near the Pascalina hole and a statue of the Greek goddess Artemis, daugher of Zeus and Leto and Apollo's sister. The statue is cast a copy of the best-known preserved statue of Artemis in Versailles. The goddess is seen plucking an arrow out of her quiver, maybe to protect a doe from hunters.
Hole no. 2 - THE BROOK
To the right of the hole flows a brook with a slightly reddish bed. This indicates the presence of iron in the water which comes to the brook from various local springs. There is no other area in the Czech Republic with so many mineral water springs as there are in the Slavkov Forest. 42 ouf of the 84 mineral water springs are exploited in Marienbad alone. But if you add springs in the town's neighbourhood, the number exceeds one hundred. Where did the springs come from? The Slavkov Forest is a geologically unique area due to a tectonic fault, which emerged during the final period of volcanic activity in the Tertiary. Its cracks and rifts allow precipitation to trickle into the depths where it is enriched with minerals before ascending to the surface. The more volcanic carbon dioxide the water aborbs, the more acidic it gets and the more it dissolves the bedrock, which varies considerably across the relatively small area of the Slavkov Forest, ranging from acid granites to alkaline amphibolites and ultrabasic serpentites. The result is a rich variety of mineral waters which differ from each other in temperature, gas content and dissolved substances, depending on particular conditions. From the point of view of beneficial effects on human health, the most important are mineral water springs that contain magnesium. This element is macerated from serpentine – a grey and green metamorphosed rock, interwoven with veinlets and spots, so that it resembles snake skin. Most of Slavkov Forest's acidic mineral waters originate close to the earth's surface, and are therefore rather cold, whereas Carlsbad's hot springs come from about 2km under ground and are less mineralized.
Tired of crowds in the spa colonnades? Discover mineral water springs in a village called Prameny ("Springs") perched on the plateau of the Slavkov Forest. There also used to be spa here, now in ruins. Out of several local springs, the Obecni pramen ("Municipal Spring") is available to public. It is located across the bridge, opposite the bus stop. And Farská mineral water springs only several kilometres away in the middle of the forest. Just follow path marked in blue.
Hole no. 3 - THE RAVINE
In bio-zones ("environmentally sensitive areas"), marked with yellow or red stakes with black stripes, entry and play are prohibited. If your ball happens to land into a bio-zone, you simply have to say good bye to. The balls are eventually "rescued" by greenkeepers who maintain the bio-zones once in a while. The exact dates for maintenance are dermined by the nature conservation authorities so that conditions for rare species of plants and animals remain intact. Why is play prohibited in bio-zones? Every golf course is necessarily a compromise between nature and humans. Golf Kynžvart is located in the Slavkov Forest, a protected natural area. That is why its construction was preceded by careful environmental research. Botanists discovered that a large part of the golf course (excluding the castle park) was covered with neglected meadows, where there was virtually nothing to protect. However, they discovered several rare species of plants in other parts of the future course, particularly in wetland. Zoologists discovered newts, lizards, toads, grass snakes, shrikes, dormice and other endangered animal species. Following an environmental review of the area of the future golf course, the decision was taken to leave sufficient undisturbed living space for these species. Golf Kynžvart thus proves that golf can be a "green" sport in more than one sense of the word.
Hole no. 4 - THE CHURCH
On this hole, you will drive in the direction of a church tower, which sticks out from behind the trees. Let's hope you'll have more luck during your play than St. Margaret's Church, to which the tower belongs. It has burned down twice. The first time was in 1506 when Kynžvar was defeated. It was ransacked and set on fire by the army of two powerful brothers, the Lords of Guttstein. Three years later a new church was built on the ruins of the former Gothic one. The second time the church burned down was on 15 August 1865. The whole eastern district was destroyed by the fire, including about 50 houses, the church, the townhall, the school and the presbytery. One of the few monuments to survive these fires fire is the gravestone of Jan Zedwitz, dating back to 1582. The Zedwitz family owned the Kynžvart domain until 1620 when their entire property was confiscated and assigned to five brothers of the Metternich-Winneburg family. The Metternich family held onto the castle until 1945.
Hole no. 5 - THE WHITE STONE
Stand at the tee and you'll see it to the right of the green. The beautiful, shining White Stone of Kynžvart. For years it served as a landmark and a venue for romantic encounters. In 1905 the rock still towered to the height of several metres and was also much wider. In the same year, a great part of the bright white rock was blasted away and processed in Heller glassworks in nearby Úbočí. Today the rock is about 2 metres high and 5 metres wide. What is it exactly? It is a quartz outpouring from a Tertiary fault which winds through the gneiss and granite rock all the way from Cheb to Stříbro. The fault is most evident on the southern slopes of the Slavkov Forest around Kynžvart Spa, particularly in the area of the current golf course. In the Bohemian Forest the quartz forms the "Bohemian Quartz Lode". The formations of the lode include the prominent silhouette of Přimda (849 m), which is visible from the hills above the course.
