Prague does not instantly spring to mind when thinking of good golfing destinations in Europe but there are a number of fine courses worth checking out within a short drive from the city centre of the Czech Republic’s capital – Konopiste, Ypsilon Liberec, Mtetice and here (30 kilometres south west of Prague) at Karlstejn Golf Resort.
Opened in 1993, immediately after the demise of the former Czechoslovakian nation, it was one of the first European ventures undertaken by Golf Design Services, the company of architects Les Furber and Jim Eremko, who have constructed dozens of golf courses in Canada since the mid 1980s.
The 6,433-yard course lies in the grounds of Karlstejn Castle (which dates back to the reign of King Karel IV in 1348) and is routed over a hilly, wooded landscape with limestone outcrops, ravines and a couple of lakes. As the architects say, the holes were designed as “easy to bogey but difficult to birdie” and, as a consequence, Praha Karlstejn presents a formidable challenge to golfers of all abilities.
The strength of the course is its short par four holes with half of the ten two shotters on the card measuring less than 350 yards in length. The 308-yard 2nd hole is the most thrilling, played downhill to a green that kinks to the right, protected by a pond on the left, a large bunker on the right and a small ditch in front – a classic easy bogey/difficult birdie hole.
Such is the demand at Karlstejn, a relief 9-hole course was built in 2007 to take some pressure off the 18-hole course, allowing the 600 members to still play when there are corporate and tournament days on the main course.