How one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan capitals has made itself an affordable short golf break destination
By David J. Whyte
There was a time not so long ago when stag parties were all that Prague was famous for. That’s changed. Now, it’s far more sophisticated with great food, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, great transport infrastructure, and, you might be surprised to learn, great golf courses.
There is actually a long tradition of golf in the Czech Republic. The first golf clubs were founded over a century ago and there are now more than 100 courses throughout the country.
Club Albatross is only 35 minutes drive from the centre of Prague and, as the recent host of the Czech Masters, it is probably the country’s best course. To be honest, it’s as good as you’ll find anywhere in Europe. With lakes and trees forming its main defence, it’s a demanding test from start to finish and in peak condition.
It is one of a dozen decent courses surrounding the city. Thirty kilometres southwest is Karlstejn Golf Club, 27 holes overlooked by the impressive Castle Karlstejn. Playing across a steep, sloping landscape, it’s a fantastic place to play. Then you’ve got the Plzen Golf Club, its town famous for its Pilsner beer. Pilsner was first produced here in 1842 and a glass of Pilsner Urquell makes the 19th hole all the more appealing. The course is wooded before opening out at the 11th to a zesty par-3 challenge.
Golf Resort Konopiště D’Este is a resort with an excellent spa and wellness centre. It’s a bit further out of town so you could book a couple of nights here and enjoy its two challenging 18-hole courses, D’Este and Radecký, along with its excellent spa facility connected to the outdoor swimming pool. There is also a nine-hole public course.
Located on the eastern suburbs of Prague, Golf Resort Black Bridge offers accommodation in single-storey apartments set in the middle of the course with practice areas built outside most of the units. You could very happily work on your short game here from morning until night.
Loreta, meantime, is a slightly shorter course, which is a bone fide strategic test. Break par here and you’ll be doing very well indeed.
Appealingly, the cost of a golf holiday to Prague is roughly the same as a similar package to Spain or Portugal. Where it differs is the cost of food and drink and, when you tote that up, it adds up to a big saving. The universal gauge is the price of a pint and, in Prague, it takes some beating. A pint of delicious Plzner comes in around £1.13 per glass while a glass of house wine will set you back a mere £1.42. A three-course meal for two will be approximately £25, including a bottle of house red. So, it’s easy to see why Prague is rated the cheapest in Europe for food and drink. More to the point, ‘cheap’ does not mean ‘nasty’. Book a table outside in one of the dozens of fine restaurants around the Old Town Square – famous for its spectacular Gothic architecture – and watch the world stroll by.
Add in a wealth of non-golf attractions, such as Wenceslas Square, and friendly locals, and you have all the ingredients for a golf trip to remember.
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