Golf Club Verbier in Switzerland Review
The charming clubhouse at Golf Club Verbier is perched on a mountainside 1600m above sea level so you can imagine golf here is going to be a different kind of experience.
Panoramic views over the Mont Blanc and the Grand Combin massifs from the practice putting green create a sense of peace and tranquility and certainly relax golfers for a round they will never forget.
That sense of calmness doesn’t last long however; the first tee is a further 200m up the slopes; and most members take a buggy or cadge a lift to the top to play the long walk back down, enjoying the crisp mountain air and being at one with nature.
It literally is downhill all the way, and a more dramatic descent from a golf course cannot be imagined.
Short, tight and in places simply bonkers, this course is not for those wanting to protect their handicap or for the big hitters who want to puff out their chests and let it rip.
At just 4586m in length off the yellows the descent is almost as long as the course itself as it weaves among the downslopes, criss-crossing numerous crystal clear, gushing mountain streams that transverse the fairways.
Members here are a breed apart. The sense of community is palpable and even rather early in the morning you may well find a few propping up the bar enjoying a chat and a glass or two.
The very fact that the club’s many sponsors, proudly displayed on a board outside the clubhouse, are largely non members and rather part of the Verbier business community, sums up the sense of pride Verbier has for its beloved golf course.
Without this knowledge it would be easy to assume that golf is an afterthought at this popular ski resort that attracts well-heeled visitors and even a scattering of British royals in the winter.
True, the fairways are snow bound for months when they become nursery slopes for those enjoying the main event.
But you wouldn’t suggest that golf is the second best thing in the clubhouse, such is the pride and enthusiasm for the game held by its members.
As a result the clubhouse is a true community melting pot where members and non members regularly mingle to enjoy the incredible views and dine in style.
When the snow falls members put away their clubs for the season and instead look forward to more traditional Alpine sporting pursuits.
As the main course in Verbier, the 18th-hole Les Esserts is the one everybody wants to play. It’s technically demanding - you really have to think hard about club selection due to the sloping nature of the ground and you don’t want to stray into the rough which is full of pretty alpine flowers but a devil to get your ball out and back onto the fairway if you manage to find it at all.
It starts with a very short par 3 - and its quirkiness signals what is to come.
Rarely will the driver come out of the bag - we were advised to play 8 iron/8 iron/wedge on one of the par 5s - in order to keep the ball in play reflecting the need to carefully plot a route with pinpoint precision.
The par 3s are excellent and the course during our visit in June was in fine fettle, with the greens rolling nice and pure.
When the sun shines the views down to the wooden chalets of Verbier and the snow capped peaks in the distance makes this a special place to thoroughly enjoy the leisurely pursuit of golf.
The Moulins Pitch & Putt
Set in the heart of the town on slopes surrounded by impressive chalets is the 18 hole par 54 Moulins course, popular with beginners and those who have finished work for the day.
Those who think a pitch and putt is just for families and children will be surprised how difficult it can be. The holes might be short but the greens are tiny, and up and downhill lies are the order of the day. A true test of your short game skills.
Like its big brother up the hill the clubhouse is charming and friendly, the food is terrific and the grill in particular is second to none.
Verbier is an adventure playground of the highest order, seriously upmarket with a good selection of quality hotels, chalets, bars and restaurants. Hiking and mountain biking are just two incredibly popular summer pursuits.
It is unlikely that Golfshake readers will immediately think of Switzerland and Verbier in particular as a destination for their next golfing trip. As well as having just one 18 hole course in easy reach, visitors from the UK have a two hour flight followed by two train journeys and a cable car ascent to get to the destination.
But at Golf Club Verbier they don’t think like most golfers. They understand that there is more to life than golf.
This course will certainly appeal to golfers whose mindsets expand beyond thoughts of knocking a little white ball into a small hole in the ground.
A three-night stay with breakfast at 4* Hotel de Verbier, from July 2023, costs from £381pp, based on two sharing a room.
Return direct flights from Manchester to Geneva cost from £53 with easyJet.
Swiss Travel System provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the Swiss Travel System rail, bus and boat network.
This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in around 90 towns and cities, and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices start from £186 for a three-day second-class ticket. A first-class, return train ticket from Geneva Airport to Verbier costs from £69.
For more information about Verbier visit www.verbier.ch.
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