Stunning scenery of snow-capped alpine mountains? Brilliant sparkling pristine lakes? Sound good? Then Switzerland is sure to be a magnificent golf destination for you.
Boasting over 90 golf courses throughout the country, you can hardly make a bad choice of where to play. Almost all of the courses are within three hours travel time of each other allowing you to chase the ball by the lakes, through the forests, or up Mont Blanc…if you can hit it that far!
Here are the top five Swiss golf courses that are a ‘must’ play.
Golf courses designed by Pete Dye are very rare in Europe. Members of the Dye family are world-renowned golf designers from Ohio. The grounds of Domaine Imperial were part of a larger estate owned at one point by Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1859 his nephew, Prince Jerome Napoleon bought 750 acres and constructed ‘La Villa Prangins’ that now serves as the present day clubhouse.
After changing hands several times, course construction began in the mid 1970s and after nearly a half a million cubic metres of earth were moved, the front nine was available for play in 1987 with Seve Ballesteros teeing up the inaugural drive.
Pete Dye said, “When I design a hole, I want the par to be the necessary exam for all good players….I think I managed to find a good cocktail of different approaches, making the course more difficult than meets the eye.”
Domaine Imperial is about a 20 minute drive from the Geneva International airport.
Outside the world-class city of Geneva, where Lake Geneva flows into the Rhone, there lies the beautiful parkland course of Golf Club de Geneve. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, the course was opened in 1972.
The panoramic views across Lake Geneva are stunning and the course offers many tree lined, doglegged fairways with large greens including the shared green at the 9th and 18th holes. But watch for the 17th, a 176 yard par 3, that has caused many a good round to go bad.
The Golf Club of Geneva is also about a 20 -30 minute drive from the airport.
Formed in 1931, Golf Club de Lausanne was designed by Hermann Narbel and Donald Harradine. In the mid-nineties, Jeremy Pern conducted renovations to suit the modern golfing era.
Situated on the north shore of Lake Geneva, this course has most holes routed through forests of mature chestnut, birch and fir trees within hilly parkland. At the 12th hole you will find a shorter but narrow and difficult par four while the closing holes on each nine are long par fives.
Look through the trees and you will see magnificent views of Lake Geneva and beyond to the Alps. The panoramic view from each tee is breathtaking.
Lausanne has long been considered the most beautiful and challenging course in Switzerland
The 18 hole course at Schonenberg was constructed in the mid 1960s along the banks of the River Krebs, so expect water to come in to play on several holes.
Designed by the Harradine Company, Schonenberg is a natural, lie-of-the-land course in pleasant parkland and as such, very little earth was moved during its construction.
From mid-November to the end of February, the course is closed so do not expect any winter golf at Schonenberg. Located 15 miles south of Zurich, guests are welcome throughout the week however on weekends, must be accompanied by a member.
Another of Jeremy Perns creations, Vulsssens opened in 2001.
The front nine plays to a par 35 with three par 3 holes. But don’t get too comfortable, as the back nine plays much longer with three par 5 holes.
Located between the Jura and the Alps, Vulssens is nestled into rolling hills providing a terrific parkland course. Stemming from medieval times, the clubhouse and surrounding buildings create a rural atmosphere which sees first time visitors counting the days to when they can return.
After your round of golf, enjoy alpine skiing within minutes of any of these golf courses…and Switzerland, being a ‘neutral’ country, you are allowed at least one mulligan per nine, without penalty!