Sierra Golf Club was formed in 2002 near the small town of Wejherowo, the spiritual capital of the Kaszuby region in northern Poland, and the club’s 18-hole course was constructed on a 200-acre site as part of a residential development.
The British architect Cameron Sinclair designed the parkland layout, incorporating back-to-back par fives on the front nine (at 5 and 6) and a tough par three on the back nine at the 16th (stroke index 3 and 213 metres from the back tees) which has water to the front left and sand to the back right of the green.
The Thomas Himmel design company has put forward a plan to create a new 9-hole circuit should the club decide to implement a proposal to extend housing onto part of the existing course.
This was my first experience of golf in Poland, playing three courses within 50 miles of Gdansk. First up was Sierra, a relatively modern parkland design similar to so many found across Continental Europe but an interesting and well conditioned course nonetheless. With so many different specimens of colourful shrubs and trees flanking the fairways and tees it's impossible to be anything other than impressed by the beauty of the layout. The fairways are generally wide enough to be considered strategic as they meander up and down the gentle slopes and past various water hazards and there's no shortage of length for those that need it as the back tees stretch things out to almost 7,000 yards. The front 9 kicks off with three solid par-4's before reaching the short 4th, one of the better par-3's playing from around 160 yards to a raised green. After back to back par-5's we arrive at the tricky 7th, an excellent par-4 which requires two accurate and well struck shots to reach the green. The back nine is undoubtedly the better of the two halves with water affecting play on five holes, all of them being memorable. The 15th, with a lake running almost it's full length is a fine hole which signals the start of an excellent run for home. The16th is a long par-3 made much more difficult by water to the left of the green and the 17th, a lovely par-5, requires care and precision as it firstly sweeps right before narrowing and turning left to a well protected green. The 18th, a pleasant valley hole, is all about the approach shot which must be played over a stream to a raised green. Golf is still a relatively undiscovered pastime amongst the Poles with only 5,000 to 6,000 registered players in the country, therefore many courses rely on the influx of foreign golfers, particularly Scandinavians, to boost green fee revenue. Good quality accommodation in the form of onsite apartments and excellent food in the comfortable clubhouse certainly adds to the experience. Brian W
The last time I played a course with such a dazzling array of flowering shrubs, bushes and trees around the tee boxes and lining the fairways was at Tecina in La Gomera. Sierra doesn’t quite have the same wonderful Atlantic Ocean vistas as that Canary Islands course but it can certainly compete with it on the botanical front.
I’d heard that the owner left following a disagreement at his former club and decided to do whatever he could to make his new club more attractive than the other one, hence the proliferation of plantings around the course. How true that story is, I don’t know, but I have been told the owners of all the private Polish clubs are very competitive!
The tee box on every hole at Sierra was immaculate, with a perfectly positioned bench, ball washer, bin and board showing the layout of the hole. Cart paths were fully tarred, there wasn’t a weed to be seen on any fairway or around the greens and not the slightest hint of anything being out of place.
After a solid start at the opening three holes – all of which are lengthy par fours – the par three 4th is the first (and best) of the short holes on the card, played to a raised green with a hint of aquatic trouble short and right of the putting surface.
The par four 10th is a beast of an uphill par five, doglegging first to the right then to the left as it heads towards the green and it resulted in a lost ball through not paying enough attention to the course guide booklet. Holes 15 to 17 all feature water hazards and they’re tough to tame (with stoke indices of 5, 3 and 7) before the 18th crosses another pond just as it heads uphill to the home green.
I didn’t play from the back markers which can stretch the course to just over 6,400 metres (5623 metres from the yellows was fine for me, thank you very much) but I can imagine the longer tees might well have been in use to give the course some real bite when Sierra hosted a couple of EGA Senior Team events in 2014 and 2016.
A fine Parkland Course. Not very long but fast and large fine ondulated greens. A nice scenic view and excellent clubhouse complete this impression.