UK Golf Guide
Online golf course directory; view course information, tee time offers and get feedback from the course before you play by reading the 1000s of independent reviews.
Titleist 913 Custom Fit Feature
Golfshake's Owen Davies visited the Titleist National Custom Fitting centre in St Ives, Cambridgeshire to try out the new 913 Driver. Find out how he got on....
Editorial Feature: The Future of Golf
Few people that watched the final day of the 39th Ryder Cup could deny it was one of the most astonishing and captivating moments they had witnessed in sport.
3 ball slice drill
Dean Halford, The Online Golf Coach, talks us through a simple 3 ball drill to help cure the slice shot, something effecting the majority of golfers at some point.
Play the Perfect series: Chip from the rough
James Ellis, creator of the Pocket Pro golf app, provides some tips to help play a chip shot when in the rough.
- Score Tracker
- Golf Handicap
Golf in Poland
Poland is a country that doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about a golf holiday, but its golfing heritage goes back further than one might expect. Whilst it isn’t as steeped in golfing culture as places such as Spain – where the first golf course was constructed in 1891 – the first golf course in Poland dates back to before World War One. After the Second World War, however, golf was prohibited, and was seen as being synonymous with the upper classes. For that reason, the sport stagnated until its renaissance in the 1980s. Since then, many golf courses have sprung up in nation rich in culture and diversity, and Poland rightfully takes its place alongside a variety of other European locations competing for overseas custom.
Golfing Culture and Heritage
Poland is contrasted to other countries in the area, such as Bulgaria, where golf hadn’t infiltrated local consciousness until the turn of the millennium. In fact – in a possible parallel to Poland’s standing in the region – the first golf club opened in 1906 and was recognised by the elite of Europe. However, there were only three fully operational golf clubs before the start of the Second World War, and events in the wake of its conclusion would delay golfing development in Poland for the best part of fifty years. Communist rule put paid to golf until the revolution of 1989. In 1993, the Polish Golf Association and the PGA of Poland were formed, but “golf has no tradition in Poland” (director of marketing at Krakow Valley). Like so many other countries in Europe, Poland has so much potential for golfing growth, and activity has picked up in recent years. There are now over 25 golf courses positioned all over the country, serving a sector of the economy that is growing year-on-year.
The great thing about Poland is that it combines outstanding natural beauty with a strongly defined sense of culture, historic cities, varied landscapes and great diversity. Poland has played a pivotal part in the history of Europe, being traditionally considered as the bridge between the west and the east, and much of its history is represented in the folklore and tradition that it maintains. Some of Poland’s cities are full of fantastic architecture whilst others maintain a medieval edge. In Poland, you will find traditional parkland golf courses; courses carved out of dense forests; courses set to the backdrop of the Carpathians and courses with a links feel on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The cost of living, like so many other counties in the area, is minimal compared to traditional Western European nations; the climate is favourable; the scenery is majestic and the flora and fauna are as varied as any country in the region.
Poland can add quality golf courses to the list above. All of Poland’s eight regions have courses architected by revered designers, ten of which have been ranked as championship class venues. The most popular regions for golf are Warsaw, the capital territory; Gdansk, which sits on the Baltic coastline; Krakow, overlooking the Tatra mountains on the border with Slovakia, and neighbouring province Wroclaw. Two of the best courses in the country are Krakow Valley and Modry Las Golf Club.
Modry Las Golf Club
The Modry Las Golf Club was designed by Gary Payer, and is undergoing further development that is expected to increase its already high standing. In 2009, the course was rated in the top 100 of Golf World’s top European Courses category. The golf course itself is described as “one of Europe’s most sought after golfing experiences”. This brave statement on the club’s website appears to have been vindicated.
The course is located in the north west of Poland, an area famed for crystal clear lakes, dense woodland and undulating, picturesque countryside. Some holes on the course wind around the Radun Lake, but this sizeable body of water isn’t the only potential hazard. Oak, pine and birch forests, rolling hills, ponds and fields of wildflower combine to create an opulent and peaceful golfing experience in the middle of the beautiful Polish countryside. According to Gary Player, “Modry Las is a world class golf course carved in a beautiful, natural landscape - just an incredible setting.”
The course is in as pristine a condition as you could hope to find, and stands at 6,850 yards from the white tees. Renovation has begun on a short nine-hole course, designed to complement the new practice facilities, including covered teaching bays and a club-fitting professional shop – all aimed at serving locals as well as tourists. From the summer, newly constructed cottages on the 321 acre estate will provide a relaxing retreat after a wonderful round of golf on one of Europe’s premier courses.
Krakow Hills Golf Club
Modry Las isn’t the only golf club placing emphasis on development of Polish golfers. Krakow Hills Golf Club in Poland’s second city is dedicated to growing the game. Each week, they put on a free weekend clinic that attracts upwards of fifty people, old and young. Facilities at the Ronald Fream designed golf club are impressive, including a covered driving range, a short game area and a six-hole practice course. Such amenities will only help to fulfil the objectives of a golf club “working to introduce the game to the people of Krakow.”
The course itself is what you’d expect from an architect of such prestige. The design is similar to an American course in that the fairways are relatively generous and bunkers cut into lading areas. The views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular, especially from the 13th, where a large Jurassic rock formation comes into view. The course hosts the Lexus Polish Golfers Championship and Volvo Masters Amateur, reflecting the calibre of both course and location. If golf isn’t your thing, leave your other half on the course and head off for some hiking or horse riding in the valley.
Before booking anything concrete, add Poland to the growing list of viable destinations for a golfing holiday.