Alpine Golf - it's great and it's everywhere.

Alpine golf. That’s a phrase that’s used with all too common frequency by European national tourism boards. Too bad –for them – that we own the web site. However asleep at the switch as they clearly were one thing is for certain; if you are a golfer, there’s magic in the alpine air and they want you to  know it.  Right they are too. Where else can you enjoy your favorite sport with such truly memorable surroundings as the peaks and valleys of the European Alps?  True, most golf courses have startling scenery as a backdrop, but there is something unique in the alpine setting. Sparkling clean air is a constant bonus.  Rugged and stern looking mountain faces seem to analyze every shot and remain totally unconcerned at your golfing shortcomings. Warm, embracing, valleys that host not only your greens and roughs but, very probably, your accommodation as well are your playgrounds. Pick your location right and you are never too far away form an alpine golf course you can play on. Is all of this unique beauty of sight and soul in those very same destinations that boast some of the best winter sports destinations in the world? Well, yes, actually. 

In every major alpine country and near almost every major alpine resort or city you will find extremely pleasant golf courses. To be sure some will be difficult and almost impossible to tame. Try some of the real, side of the mountain courses if you want a lesson in handling frustration. No matter; what you lose in golfing confidence you can make up in exercise, fresh air and startlingly beautiful surroundings. For the most part however alpine golf is as good for the soul as it is for the game. For the purposes of the first coverage of the extensive number of golf courses in alpine Europe we will start with Austria in general sections of the Tirol and Salzburg provinces in particular.  Following that we will report on another country and hopefully by the time the snow melts and balls start whizzing we will have uploaded a comprehensive guide for you to read or download. And we will include featured destinations in our new “e-zine” on Activelifestyle travel. That will give you the opportunity to download and read lots of travel ideas to lots of different parts of the world. Let’s begin with the Tirolean capitol, the provinces’ famous and biggest city, Innsbruck. The golf in Innsbruck is enjoyed in mountain villages high above the bustling city. You may choose to base yourself in Innsbruck or indeed above or around the capitol in one of its satellite villages. No matter, it can’t get a lot better for persons wanting to combine golf with natural beauty. Here’s the golf rundown.

The village of of Lans has a 9-hole course, the par 66 Sperberegg is reputed to be moderately demanding and suitable for most levels of golfers.

Rinn features an 18-hole par 71 course that offers undulating fairways and magnificent mountain scenery. The club also offers a driving range.

The stunning village of Igls offers driving range and “target golf” facilities. Both courses offer all expected facilities and green fees at Rinn start from 45 Euro per day on weekdays. There are special packages for weekly and other packaged numbers of playing days. 

Kitzbuhel and the Kitzbuhel Alps region features choice of courses for all standards of golfers. The selection is between 9 and 18-hole courses and between sort of mountainside courses and the well prepared and groomed entries. There are 4 in all directly claimed by the village.

Let’s start with the Golf Club Kitzbuhel Kaps. There is a 50-year history to this 18-hole golf course and the season of 2005 will see it reopening as almost a stunning new entry. Indeed its extensive face-lift makes it more satisfying to golfers of all standards with improvements made on the greens and fairways. As the management must be busy preparing for the reopening there has been precious little attention paid to updating details on their web site so we have no idea what the green fees or programming are at this time. Watch this space.

The Golf Club Eichenheim is on the hills above the valley that leads from Kitzbuhel to Aurach. It too features 18 holes, but this is in much more rugged territory than the Kitzbuhel Golf Club. Set on the side of some moderately steep and rocky slopes the Eichenheim is a true challenge for golfers and an alpine golf course blessed with grand surroundings. However green fee prices of 65 Euro in low season and 80 in high are on the pricey side and will, in our opinion, keep many of Kitz younger summer visitors at bay. The course does a lot to attract new people to the sport however and offers a number of get to know golf days for beginners.

The Golf Club Kitzbuhel Schwarzee is too an 18-hole course and probably the most coveted of the area’s choices. The “Golf European Challenge Tour” was held here for the first time in 2003 and in our opinion this speaks volumes for course standards. The visually stunning Wilder Kaiser (Wild King) mountain and the unofficial “20th hole”  Schwarzee (the nearby lake) add to its marvelous setting. Green fees start at 66 Euro per day but there is a special concession for golfers under 18 during the week. They pay just 35 Euro. The course also offers some attractive 3-day golf packages for beginners and children.

The Golf Club Rasmushof is owned by and on the property of a hotel bearing the same name. This is a true 9-hole mountain course that can be mighty testing to those with limited alpine golf experience. The hotel offers great value golf weeks during the season and the course is a great place to enjoy the sun, the view and some good old fashion par-3 mountain golf.

In land Salzburg in the Europe Sport Region of Kaprun/Zell am See lies Austria’s biggest golf course. This world-class facility consists of two, 18-hole championship layouts. This unique setting offers the opportunity to ski on the Kaprun glacier in the morning and to play golf on one of the championship courses in the afternoon. The golfclub Zell am See/Kaprun was host to the OVB ladies open in 1994 and 95, as well as the OVB men’s charity tournament a little earlier. The latter attracted a number of the world’s best players, all of whom were impressed with the course standards. In fact Bernhard Langer still holds the course record of 66 shots.