The small settlement of Ptuj lies in the northeast of Slovenia, not far from the border with Croatia, and it’s said to be the oldest recorded city in the country. Located at an important crossing point of the Drava River, Ptuj was once an important stop on the trade route between the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic.
The golf course lies a couple of kilometres from Ptuj Castle – on the opposite side of the river from this 12-century fortification – with fairways laid out as two returning nines inside a 52-hectare property that’s largely devoid of any serious contours. It’s rather an easy walking parkland track which can be stretched to a moderate 5,727 metres from the back tees.
Notable holes include the par four 7th, played to a large two-tiered green that tilts from back to front, and the long par three 8th, where a sleepered bunker protects the front left of the green. Both the short holes on the back nine are also terrific, featuring an island green at the 14th and an elevated tee on the highest point of the course at the 16th.
On arrival for a Saturday competition (August 2019), the first challenge for decent golf was to be teetotal as the members enjoyed a champagne breakfast. I was warmly greeted and looked after throughout.
The second challenge is to ensure your driving is dead straight. They are tree-lined but with quite a few opportunities to wet your ball. Many holes are 290m to 330m par fours.
The next challenge is the island green, a feature that I don't much like on any course. It has a 145m to 150m carry, so daunting for old chaps.
After drinks at the front of the odd but effective club house, the last challenge was to make inroads into a superb buffet lunch.
It was a wonderful day amongst very friendly people.
The conditioning was dodgy: bare patches on fairways and little grass on some tees. The greens rolled well but had the odd blemish. The course suits very accurate hitters. Long hitters have no advantages in the main.
Ptuj (town) is worth visiting so play the course if you are there.
The landscape for many kilometres around the course at Ptuj is totally flat, so it’s quite amazing to find subtle movement of any description in the terrain here. Organized as two returning nines, this 18-hole layout offers a very pleasant game of parkland golf, with easy walking throughout the round.
I like par threes to be a sensible distance but the 102-metre 5th was just a bit too short for my liking. The putting surface on the short par four 6th hole was the first green on the front nine with any degree of contouring, though the hole immediately following, the right doglegged 7th, then threw up a distinctive two-tiered green that sloped from back to front!
On the back nine, the par threes at the 14th and 16th were very interesting holes – the first one in particular as it plays to an island green – before the round concluded with consecutive par fives that narrowed considerably as the fairway proceeded from the tee. The home green also sits beyond a large ditch so there’s no easy birdie chance to be had at the end of the round here.