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 British Army Golf Course Bielefeld. (1945 - 1957)

The following text was written by Christoph Meister who visited the course with a former caddie, Rolf Piayda, in 2004.

Immediately after the end of the Second World War the British army began the construction of a golf course in the Johannisthal valley at Bielefeld.

As weekend tourists young Germans started watching the British golfers with great curiosity. Not much was known about the sport of golf in Bielefeld. Attentive local youngsters soon realised the places where the British golfers lost their golf balls. Usually quickly after losing their golf ball the soldiers would continue with their round and once out of sight the lost golf ball usually had a new owner.

Early in the morning or evening, mostly on weekdays, the young Germans began to swing a golf club, but usually as "illegal" golfers on the course.

Towards the end of the 1940s and the beginning of 1950s the first German golfers appeared on the course and became member of the British Garrison Golf Club Bielefeld. The golfers were mostly reactive pre-war golfers that had practised the game elsewhere before 1945. One of them was W. Terberger, an avid pre-war golfer at Bad Salzbrunn, which was now part of Poland and where one of Germany’s first pre-war 18-hole courses had vanished with communism.


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. View of the course.


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. View of the course


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. View of the course.

Views of the British Army Golf Course at Bielefeld.


In December 1950 the magazine "Golf" reported, that now German Golfers use the golf course created by the English in an attractive rural location. This culminated in1951with the foundation of the German “Bielefelder Golf Club”.

Josef Görnert jr., son of the successful German Golf-teacher Hans Görnert, became the first golf professional at the German golf club. Freiherrvon Nolcken, a scratch golfer before the war, became captain after having found an occupation in an industrial company in the Bielefeld area.

One day, it must have been around 1951, the young Rolf Piayda stood on a road adjacent to the golf course watching a local banker as he tried several times to properly hit a ball out of the rough on the then 4th fairway. After several failed attempts the banker looked up and saw Mr.Piayda grinning and said "Then why don’t you try!" Mr. Piayda took off his coat and jacket, took the club, a pre-war hickory shafted Mashie or Niblick, and hit the ball out of the rough with his first attempt  in a long beautiful curve directly onto the fairway.

The banker said "Please come with me young man” and here began the "official" golf career of Rolf Piayda, who still in the early 2000s was one of Bielefeld’s most experienced golfers.

This is the description of the golf course Mr. Piayda gave me onsite:

The first tee was directly in front of the clubhouse and the fairway went downhill between today's DSC Arminia hockey field and the little zoo (“Heimattierpark Olderdissen”) along the public trail which is still in use today and which existed back then. The second hole was a par 3 going down towards the pond at Johannisthal. The second green sat immediately in front of the pond which is still there today. The third hole followed along the road to Hoberge-Uerentrup and was played slightly uphill. It was followed by another par three along the Dornberger Strasseand .  Holes 5 to 7 were on the Ochsenheide, just in front of the windmill, which is still in existence today and which is part of the Bielefelder Bauernhausmuseum. The fifth and seventh on Ochsenheide were long holes, the sixth hole was a par three. The eighth hole was slightly above the valley. The ninth hole ended exactly where the present-day hockey pitch is situated, which, of course, was not there at that time. Like most golf courses the ninth green was located directly in front of the clubhouse. The clubhouse was very popular, especially among the Germans, because all drinks were available on favourable terms.


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. The seventh green and windmill in 1950.

The seventh green and windmill in 1950.


In the Golfer’s Handbook in the 1950s the address was given as Bielefeld Garrison Golf Club, B.A.O.R 39. The secretary was Capt R A Humber, and the professional J Görnert. Course records were; R Abercrombie (amateur), 72; J Görnert (professional), 70.  The nine-hole course measured 2,575 yards. The station at Bielefeld was 3 kms away. Visitors’ fees were, 2/6 (1.50 Dm) a day, 3/6 (3 Dm) at weekend. 

In 1955 the golf course was returned by the British Army to the city of Bielefeld. The city decided against using the site for golf and the course was closed. Following the closure the British army dug up the greens and transported the turf to RAF Bruggen near Mönchengladbach where, at that time, a new golf course was under construction. So, many years later, golfers at RAF Bruggen played on Bielefeld greens!

Mr. Piayda said that by 1955 the car traffic on the streets intersecting the golf course had increased considerably particularly on weekends and therefore, even though the site of the golf course was nicely landscaped, it would be unsuitable for golf by today’s standards.

During the mid-1950s plans by the spa administration at nearby Bad Salzuflen materialised and included was a nine-hole golf course. The 1956/57 year book of the German Golf Federation reported that the 9-hole course at Bad Salzuflen was to be leased by the Bielefeld Golf Club after completion - probably in the spring of 1957.

In 1956 Wilhelm Terberger became president of the newly founded Golf- und Landclub Ostwestfalen-Lippe at Bad Salzuflen, he remained president until his death in 1970. Still today he is considered to have been the driving force in establishing the golf course at Bad Salzuflen. In 1961 W. Terberger donated a new Fürstenstein trophy in order to remember the trophy of the same name that was played at Bad Salzbrunn in Silesia before the war.

The current Bielefelder Golf-Club was founded in 1977 at a different location.


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. The former clubhouse in 2004.

The former clubhouse in 2004.


British Army Golf Course Bielefeld, West Germany. The windmill and former green in 2004.

The above pictures were taken by Christoph Meister on his visit in 2004.


The Google Map below pinpoints the Bielefeld Farmouse Museum.