Beautiful traps in a castle park
Written by: Libor Ševčík
The nine-hole golf course in Štiřín has both fans and detractors. Those who know and love cultivated nature and how to play it sing the courses praises. Those whose shots sometimes go where they shouldn’t curse it. Certainly Štiřín is full of natural traps and pitfalls where balls disappear forever.
THE COURSE is the work of Štiřín’s general director, Václav Hrubý, who is also famous for being at the center of a conspiracy involving the foreign affairs minister’s secretary Srba (currently in jail). Fortunately for the castle, park, and golf course, Hrubý was able to return to Štiřín and continue rehabilitating this interesting locality near Prague.
The course, sensitively laid out in the castle park complex, was opened in 1992. The microclimate there is pleasant: large water surfaces and the crowns of century-old trees form an environment where players and visitors are shielded from the sun’s burning rays. However, the park and its water surfaces are the toughest nut to crack for players. There are hundreds of rare timber species that must not be harmed. They’re marked as “biozones”, and balls that stray into them are lost. The same goes for balls that fall into the water hazards.
At Štiřín you must play mainly with your head. True, par is only 32, but the course puts your skill and supply of balls to a grueling test. The first hole seems simple, lying downhill from a hill, a mere 110 meters tee to flag. It’s best to aim just in front of the green so the ball can roll onto it. On the second, 224 meters long, you encounter water – in front of you and along both sides – and the green is hidden by trees. Number three is shorter, but you’ll need to get across a deep ravine under the tee for a birdie. Number four, at 295 meters, is Štiřín’s hardest – it’s narrow, and you have to get across a triple transverse water hazard that also runs along the right side. The ideal drive is 200 meters to the left side of the fairway, for which you have to thread the needle on your first try. A good lie means success.
Number Five (200 m) looks simple at first, but the branches of century-old trees can cruelly change your ball’s course. On number six (161 m), a great linden to the right can complicate your game. On number seven (95 m) even beginners can succeed, if they play a bit to the left of the green. On number eight the green is on a peninsula, which suddenly looks cursedly small. On number nine, the longest hole on the course (399 m), you need a good 160 meter drive, across a pond and between two huge trees. You can then calmly putt out, visit the park’s nice restaurant, and forget the hardships you’ve been through.
The author is the editor of Hospodářské noviny’s IN magazine.
– Getting there:
Štiřín is about 25 km from Prague’s center. From the D1, take exit 15 towards Velké Popovice and continue to Štiřín. Or take the old Benešov road (Rte. 603) and in Želivec turn off for Štiřín.
– Fees – daily greens fee:
ČGF members – CZK 600 (Sat.-Sun. CZK 800)
Others – CZK 900 (Sat.-Sun. CZK 1,000)More information and reservations at:
tel.: 255 736 551, 255 736 111, www.stirin.cz
Your favorite golf course?
“For various reasons, I’ve hardly played any golf at all in the last two years, but I definitely haven’t lost my love for it. And I’ve got to admit that I don’t just miss the game, I miss the contact with my golfing friends. I really hope to be able to properly enjoy my favorite sport this year. I’d like to spend a few days in France. They not only have great courses – after a round you can also relax at a fine restaurant over good food and wine. Playing golf in Dubai is also an extraordinary experience. Above all, when it’s winter in the Czech Republic, it’s a joy to play on their first-rate, perfectly maintained courses. In this country, I prefer playing on the Karlštejn course, of which I’m a member. We also organize the annual Čedok open there. They’ve done a great deal of work there in recent years, and it’s very well maintained.”
Karlštejn, Běleč 280, Liteň, www.karlstejn-golf.cz
SHOP: Golf Zbraslav
Last May Golf Resort Zbraslav was opened, boasting the largest golf equipment store in the republic. On the site of an estate that had been devastated by time and floods, a well-equipped training complex has arisen. The store has absolutely everything a golfer needs – clothes, shoes, matched sets of clubs, and of course separate clubs, balls, and many special accessories. Additionally, the operator is the largest golf equipment importer to the Czech Republic, Intermedia Grexim, the exclusive representative of such giants as Nike and McGregor, as well as fifteen other renowned manufacturers from around the world. A must-visit for golfers wishing to spoil themselves.Golf Resort Zbraslav, K Radotínu 15, Praha 5, www.intermediagolf.cz