Gdansk Golf & Country Club was founded in 1990. It’s not only one of Poland’s elder statesmen but also one of Europe’s longest layouts, stretching to a massive 7,758 yards from the back tees.
Designed by British architect Jeremy Turner this is certainly one of Poland’s premier courses and, in the words of the architect: “The course itself will be quite spectacular with the magnificent lake offering breathtaking possibilities for dramatic golf holes. What I have tried to do with this beautiful tract of land was to create a golf course that is really challenge to the good player. At the same time I wanted to do it very enjoyable for the higher handicapper.”
Undoubtedly, Postolowo Golf Club, as it is commonly known, is a brutal layout from the tips. Only venture back there if you are feeling masochistic! The sandy subsoil of the Postolowo area ensures near perfect terrain with a smattering of beech, oak and pine and sufficient water to provide some golfing thrills, it’s no surprise that Gdansk is regarded as one of the country’s top tracks.
Postolowo is quite possibly the longest course I have ever set foot on so I was mildly surprised when it turned out to be such an enjoyable round of golf. At 7,766 yards from the white tees, the yellows appeared to be the sensible option and after a steady but unspectacular start the course moves up a gear at the attractive 4th, a tricky hole with water on the left and OOB very much in play on the right. Only at this point did we realize that the yellow tees measured a whopping 6,925 yards and with our Metres to Yards conversion now in full working order we moved up to the slightly more manageable Blue tees at a mere 6,532 yards.
As well as being long and Postolowo sticks in the memory for having some of the best hole names I've ever encountered. Some I'd heard before but "Hookers Corner", "Alcatraz", "Faith Hope and Charity" and "The Shank Bar" were all new to me.
The par four 5th was the pick of the early holes, a strategic hole curving to the right where the brave can attempt to cut the corner but three well positioned bunkers and two ponds make it a risky option. The back nine is the stronger half kicking off with "Black Forest", an attractive but long and narrow tree lined par four and unsurprisingly stroke index 1 on the card. The 13th is a lovely hole, the fairway running downhill to a green neatly tucked in on the left behind a pond. This begins a fine finishing stretch with no weak holes and water in play on all of them. The 15th again plays downhill before curving right to a peninsula green, this being the only bunker free green in the round and then we reach the beautiful 16th which is one of the toughest par-3's I've ever seen. Measuring just over 200 yards to a raised green with anything left falling away into the water, this was my favourite hole.
At the time of our visit, Postolowo was the pick of the courses we played due to far superior conditioning but it's easy to see why Sand Valley is currently ranked as Poland's number one. Brian W
The course at Postolowo was the last of four layouts in the Gdansk region that I played recently and for me it was the best. It gets off to a solid start on the opening three holes before things step up a gear at the 4th, a par five that hugs the side of a large lake with the fairway narrowing as it approaches the green. The same body of water comes into play near the end of the round but more of that later.
Holes 5 and 6 are contrasting par fours, the first one doglegging right between water hazards to the green, the second climbing up to an elevated green position. The par five 9th also requires precision to avoid a large bunker on the inside of the dogleg as the hole veers right to a green protected by water on either side of the putting surface. There’s then an opportunity to seek a little respite in the clubhouse before tackling the back nine because things only get tougher on the inward half.
The 10th to the 12th are relatively benign, despite the first of these holes classed as stroke index 1. The real fun starts on the left doglegged 13th, where the green has recently been pushed left and further back, beyond a pond that now menaces the front of the putting surface. A little pit stop called “The Lemon House” sits to the right of the green and it’s one of the nicest little halfway house set ups that I’ve ever come across – I could have just sat there for ages reliving the (extremely rare) one-putt birdie I’d just made on the hole just played!
The water theme continues on the par fours at 14 and 15, both of which dogleg right to the target, with the second of these holes also having to carry a wetland area in front of a peninsula green that juts out into the lake which was last seen at hole #4. It’s rated stroke index 3 but the 15th was easily the most difficult hole on the card in my book. Holes 16 and 17 also flirt with the lake before the final hole moves towards the clubhouse, with just one final small body of water to contend with on the front left side of the home green.
I was really glad the club arranged for one of its young leading amateur players to join our group as we’d have really struggled to apply the proper playing strategy on some of the holes without his sound advice, especially on the killer last six-hole stretch. Architect Jeremy Turner continues to fine tune this tough track which is more than capable of testing elite players – even the regular markers at 5,973 metres have a slope rating of 142 so golfers need to choose their tees carefully when playing here.
When I played Postolowo, the only other people there were around twenty locals having a mammoth putting lesson and six Press Hacks from the UK Golfing Press (esteemed company), along with their tour guide and very amiable fellow from the Polish Tourist Board – trying to stimulate interest in Poland as a golf destination; and why not, much to like, the friendliest folk, great value, demanding challenge.
The last six holes are as hard as I can remember but beautiful, although I think the weather helped – it was idyllic. I wouldn’t fancy it when the wind gets up, it would be a brute for any golfer.
The 16th at Postolowo, in my limited experience, is one of the most challenging but picturesque holes I've ever played - nearly 190yrds, impossible trees on the right, water front and left and the deepest bunker ever to the front. It cost me two balls before landing a 5 iron. Fantastic... but very tough for a 20 handicapper. I would recommend they look at the club hire – really quite poor but at £20…!