Golf with Franz Klammer

23rd September 2014, by Dave Watts

Olympic skier Klammer — who plays off a handicap of 7 at the age of 60 — tees off

Olympic skier Klammer — who plays off a handicap of 7 at the age of 60 — tees off

Franz Klammer won 25 World Cup downhill races (more than any other skier in history), plus the gold medal in the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck. He’s not bad at golf either, playing off a handicap of 7 at the age of 60. Every year he hosts a Wooden Spoon golf competition for ski and golf tour operators and journalists. Normally it is held in the UK shortly before the Ryder Cup. But this year it was in his home town and favourite ski resort of Bad Kleinkirchheim in Carinthia in Austria.

It was a wonderful event, set amid spectacular scenery at the foot of the mountain with a world cup run named after Klammer (aka the Kaiser). To say he is a local hero is an understatement. Everyone is in awe of him and his performances. But I won … the Wooden Spoon that is … as I scored fewest points according to our handicaps. I hasten to add that the Austrians amongst the players were allowed much higher handicaps than the British competitors – clearly unfair, of course.

We stayed at the 4-star hotel Trattlerhof there run by the Forstnig family for generations and I played with the current boss Jakob. The celebration dinner, wine tasting (with wonderful local wines) and prize giving was held at their rustic chalet restaurant Einkehr, which we reached by ancient farm tractors.

If you can’t ski much in the summer, golfing in Carinthia is an excellent alternative. And their new joint venture with courses in Slovenia (I played the lovely course above Bled) and Italy opens lots of options. See Carinthia Golf for more details.

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