Hole no. 6 - THE WIND
This tee is the highest point of the entire golf course. It is usually windy here and in 80 percent of cases it's the northwest wind.
Wind is basically an air current caused by the rotation of the Earth (i.e. the movement of the Earth's atmosphere) and by differences in atmospheric pressure. Air blows from the valley up to the hills and then back to the valley. In our case, wind blows from Dyleň to the Tachov Furrow, where it runs into the southern slopes of the Slavkov Forest, gaining strength. If you slice, you will therefor slice even more. But if you have time, enjoy the wind. It flows from Bavaria, from a region with no heavy industry, and is therefore one of the cleanest air currents. It is also interesting that the wind subsides in the evening hours and the countryside is buried in silence.
Hole no. 7 - THE SPA
Ground your club and aim for the yellow and white building high up in the forest overlooking the town of Kynžvart. It is one of the many buildings of the local spa. While the history of the town dates back to the second half of the 13th century, when Přemysl Otakar II built the border castle of Kunigeswart on the rocky promontory (the ruin of the castle now overlooks the town), Kynžvart became a spa many years later, when the first mineral springs were discovered here. The remedial effects of the water are supported by the unique local conditions – the location is just above the level of ground fogs, with longer hours of sunlight thanks to its south-west orientation and a constant high air humidity caused by thick mixed forest. For more than a cenutry adults have come here for treatment (particularly of inflammation in the upper respiratory tract and skin conditions), but since 1950 the spa has been reserved for children only. To other visitors, Kynžvart offers the interesting architecture of the town and the unspoilt surrounding nature.
Hole no. 8 - GOETHE
Drive your ball to the fairway, or somewhat to the left to the small valley. When looking for the ball, you will notice a rocky overhang on the other side, with benches sculpted in the rock under it. Many luminaries used to sit on them, including the Prince of Poets, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. And he was not alone: he engaged in lengthy conversations with the beautiful and clever Ulrika von Levetzow of Třebívice in the Litoměřice region. All this despite the fact that Goethe was a 70-year-old widower and Ulrica was barely 18 years old. Young girls attracted the genius all his life. Already at a young age, he made his boring law studies in Leipzig more enjoyable with the company of an innkeeper's daughter Kitty, changing over to 16-year-old Frederike in Strassbourg. In the court of the Saxon-Weimar prince, Goethe enchanted young girls at wild parties and later fell desperately in love with 19-year-old Charlotte Buff, who was unfortunately engaged and adamantly virtuous. However, Goethe also fell in love with Charlotte von Stein, seven years his senior and a mother of seven, and at the same time to spent whole decades with one woman – Christiana Vulpius, who originally worked as a houswife in his home. The longevity of their relationship (which was confirmed by a wedding only after they had been together for 18 years !) was much supported by the fact that Christiana tolerated the poet's lovers, particularly during his trips to Czech spas. But there was one woman she did not tolerate at all ‒ writer Bettina von Arnim (incidentally also a character in Kundera's Immortality), who wanted to have the beloved poet exclusively for herself. Amorous relationships have greatly inspired Goethe, including the short and unconsummated ones. He wrote poems and erotic songs to his first loves and described vividly the rejection by Charlotte Buff in a loosely autobiographical novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. And without his late outburst of love for Ulrika, there would be no brilliant Marienbad Elegy, whose dramatic origin was later described by Stefan Zweig in his Decisive Moments in History.
Hole no. 9 - METTERNICH
This hole is named after the most famous member of the family who owned the Kynžvart domain from 1622 until 1945. His full name and title was Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar Prince Metternich-Winneburg-Ochsenhausen, Duke of Portella. For most people, he is only an indistinct symbol of times of political and social oppression, but the truth is (as it tends to be) more colourful. Above all, Prince Metternich was a great European (as he said about himself) and it was mainly thanks to his diplomatic and political efforts that there was a kind of "small Schengen" in the countries of the Austrian monarchy and neighbouring German states ‒ a free cross-border movement of people. He strove for improvement both at the abstract political level and in particular material places. It was thanks to him that the Kynžvart Castle was restored and extended to its current state. One of the reasons for the renovation was that Metternich wanted to use the castle (and did use it ) for meetings with foreign statesmen and politicians. One of the guests at Kynžvart was Russian tzar Alexander I, who is said to have brouth the seeds of "bolševník" with him (see Neighbourhood).
