Veni, Vidi, Golf – the best courses in Europe
The continent who invented this sport 600 years ago in Scotland still conserves the charm and the flavor of its tradition. Let’s see which are the nearby countries and places where golf can be played and which are the costs involved.
Dozens of green hectares dotted with small flags from place to place; toy-like carts are crossing over a land that is neither plain, nor boring. It is about a menu of challenges, which sometimes is already tested, and at times is subjected to discoveries.
It is about people who dress up according to a code that is not written anywhere, but is respected by almost everyone. It is about polo t-shirts, chino pants and matching belts, special shoes, expensive caps and appropriate gloves, for those who need them. It is about golf clubs, maximum 14 allowed in each round, placed carefully in their own bag. It is about the caddy, who is not just a simple carter, but he is an outside help who see things clearly and whispers advice in the green silence.
This is golf – simplified to a colorful picture; a sport of the elites that will also be included in the Olympics Game, starting with Rio de Janeiro 2016. This is a sign that it is spreading more and more all over the world and its popularity is increasing. Not anyone can afford to practice golf, but those who do – or can do – are forever subjugated. And they are always searching for new places, different courses and clubs to test their abilities.
The modern origins of this sport go back to Scotland, when, in a somehow paradoxical manner, the first reference on this sport was mentioned in 1457. It wasn’t a positive reference, but an announcement made by King James II to forbid it, because it was considered a harmful distraction from the sport that was much more appreciated at that time: shooting the bow.
Since then, golf had spread and became a practice all over the world. The course doesn’t have fixed dimensions or areas, but there are two categories: with nine or with eighteen holes. Recent statistics are showing that the highest number of clubs and golf courses can be found in the United States of
America – over 17,000. After that, there is United Kingdom, but only by far – with approximately 2,700, followed by Japan – 2,400 and Canada – 2,300. Sometimes, tradition weighs more than the prestige of a place or of a country. And Europe, the continent who had invented golf, remains one of the most attracting areas from this point of view, having more than 4,000 clubs; some of them have a boost of popularity and occupy the first places in any specialized and honorable hierarchy.
After United Kingdom follows Spain, with more than 130 clubs, and Portugal, over 40 clubs – popular destinations for playing golf mainly due to the fact that they attract lots of tourists. Good weather helps with golf and tourism.
Most of the clubs are located in touristic areas, but the Spaniards also have a strong tradition of playing golf and have several players that left their mark on important tournaments. Despite all of these, France has over 350 clubs and Germany more than 220, which means more clubs than Spain and Portugal. Likewise, the Czech Republic is a country that is coming strongly from behind – it was designated the “Undiscovered Golf Destination” of the year 2007 by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.
If you were to choose between a country or a region to put your golf clubs at work, which one would be more appealing? The traditional countries of Scotland or Ireland? The green pastures of the Netherlands or Belgium? The sun-bathed courses of Spain, Portugal or Italy? The picturesque ensembles of France or the rigorous landscapes offered by Germany, Austria or the Czech Republic? Even countries like Bulgaria, Slovenia or Estonia come up in the specialized classifications. Here are some of the most popular golf destinations in Europe.