Course Overview. Green Eagle Golf Courses is a collection of 42 holes spread across 3 courses in the ‘Lüneburger Heide’, a picturesque part of Germany on the outskirts of Hamburg.
The North Course is being used for this week’s event and the Michael Blesch design is a brute at 7,165 metres (7,836 yards) from its tips for its scorecard par of 73, however with 4 teeing areas on each of the holes there’s considerable flexibility as to how the course can be set up. This week’s layout will reportedly measure 7,544 yards and play to a par of 72, as it did in 2019 when this event was last played.
As you’d expect with a course of that length, the fairways are reasonably generous and the greens large and undulating so as to give players a chance of compiling some kind of score. Water is in play on all but one of the holes and an element of control is required to avoid paying the penalty for wild tee shots or approaches, however the reward for a safe navigation to the green is excellent quality putting surfaces.
3 of the 5 par-5s ranked amongst the easiest holes to play in 2019 with the 15th proving to be the easiest of the lot, however the 16th at 663 yards certainly proved to be no pushover and it played over par cumulatively for the 4 days. The short par-4s on the 1st and 7th holes also gave up an awful lot of birdies which reinforces the view that this is a strong risk/reward track.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s European Open. Please note, the 2017-2019 renewals only were held at this venue. Current Form | Event Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.
Event Winners. 2019, Paul Casey (7/1); 2018: Richard McEvoy (125/1); 2017: Jordan Smith (40/1); 2016: Alex Levy (45/1); 2015: Thongchai Jaidee (55/1).
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for Hamburg is here.
A warm and sunny start to the event on Saturday looks set to continue for the 3 days, with temperatures reaching the mid-70s Fahrenheit in the afternoons. Winds will be light to moderate, potentially reaching 10-15mph at times.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Looking back to the 3 events held here at Green Eagle, the eventual winners produced key stats as follows:
- 2019, Paul Casey (-14). 293 yards (12th), 69.2% fairways (8th), 81.9% greens in regulation (2nd), 46.2% Scrambling (49th), 1.76 putts per GIR (24th)
- 2018, Richard McEvoy (-11). 276 yards (62nd), 67.3% fairways (6th), 72.2% greens in regulation (8th), 55% Scrambling (8th), 1.67 putts per GIR (8th)
- 2017, Jordan Smith (-13). 296 yards (3rd), 71.2% fairways (7th), 73.6% greens in regulation (15th), 63.2% Scrambling (7th), 1.74 putts per GIR (16th)
Three events played in differing conditions still led to similar winning scores over the 3 renewals held here at Green Eagle. The course played soft in 2017 following a lot of wet weather which effectively lengthened and widened the track, however to compensate the organisers moved a number of tee boxes forward to keep it relatively fair and Jordan Smith, who ranked 3rd for Driving Distance on the week, ultimately prevailed in a play-off against Alex Levy.
In 2018 it was much drier which brought some of the shorter hitters into the equation with no (recorded) player finishing inside the top 5 ranking in the top-50 for Driving Distance, including eventual winner Richard McEvoy who averaged a full 20 yards less off the tee than Smith the year before.
Paul Casey’s win in 2019 came in mixed conditions with temperatures struggling to hit the mid-60s Fahrenheit, and although the average driving distance of the top-5 finishers increased over the years before, it still wasn’t an out-and-out slugfest. We still saw, however, the kind of tee-to-green control that both of our winners here had demonstrated to that point, with each of the top 5 finishers ranking inside the 17 most accurate drivers on the week.
Much of the length of this track comes from the 5 par-5s; however that’s not to say that they’re all a pushover. Looking at 2019, Matthias Schwab (2nd) and Niklas Lemke (9th) co-led the field for par-5 scoring at -10; despite there being 20 looks at the par-5s, these were the best scores on display on the week on the long holes.
Incoming Form: Before the venue switched to Green Eagle GC in 2017, the previous two winners, Thongchai Jaidee and Alex Levy, had both recorded top-7 finishes on their previous start.
With the scheduling for the next 2 years falling immediately after The Open, Jordan Smith hadn’t played at that Major, however prior to that he’d recorded 7 straight cuts made without finishing any better than 20th at the Irish Open, whereas Richard McEvoy had won the week before on the Challenge Tour’s Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge.
The last time this event was played it was in early September and Paul Casey triumphed having produced the 3rd-best 72-hole total at East Lake for the PGA Tour’s finale:
- 2019, Paul Casey: 9/MC/4/29/WD/21/5/57/27/13/24/3
- 2018, Richard McEvoy: MC/65/MC/MC/34/MC/15/MC/26/29/33/1
- 2017, Jordan Smith: 29/17/8/14/MC/48/40/21/44/30/20/58
- 2016, Alexander Levy: 2/63/14/4/28/34/WD/56/73/18/34/7
- 2015, Thongchai Jaidee: 2/10/MC/MC/11/10/31/65/50/57/MC/5
In terms of course form, Paul Casey had finished 7th in 2018 before picking up the title a year later, whereas Richard McEvoy finished 28th on debut in 2017 where he led after the first round. Jordan Smith was making his competitive course debut in 2017, as were the rest of the field.
Boiling it all down, this is a long, challenging course that presents scoring opportunities to aggressive players, but plotters can equally contend. Despite having 5 par-5s and a couple of short par-4s, this course isn’t a complete birdie-fest with -14, -13 and -11 winning scores telling us that players will need to pick and choose when to attack this track.
With warm weather and a dry forecast, I would expect scoring to be towards the upper end of what we’ve seen from the 3 renewals held here.
My selections are as follows: