New No.1 courses for Poland and the Czech Republic
Having visited Hungary and Slovakia earlier this year, we revised our listings for both countries a few months ago so there’s no need to produce a biennial report for the Visegrad (V4) Group (both nations are members) as we did at this time two years ago. Instead, we’re refreshing the rankings for the other two countries in that central European political and cultural alliance, Poland and the Czech Republic.
The big news for Poland is that Sand Valley becomes our new number 1 course, climbing one place from the runner-up position to the top spot. The course experienced quite a number of serious difficulties during the early days of construction more than a decade ago but it’s overcome all the initial hardships to emerge as the nation’s top track. Designed in the style of an inland links, Sand Valley is considered by many to be one of the best new courses to emerge from central Europe in the new millennium.
The highest placed course among the other chart climbers in our revised rankings is the 18-hole layout at Rosa Golf Club, near Czestochowa, in the southwest of the country, which progresses one place up the standings to number 3. It’s said that a million cubic metres of earth was moved here during construction, with a series of interconnected lakes creating most of the playing strategy at this top class private golf club.
Our lone new entry at number 9 is the Martin Hawtree-designed layout at Mazury Golf & Country Club, where the renowned architectural firm completed its first central European project in 2002. The course is set in hilly terrain near the village of Naterk, within the Masurian Lake District, and the club very recently enhanced its off course facilities by opening the largest clubhouse in the country, incorporating a 20-room hotel in the upper two floors.
|1||Sand Valley||Up 1|
|2||Modry Las||Down 1|
|4||Postolowo - Gdansk||Down 1|
|5||Krakow Valley||Up 1|
|6||First Warsaw||Down 1|
|10||Binowo Park||Down 1|
To view further details of the Poland Top 10 click the link.
Like Poland, the Czech Republic also has a new number 1, with Albatross moving up one place to the top of the table. Designed by Keith Preston, who has laid out several top tracks around the country, the course lies close to the Czech capital, hosting the Czech Masters European Tour event for the last four years. A recent reviewer was impressed with his visit here, describing the course as having “all the things you’d expect from a championship design; penal rough, plenty of bunkers and water hazards in play.”
The Old course at Prosper Golf Resort Celadna re-enters the top half of the table at number 8, having slipped down to number 12 when we re-ranked two years ago. Located in the heart of the Beskydy mountains, this 36-hole golf facility is where Miguel Angel Jimenez cut his architectural teeth, designing the first eighteen holes to open for play in 2001. The par three 15th, played to an island green, is the most memorable hole on a really solid layout.
Another course to make a splendid upward move is Cihelny, formerly known as Astoria, advancing five places to number 9. Situated within the Slavkovsky Forest in West Bohemia, this 18-hole layout is a Gary Player Signature Design that our German correspondent Ulrich played a while back, saying “the routing through a valley, complete with stream, trees and assorted slopes can only be called inspired… what a light-hearted layout and how comfortable it sits on the land!”
The only new entry to make our revised Top 20 chart is the Frantiskovy Lazne course at number 11, which sits less than one kilometre from the German border in West Bohemia. Co-designed by German and English architects, Heinz Fehring and Peter Walker, the course lies on the edge of a huge forested region that extends far and wide, where fairways have been literally carved through the pine, spruce and birch trees.
|2||Casa Serena||Down 1|
|3||Karlovy Vary||Up 1|
|4||Royal Marianske Lazne||Down 1|
|8||Prosper (Old)||Up 4|
|11||Frantiskovy Lazne||New entry|
|12||Kaskada - Brno (Wooden & Stone)||Down 4|
|14||Monachus (Mnich)||Up 1|
|15||Kuneticka Hora||Down 6|
|16||Konopiste (Radecky)||Down 3|
To view further details of the Czech Republic Top 20 click the link.
If you’re unhappy with any of our selections then by all means let us know what you’re thinking. Have we missed a course that should be ranked or is there one listed that really shouldn’t be there? Maybe we’ve got a course placed too highly or we’ve allowed one to fall too far down the chart? Whatever your opinion is, don’t hesitate to click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or bottom of this page to let us know your thoughts.
Top 100 Golf Courses