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Gdańsk – great golf in the north of Poland

06 June, 2018
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Gdańsk – great golf in the north of Poland

The latest European Golf and Travel Media Association event took place last month in northern Poland, which is perhaps not the first European destination to spring to mind when considering an overseas golf trip but there’s a lot of good golf going on around the port city of Gdańsk – where thousands of Scandinavian golfers fly into every year – and we were among a small group who travelled with the EGTMA delegation to see what the region had to offer.

Antti Pohjonen, the CEO at the Sand Valley Golf Resort hosted the EGTMA event, inviting journalists from several European countries to evaluate the complete Stay & Play experience – residing in the on-site villas (complete with sauna and private swimming pool), dining in the Finka Restaurant (which serves buffet breakfast, lunch and evening à la carte meals), and playing a course that has recently been ranked as one of the Top 100 in Continental Europe by one of the leading UK golf magazines.

Sand Valley has had more than its fair share of obstacles to overcome, going back more than a decade to when the original construction company that was building the course had to be replaced and a new architect brought in to oversee the project. Described as an “inland links” due to the sandy nature of the landscape, the course plays firm and fast off the tee with possibly the most challenging set of greens you’ll ever come across anywhere.

On day two of the visit, an excursion was arranged to Sierra Golf Resort, located on the other side of Gdańsk , which was the venue for the European Senior Men’s Team Championship in 2014 and the European Women’s Team Championship in 2016. It’s a beautifully manicured layout, with an abundance of ornamental plants, flowers, bushes and trees on every hole, bringing a blaze of colour to the course no matter the season. After the round, the cosy clubhouse, designed in the style of an English country club, was the perfect place to relax on the terrace overlooking the final hole.

An opportunity presented itself on day three to have a look at the Martin Hawtree-designed course at Mazury Golf & Country Club, situated next to Lake Wulpiński, an hour’s drive southeast of Sand Valley. The property is dominated by an enormous, multi-storied clubhouse that can cater for non-golfers by hosting conferences and business meetings. There are also twenty-two bedrooms on the upper floors available for overnight stays. Out on the course, water hazards come into play at several holes, most notably on the 6th and 7th then again on the closing hole in front of the clubhouse.

Before flying out from Gdansk airport – the smart new terminal was opened ahead of the UEFA Euro 2012 football championships – a final visit was scheduled for Postolowo Golf Club, also known as Gdańsk Golf & Country Club, which held the EGA European Amateur Team Championship (Division 2) in 2015. Designed by Jeremy Turner, who works mainly in Norway and Sweden, the course can be set up to play very long when testing the elite players – it’s actually reckoned to be the second longest par 72 layout in Europe, measuring a whopping 7,101 metres from the tips.

KPMG published its “Golf Participation Report for Europe 2017” last year and a statistical analysis by nation ranked Poland at a lowly number 23 in the continent, with only 4,705 registered golfers in 2016. This was actually a 17% increase on the previous year, which is encouraging, but it’s easy to see why progressive Polish clubs like Sand Valley are keen to attract foreign golfers when there are so few native players to support the local golf market.

All four of the above golf courses feature in our Top 10 for Poland and that’s as good an indication as any of the quality of the golf product in this part of the country. Three of the facilities are in the fortunate position of having on-site accommodation (Postolowo has an agreement with a nearby hotel) and transfers to and from Gdańsk airport can be included in very affordable packages.

Visits between the courses can also be set up so golfers can gain a better appreciation of what’s available elsewhere and for those who might wish to travel further afield to explore the Pomeranian region, the Tricity metropolitan area of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia is just a short distance away on the Baltic coastline, surrounded by the Kashubian Lake District, allowing golfers to select their cultural targets from a wide range of options.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses

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