Hole no. 10 - THE OAKS
If you stand on the tee box, you'll see a group of four tall oak trees in front of you, on the left of the green. It is a kind of English oak, more precisely its pillar-shaped form. The trees were planted here in the first half of the 19th century when Viennese court gardener Riedl began creating an English park round the castle. Sensitive ground adaptation, careful thinning of original trees and planting of new ones were done in two stages. In the first, between 1820 and 1833, the park stretched beyond the brewery to the Empire tea house on one side and the obelisk on the other. Then, during the last three decades of the 19th century, the park was extended to the north in the direction to Kynžvart, and to the south up to the three ponds. At this point, it reached its current size, covering almost 300 hectars. The park is at its most beautiful in the autumn when hundreds of stately deciduous trees glow with a variety of colours. The beauty is so overwhelming that it can silence the complaints of the greenkeeper over the daily tide of fallen leaves. Kynžvart is simply not a bare links course.
Hole no. 11 - THE CROSS
A "Štolba's Cross" stands on the right, about a half way into the fairway. The Baroque stone pedestal from the year 1704 has the monogram "V.L.P." carved into it. A list of monuments from 1836 tells us that the second gospel used to be read here during the annual church procession from Kynžvart do Dolní Žandov. The cross was restored in 1994. From here there is a splendid view northeast towards the "White Stone" (see Hole no. 14) and towards the fringe of the Slavkov Forest (see Hole no. 6). When looking for a ball lost in the shrubbery, why not pause to remember that half a century ago people still looked for spiritual salvation on this spot.
Hole no. 12 - THE STAG
From mid September till mid October every year, majestic red deer stags rut on this beatiful green. It tends to be somewhat "improved" by them, but it is a great honour nonetheless that Bohemia's mightiest animals choose this as a venue for settling their disputes.
Only the red deer (Cervus elaphus) is native to the Slavkov Forest. In other areas of the of the Czech Republic you'll find the offspring of deer imported from all four corners of Europe, but these deep and inaccessible forests have remained the home of the legendary stags with their impressive antlers. Statistics reveal that a total of 240 first-rate stags were hunted here between 1954 and 2005. The majestic animals thrive in the area thanks to the interplay of several factors. The first is the vastness of the hunting grounds, including the forests owned by count Schönburg-Waldenburg. After they were confiscated, the Prameny military area was established, which, paradoxically, ensured the animals excellent conditions for reproduction. At the same time, the "Iron Curtain" along the border made it difficult for the Slavkov deer to migrate westwards. After the war the red deer only had to deal with competition from their Asian relatives, the sika deer (Cervus nippon, also known as the Japanese deer). These sika deer were imported into Europe at the turn of the 20th century where they adapted successfully. In our country, the sika deer were mostly kept in game preserves in the Pilsen region. However, after the war they escaped due to damaged fences and negligence. The first sika deer was hunted in the Slavkov Forest in 1963 and numbers have been rising ever since. The management of the Natural Protected Area claims that the numbers of sika deer have become excessive despite the fact that more than 160 animals are shot here every year.
Hole no. 13 - DYLEŇ
Throughout your time at hole no. 4, you will see the prominent silhouette of the Dylen mountain (or Tillenberg in German) on your left. Twenty years ago, there was still one of the strategic points of the Cold War on top of it. The 940m summit is only half a kilometre from the border with the then "hostile" West Germany and that is why the Czechoslovak Army placed a surveillance and tapping tower there. Designed to "guard socialism", the garrison monitored radio operations in almost the whole of Bavaria. The tower is now used as a normal radio transmitter. It's just a pity that it's not accessible as a look-out tower. However, the far view from Dyleň is worth climbing for its view anyway. You have to find your way to a rocky promontory some way short of the summit. Several hundred metres below, you can also find one of the several "geographic centres" of Europe. Tradition has it that in 1813 Napoleon Bonaparte's surveyors honoured Dyleň with this title. A stone column stands almost on the Czech-Bavarian frontier marking their decision. If you take your kids with you, it's worth bringing along a book called "Legends of the Dyleň Mountain" ("Pověsti hory Dyleň"), which is full of mysterious stories from the area.
Hole no. 14 - THE LAKE
This hole is located near a restored lake. The feature used to be there before the construction of the course, but succumbed to "infilling", a natural process whereby bodies of water become gradually clogged with organic residues (for instance, with fallen leaves) and overgrown with water plants and moss. Due to infilling, smaller lakes and ponds transform into peatbogs over the course of decades and centuries, and finally disappear altogether. The lake was revitalized during the construction of the course. Sediments were removed, the depth adjusted to the original level and the banks stabilized. This has enabled some endangered species of amphibians to return to the lake, which has in turn become an important element of the local environmen.
