Sri Lankan golf dates back to the end of the nineteenth century with the formation of the Royal Colombo Golf Club in the capital city and the establishment of the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club at the foot of Mount Pidurutalagala in the heart of the nation’s tea country.
Victoria Golf and Country Resort took shape at the end of the 1990s and it’s situated around 45 minutes driving time from the royal and ancient city of Kandy, a 517-acre property laid out within a former coconut plantation in the spectacularly scenic Kandyan mountain range.
Part of an extensive residential development that also includes a swimming pool, tennis courts and equestrian centre, the Victoria course is laid out over hilly terrain with many changes in elevation experienced during a round here. The 6th is the pick of the holes on the course and it’s played from an elevated tee position more than 100 feet above the fairway – probably the most spectacular par four in the whole country.
Donald Steel, commented as follows:
Victoria's greatest attribute is its stunningly beautiful setting – as fine as any in the golfing world. However, it was, without doubt, the most intriguing and unusual professional venture in which I have been involved.
It was built the way golf architects built their courses in the 1920s and 1930s with more emphasis on manpower (and womanpower) than machinery. Altogether, the construction cost (with full irrigation) was less than US$1 million but you would never know. Standards were exemplary and its condition superb. Opened in 1998, it was Sri Lanka's third course.
The following article was written by Martin Ebert:
Victoria takes its name from the Victoria Reservoir by which it sits. This enormous water body provides electricity and irrigation for the country and wondrous views for the golf course. Coupled with the majestic backdrop of hills in all directions, the setting for golf has to be one of the finest in the world.
All that was required was to build a course to take advantage of that setting and also the beautiful undulations of the land. That was easier said than done, as there is a large elevation across the site. The front nine takes on a climb which is over once the 4th tee is reached and from where the golfers can marvel at the view down onto the reservoir. With focus on the game once more, the golfer is confronted by one of the best and the shortest hole on the course. A little over 100 yards, the 4th is also one of the most dangerous with rocks protruding from all areas of the green surrounds. Miss the green and a four can be a good score. Along with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th, the 4th has no bunkers. The holes do not need them such is the character of the land and the majesty of the trees. In fact the course has just 12 bunkers. To add any more would be completely unnecessary.
Following the driveable 5th, the long par 4 6th is a hole to fear despite its dramatic drop for the tee shot. This is the one point from which the Victoria Dam can be seen.
The back nine is easier to walk and stimulating to play, routed through tropical woodland to begin with and then through coconuts which frame the holes perfectly. Another different but equally stunning view comes at the 14th and 15th holes with the reservoir so close and the swinging par five 15th requires a second shot across the water when the reservoir reaches full supply level. Even when the level is lower the hazard must be carried. The view when standing on the green is like a three-dimensional landscape painting on the grandest scale.
The 17th is a down and up long par four demanding two perfectly struck shots and the 18th a friendly par five to guide the golfers back to the wonderful haven of the clubhouse. There can be no better clubhouse terrace upon which to sit to reflect on a truly remarkable golfing experience.
The long par 4 473-yard 6th is a slight dogleg to the left, which is a challenging as well as exhilarating signature hole on this course. The tee shot is monstrously downhill. The landing area off the tee is limited as trees on both sides hang over the narrow fairway, requiring both accuracy and distance. A creek crosses the fairway 300 – 330 yards from the tee. It is downhill to the creek and slightly uphill beyond it. The second shot is demanding as well. One needs to aim at the green around 200 yards away while hitting from a downhill lie. The downhill par 4 393-yard 14th is a dogleg to the left. From the tee, combined views of the green, the Victoria Reservoir & Mountains behind the green create a very beautiful picture. To read more about Victoria Golf & Country Resort, click here to visit my website.