Not a cloud can be seen in the blue above Crans-Montana on that last Friday in September. The sun is high in the sky, and yet the air is fresh, cool and clear. You could easily spend all day just breathing. Or playing golf, just like all those who take part in the Best of the Alps golf tournament that has been attracting golf lovers to the most spectacular alpine destinations for eight years. This time, the stage is the 18-hole course in Crans-Montana, named after famous golf pro Severiano Ballesteros.
"Many know the golf course through the annual European Masters Tournament, a televised event, and that's why a lot of golfers want to play here. And of course the panorama is unrivalled: There are 42 four-thousanders in the surrounding area, many of which you can see while playing," says Sammy Salm, CEO of Best of the Alps. He also takes part in the tournament today, on this course that let’s you admire Mont Blanc and Matterhorn - if you allow yourself to take your eyes off the little white ball for a moment.
The advantages of golfing in alpine climate
Crans-sur-Sierre is one of four golf courses in Crans-Montana. Right next to it is the 9-hole course "Jack Nicklaus", which has been voted the most beautiful 9-hole course in Switzerland four times. Swiss precision obviously is not only to be found in pocket knives. Golf pros and amateurs both appreciate the great care and attention to detail that is standard here. And as every golfer knows, the altitude has positive effects not only on the players’ breathing, but also on the game: "The very good players notice that the ball flies further above a certain altitude because there is less drag," Sammy Salm explains.
Golfing in the Alps is becoming increasingly popular. "Golf as a whole is stagnating a bit, but in the mountain destinations it is becoming more and more popular - probably also because of the hot summers. It is cooler up here, but still warm and less humid. Many golf courses still welcome 100 players a day even at this time of year," says Sammy Salm.
Also, many people no longer go skiing. They find it hectic and stressful whereas golfing in summer and autumn helps them to unwind and slow down. “The vibe in the towns and villages is completely different to the winter months, when everyone is after the powder rush. In summer you can sit out on the terraces, go shopping in all these beautiful shops and just enjoy all these places much more,” Sammy Salm tells us. And of course, locals also benefit from the golfing trend in the Alps. Locals and tourists mingle on the course, making it fun and interesting for everyone. After all, golfing truly connects people.
Jan. 14, 2019