The best golfing destinations in the Alps
With glorious sunny days and panoramic views, golfing in the Alps is the perfect way to spend your summer.
Whilst we associate the Alps with winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey, the Alps has become increasingly popular in the summer. People flock from all over the world to enjoy the splendour of the mountains, whether that be by hiking, trekking or mountain biking. However, with a plethora of courses across Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria, golf is another sport to take seriously. With spectacular views, varied terrain and a multitude of competitions and tournaments taking place across the summer months, the only question that remains is which golfing destination to choose?
Arguably one of the most prestigious golfing destinations in the Alps, Crans Montana is home to four golf courses overlooking the Rhône Valley. The most famous of these is the Severiano Ballesteros 18-hole golf course at the Crans-Sur-Sierre golf club. At 5,000 feet above sea level, the course is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe with unforgettable views over the Valais Alps. It also plays host to the OMEGA European Masters, an annual event taking place in early September. Another popular course is the Jack Nicklaus course, a stunning 9-hole golf course for medium to expert players. The Super-Crans and Noas courses are suitable for beginners, adults, children and families alike.
Golf was first introduced to Verbier in 1969, with the opening of the Par 3 Moulins course, located right in the centre of the resort. A second course, Les Esserts, was built at an altitude of 1,600 metres, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges which include Combin, Rogneux and Mont-Blanc. Open from May until November, the course is fairly short but has spacious fairways and greens as well as several natural hazards.
Designed by renowned American architect, Kyle Phillips, Kitzbühel’s most famous golf course has to be seen to be believed. Opening in the year 2,000, Eichenheim is regarded as one of the finest golf courses in Austria. Winding its way through breathtaking Alpine landscape, it feels like it has been there forever. Considered to be one of the most exciting weeks in the golfing calendar is the annual Kitzbühel Golf Festival, which welcomes over 900 players from all corners of the world. Taking place at the end of June, the festival incorporates 12 tournaments over six days, with award-winning chefs and selected winemakers serving culinary delights and wine pairings at halfway stations and evening events. A particular highlight of the festival is the ‘Streif Attack’ with ten holes on the notoriously steep Mausefalle section of the “Hahnenkamm” World Cup race.
Situated at an altitude of 1,000m, Chamonix’s 18-hole golf course was designed by the world famous English-American golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones. Set on the valley floor between the Mont-Blanc mountain range and the Aiguille Rouges massif, the course offers magnificent views and features numerous bunkers, water holes, streams and woodlands. At the beginning of October, Chamonix hosts the Maurice Herzog Trophy which is open to players with a maximum handicap of 2.4, giving them the opportunity to score points in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Located above the attractive village of Megeve at 1320m lies one of the oldest golf courses in the Alps. The Mont d’Arbois par 72, 18-hole golf course was established in 1964 by passionate golfer Baron Edmond de Rothschild and professional golfer Henry Cotton. The course offers panoramic views from the Col de Véry to the Mont Joly mountain chain and is the setting for numerous amateur and professional competitions. The terrain is easy to walk with gentle slopes providing a superb setting for an enjoyable day’s golf.