This is one of only a handful of municipal golf courses in Germany and also one of only a handful of courses with fescue greens. Both are unique selling points against the overwhelming competition from the nearby Bad Griesbach resort with its more than 130 holes and several signature and Tour layouts. The moniker of "Bella Vista" tries to make another point, which is to emphasize the long views. And they certainly live up to the hype, but they also come with a price, which is embodied in the very awkward property. It's basically a hillside looming over the town of Bad Birnbach with a few ravines thrown in for good measure. No doubt this makes for a very exciting course, but the fun stops abruptly after 14 holes, when the architect succumbs to the terrain by maneuvering himself into a dead end.
Dwelling on the positive, the first 14 holes are Top 50 material. Very few clubs manage to resist lengthening their course by bringing every blade of grass into play, never mind what the flow of the land suggests. It's different here, this track is refreshingly short and average players will actually have a chance to bring their mid and short irons into play. Someone seems to have realised that the terrain is difficult enough as it is. Perhaps the same person made the fortunate decision to bring fescue out on the greens. The putting surfaces are fantastic and they don't need size to create significant short game challenges. It's the kind of putting typically found on low-profile, quirky links tracks, where no one has ever seen a pitch mark.
The concept of racing up and down the hill from one spectacular view to the next, negotiating one devilishy shaped fairway after the other works pretty well for 14 holes, but at that point some relentment would be in order. Unfortunately the architect ran out of property right there and decided to make the player retrace his steps along several previous holes to get to the next tee. It's a par 5 length of all uphill cart path to trudge and that really kills half of the goodwill assembled over the course of the round. The other half is then killed by the next three holes, which are incredibly demotivating by running side by side and back and forth over the same ravine again and again. There is no sense of progress, only very hard climbing and repetetive golf. The 18th is actually a pretty good hole again, but at that point the damage has been done.
It's certainly worth playing Bella Vista for the greens and the views alone, but, at least for the walking golfer, replay interest is seriously stifled. Hopefully some kind of rerouting can happen in the future, because the bones for greatness are definitely in the ground.