The Czech Republic is a relatively new nation, which came into being when Czechoslovakia was divided into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1993. What has politics to do with golf?
Subsequent to the fall of the communist regime, investment was made in the game to the extent that the country now boasts almost a hundred courses.
These days, European golfers have a smorgasbord of exciting options stretching from Scandinavia to North Africa and beyond, but our trip to North Moravia served up a very memorable golfing experience, full of variety, warm and amusing hospitality, great food and dramatic landscapes.
Furthermore, their greatest export of beer, specifically Pilsner Urquell, deserves a book all on its own. What might a pint cost? More on that later.
Most recent destination guides:
- BEST GOLF COURSES IN MANCHESTER
- BEST GOLF COURSES IN NORTHERN IRELAND
- BEST GOLF COURSES IN FIFE
- BEST GOLF COURSES TO HAVE EVER HOSTED THE US OPEN
- BEST GOLF COURSES IN IRELAND
Let's get into it.
Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná
Location: Čeladná, Czech Republic
Architect: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Par: 72 (Old Course) 72 (New Course)
Yardage: 6,675 (Old Course) 7,154 (New Course)
Price: €90 - €100
Prosper Golf Resort is an impressive golf development, comprising 36 holes, extensive practice facilities and sumptuous clubhouse facilities. For those of an equine disposition, Prosper Horse Ranch is close at hand.
Both courses are of championship standard, having hosted the DP World Tour on three recent occasions. Miguel Angel Jimenez, everyone’s favourite Rioja-swilling, cigar-chomping super stretcher has designed a bold, challenging course with big multi-layered greens and strong, generous bunkering. The condition of the course was impressive.
A notable mention must go to the 15th hole on the Old Course, which proves that Jimenez has not lost his sense of humour. The downhill par three of around 160 yards plays to an island green. It requires a wholly heroic straight blow down into the unknown - terrifying, challenging and beautiful all at the same time.
One other curious feature at the club is the chapel, which has been built behind the 18th tee of the Old Course in memory of St Prospero. Best to pay your respects before playing the last.
Such are the facilities at Prosper Golf Resort, a long weekend break may well suit.
Golf and Ski Resort Ostravice
Location: Ostravice, Czech Republic
Architect: Chris Johnson
Price: €60 - €80
As the name suggests, Ostravice Golf and Ski Resort is set between the highest peaks of the Beskydy mountains. It has a definite alpine feel to it, complimented by an impressive chalet-style clubhouse.
We were treated to a buggy, which we would advise the use of. The course had obviously been built to a high specification and is characterised by mature woodland, bold bunkering and dramatic mountain views.
We were joined on this day's golf by Klara Silkova, two-time winner on the LET and double Olympian. She is committed to promoting golf in her home country. A fine ambassador, her golf was of the very highest calibre - so elegant and powerful. Klara never missed a shot, and we were suitably humbled and in awe of her golf.
It was a great day’s golfing, followed by a delicious meal in the clubhouse and a night spent in one of their cosy log cabins.
Ropice Golf Resort
Location: Ropice, Czech Republic
Architect: Hans Georg Erhardt
Price: €56 - €64
There is undoubtedly a feeling of well-being playing golf at relatively high altitude. Surrounded by mountains, no doubt the air is cleaner, and in the glorious sunshine, we set off to play Ropice Golf Resort.
All of the courses we had played up to this point were relatively new, but significant funds had been spent on all of them, in line with current specifications. It was evident that no corners had been cut, and Ropice was another stimulating and challenging layout.
The principal characteristics of the course included dramatic water features, large undulating greens and significant level changes in the holes. A further nine holes are near completion. Altogether, another fine day’s golf.
Golf Resort Lipiny
Location: Karvina, Czech republic
Architect: ORAG Slovakia
Price: €10 - €15
In the afternoon we dropped in at Golf Resort Lipiny. Amongst the courses we visited, Lipiny was a bit of an outlier, given that it was a Czech version of a municipal facility, principally aimed at the local population. They had successfully introduced thousands of beginners to the game.
This resort showed what can be achieved by creating a golf course from a derelict coal field. The land had been cleverly reclaimed by the coal company and transformed into an accessible golf facility.
The curious aspect of the golf course was its length, at a tad over 8000 yards. We speculated that it was a secret Czech power-hitting academy. Either that or the architect missed the decimal point. Either way, all power to the Czech beginners. It could be the longest golf course in Europe.
Park Golf Club Silherovice
Location: Dolni, Czech Republic
Architect: Josef Cieslar
Price: €40 - €50
Part of the joy of golfing is the sense of anticipation you feel when you visit a new course. In visiting the Czech Republic, we had no preconceived ideas as to what to expect, no idea of the weather, the course designs, course conditions, food, drink, hotels etc. Having played three new courses, we came upon Silherovice, which was a revelation.
The oldest club in Moravia, it opened in 1968. We thought we had been dropped into deepest Surrey - I was expecting a chap to appear in plus twos with Labrador in tow. The specimen oak trees are spectacular and enormous.
The course gently meanders through these giant trees, from small tees to small greens. The bunkers are equally small and shallow, and the course is not lengthy. So less is very much more, and the level of enjoyment is great.
Some courses have that intangible quality of making you feel immensely grateful for your surroundings, and this is such a place.
Our abiding memory is the first hole, a par five of modest length, played from an elevated tee, set in the woods. Tree-lined on both sides, the fairway is bisected by an enormous Oak, some 140 yards from the tee. Having stopped our golf brains from short-circuiting, we chose two opposing routes to the fairway.
One right and one left, both balls ended up in the same spot, just short of Neptune’s Fountain, which in itself was an architectural masterpiece. Looking to our left, the Rothchild’s Chateau presented itself; it was simply monstrous. There was a lot going on on the first at Silherovice. Highly recommended in all it’s glory.
There are many well-trodden golfing paths across Europe and beyond. The Czech Republic, and North Moravia in particular, may well be a path less well travelled, but for those who fancy an alternative adventure, it will surprise and delight. We felt that we had enjoyed a unique golfing experience.
The courses we played were of quality, and all of them well presented. The hospitality we received was warm and enthusiastic, the food delicious, and the landscape dramatic.
And the beer - now, when you get sick of paying £7 a pint for joke lager, consider a pint of delicious frothing Pilsner for 2 euros a pint. That’s a sobering thought. But seriously, where North Moravia really wins is the value it offers. Like, for like, versus the rest of Europe, it wins hands down.