Hole no. 15 - IMPERIAL
During the round, you will see the majestic Slavkovsky Forest rising on your left. The original name of this mountain ridge was Kaiserwald (Imperial Forest) as it was the favoured hunting grounds of Emperor Charles IV. The current name Slavkov Forest appeared only after the war. The name refers to the town of Horní Slavkov, which is located roughly in the middle of the area. Unfortunately, some translators into German don't use the correct original German name Kaiserwald, but translate it literally (and incorrectly!) as Austerlitzerwald, referring to Slavkov (Austerlitz) in Moravia, where Napoleon won his greatest battle. After the expulsion of the original German population after World War II, dozens of villages in the area were levelled. The "Iron Curtain" meant the creation of a vast border area inaccessible to citizens and used for military manoeuvres. However, while this development wasn't favourable to people, paradoxically it helped nature – the Slavkov Forest is now the least populated and best preserved area of the Czech Republic. You can see it for yourself after the game ‒ set out for a trip to a charming place called Kladská (see Neighbourhood).
Hole no. 16 - THE SANDS
While playing this hole, look out for the bunker – it is the longest one in the country. Have you ever wondered why golfers are pestered with these unnatural sand traps? It's nobody's fault, it's a question of the historic development of golf. Back in the 14th century, Scottish shepherds played "cambuca" on the sea coast, which involved hitting pebbles with a curved stick so that they landed on a target. The best places for the game were pastures, where the grass was evenly grazed by the sheep and the pebbles ran smoothly across the surface. However, the animals and the constant wind from the sea created spots of naked sand – these emerged, for instance, in areas where the grass was eaten down to the roots or where the animals were hiding from rain or laying down to sleep. The wind then spread the sand, creating ever larger sand traps, and these later (and quite naturally) became a part of modern golf, like the water hazards.
Hole no. 17 - PASCALINA
When walking up to the eighth , you'll see a large erratic boulder with a white marble cross set into it. Under the cross, there is a Latin inscription saying: "With love and devotion, Antonia Pascalina, Comtesse von Waldstein und Wartenberg, born Princess von Metternich-Winneburg, 20 April 1862, died 5 August 1890." The story goes that she was torn to pieces by Great Danes set on her by her jealous husband. However, it's just a legend. The true story is that Princess Pascalina died from blood poisoning several days after giving birth. And she died elsewhere, in Duchov Castle. The legend seems to have been spread by another branch of the Metternich family who came into possession of the Kynžvart Castle a few years after her death. On the left, there is a 15-metre-tall obelisk. Its cornerstone was laid by Emperor Ferdinand V, who visited Kynžvart Castle soon after his appointment (i.e. after the death of his predecessor, Emperor Francis I). Ferdinand V was the first guest to stay in the recently completed guest rooms of the southern wing of the castle. The obelisk is dedicated to Emperor Francis I and the mound where it stands is also named after the Emperor – it is called "Mt. Francis". At the time, the mound offered a beatiful view of the castle and the neighbourhood. Now the view is blocked by trees which were planted here during the creation of the park.
Hole no. 18 - THE CASTLE
One should always be modest, as modesty is a noble quality. But when standing at the ninth tee, you can cast off any modesty and proudly say that this is one of the most beautiful holes in the Czech Republic. Wooded hillside on the right, a mill pond with an islet and a wooden cabin on the left, and a perfect example of the Vienna Classicism just in front of you – the castle, built by a distinguished architect Pietro Nobile.
A Renaissance fortress used to stand here from the late 16th century. The stone from the fortress was used for the construction of a Baroque castle less than 100 years later. Klement Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar von Metternich (whose family owned the area from 1623 till 1845) had the Baroque castle extended and rebuilt in the Vienna Classical style and had an English park planted around the castle. He borrowed some 900,000 guldens from the Rothschilds to finance the project. Most people associate Prince Metternich with "Metternich's absolutism" or with his possibly being the biological father of writer Božena Němcová, but it was Metternich who created a huge collection of works of art, coins, weapons and particularly books, in many cases hand-written manuscripts and incunabula, at Kynžvart Castle. You can have a look at Metternich's study with its folding table which was used during the Vienna Congress, the castle armoury and a cabinet of curiosities. This hole's green is placed just in front of the garden of the castle. Here important decisions concerning the fate of Europe were made. However, your golf fate will be decided at the next hole.