18 beautiful Bohemian holes
Written by: Libor Ševčík
While the Hones Golf Club course in Písek-Kestřany was only opened last year, it fits into the typical southern Bohemian countryside so well that it looks like it’s been there forever.
Photo: časopis Golf
JAKUB KRČÍN, 16th-century nobleman and famous pond builder, had no idea what golf was when he landscaped the fishponds, century-old oaks, lovely meadows and parks that now characterize the southern Bohemian region, but his work seems made for this increasingly popular sport without any great modifications. This is proven by both the flat eighteen-hole course right beneath Hluboká castle and by the rolling nine-hole course in Písek-Kestřany. In fact, all that was necessary was to sensitively insert attractively shaped greens into this pure golf landscape, lay in sand traps, and correctly estimating distances from tees. The course is a par 70, with a total length from the yellow tees of 5,224 meters, and it’s enjoyable for both advanced players and beginners alike.
The project is credited to the workshop of the famed golf course builder Kató of Japan. Therefore, completely within the style of large courses, the first hole is ideal for warming up, as is the second, although it has sand traps. The first water is encountered at three, where you also have to play to the left to an elevated green. Number four is perhaps the hardest. The drive must be long and straight enough for you to even get a view of the green up on a hillside. There is water to the left of the fairway and shrubbery to the right. Number five leads down from a hill, and even a weaker player can make par here. You can also par number six with precise shots, but if at the end your shot drifts to the right, it will wind up in the Hliněnský fishpond. The pond awaits you in all its beauty at seven, which is only 146 meters long, but the water surface seems to extend endlessly. Eight is the longest hole, and in addition you tee off towards the horizon. After a good drive you’ll encounter no greater problem. Nine is the cherry on top. Even weaker players can drive the green, only 97 meters away, but if you overshoot it you’ll be looking for your ball a long time, as the green lies on a knoll.
Whether your score is good or not, you’ll have a fine walk through a genuine southern Bohemian golf landscape.
The author is the editor of Hospodářské noviny’s IN magazine.
Photo: časopis Golf
|ADDRESSESHones Golf Club Písek – Kestřany
– Daily green fees:Week days – CZK 300 / weekends – CZK 500
– Getting there: From Písek it’s best to take the 3rd class to Kestřany (about 6 km from the main road). In the center of Kestřany turn right to the Ovčín area, and follow the signs to the golf complex.
More information and reservations at:
tel.: 603 286 066, firstname.lastname@example.org
Your favorite golf course?
“I have two favorites. The first is Royal Course, right next to the fine Barringotos hotel in Vale de Lobo, Algarve, Portugal. It’s a beautiful eighteen-hole course, somewhat hilly and right on the shore of the Atlantic. Number 16, called “Sweet Sixteen,” is unforgettable. The tee is on a high cliff below which the waves break, and the green is on the opposite cliff, and you have to drive over a chasm above a sandy beach that’s hard to get to. My other favorite is on the island of Mauritius. It’s called Legend, and it belongs to the Belle Mare Plage hotel on the island’s eastern side. I’ve probably never seen so many water hazards anywhere. No one keeps track of how many balls are lost in the sea. Local boys hunt for them and sell them back for small change.”
Royal Course, www.algarvegolf.net/courses/royal.htm
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