© IDM South Tyrol-Alto Adige/Helmuth Rier

The 5 most spectacular golf courses in the mountains

A lively debate still wages about where golf was originally invented – but most can agree that the beautiful game is even better when played in the mountains.

August 5, 2022

Anyone can hit a ball on a smooth, flat fairway. Hitting said ball on a steep mountainside is a skill that requires you to keep your upper body at an angle of 90 degrees to the slope. In short, it takes considerable physical fit- ness to play alpine golf, but the rewards are ample, starting with the scenery. On some alpine courses you cross streams and forests with the most beautiful land- scape as a backdrop. While some golfers head to the hills for the panoramic views, others seek the sporting challenge. Plus, at higher altitudes the air pressure is lower, so there is less resistance, adding distance to your drive – and guaranteeing an endorphin high.

Die spektakulärsten Golfplätze

The Seefeld-Wildmoos golf club sits in picturesque countryside. © www.stephanelsler.com

Who invented it?

In a sport so universally popular it’s only natural that there should be a degree of rivalry among nations as to where it was first played. The Scots are a putt ahead, but there are theories that have Holland, France and Flan- ders as the birthplace. Even the ancient Egyptians and Romans played a game that greatly resembled golf, with a ball and clubs – however, the boundaries between pro- to-golf, hockey, baseball and billiards were fluid. What is fully documented, though, is the first written use of the name “golf” in 1457, in an Act of the Scottish parliament that sought to ban the sport, declaring it a distraction from the more important prac- tice of archery.

Golf pros craving a challenge tee off in the mountains in summer. © Valentin Luthiger

The Act was unsuccessful, and in 1735, the Royal Burgess Golfing Society was founded, the first golf club in the world. Since then, the sport has become increasingly popular – particularly in the US – and there are few places in the world today where you can’t find a golf course. The highest playable course is the La Paz Golf Club in Bolivia at an altitude of 3,291 metres. The oldest golf player to complete an 18-hole round was Arthur Thompson from British Columbia in Canada, who set this record at the sprightly age of 103. The youngest golfer to get a hole in one was a mere four years old at the time.

The most spectacular golf courses in the mountains


Die spektakulärsten Golfplätze

The Achental valley delights with large lakes and lush green meadows. © The Achental Chiemgau

Location: Grassau (Bavaria/Germany)
Length: 5,475 meters (men's tee)
Course: 18-hole, par 72
Course rating: 69.9 (men)
Suitable for: scratch and bogey players
Highlight: Large lakes and natural meadows with a lovely halfway house serving delicious refreshments.


In the Tyrolean mountains, golf is idyllic in Seefeld. © Shutterstock

Location: Wildmoos in Seefeld (Tyrol/Austria)
Length: 5,221 meters (men's tee)
Course: 18-hole, par 70
Course rating: 69 (men)
Suitable for: all handicaps
Highlight: Exhilarating location with views over the peaks and ranges of the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountains.


Die spektakulärsten Golfplätze

Switzerland's Goflplatz is popular for its closeness to nature and ancient trees. © Shutterstock

Location: Ascona (Ticino/Switzerland)
Length: 5,578 meters (men's tee)
Course: 18-hole, par 72
Course rating: 69.4 (Men)
Suitable for: scratch and bogey players
Highlight: Magnificent mature trees and beautiful natural setting; a flat course with technically demanding aspects.


Voulez-vous jouer une partie de golf? © Shutterstock

Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (France)
Length: 5,441 meters (men's tee)
Course: 18-hole, par 72
Course rating: 69.5 (men)
Suitable for: scratch and bogey players
Highlight: Stunning location in a valley between the massif of Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges mountains.


Die spektakulärsten Golfplätze

The picture-book backdrop in San Vigilio makes for a picturesque backdrop when teeing off. © Golf Club San Vigilio

Location: San Vigilio in Siusi (South Tyrol/Italy)
Length: 5,017 meters (men's tee)
Course: 18-hole, par 69
Course rating: 67.2 (men)
Suitable for: all handicaps
Highlights: Unrivaled location at the foot of the famous Seiser Alm; par 3 with the greatest altitude difference in Europe at hole 15.

Text: Karin Cerny, Katharina Florian and Michaela Hessenberger

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Summer 2022.

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