Playing golf up a mountain is a rather special experience, with amazing panoramic views galore and varied and challenging golf courses. Here is a collection of our favourite highest golf courses up in the Alps – you shouldn’t quite get altitude sickness, but you’ll definitely be putting more effort in than usual! Unsurprisingly, France and Switzerland take most of the prizes for golf clubs at altitude, though Italy gets an impressive look-in with Europe’s highest 18 hole golf course…
Via Lattea Golf Course, Sestriere, Italy – 6,677ft/2,035m
With a particularly high aspect at over 2,000, Via Lattea Golf Course at Sestriere has been in action since 1932. It has quite a history behind it, having hosted the Italian Open in 1936, and Sestriere was one of the main venues for the 2006 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. As part of the Milky Way (Via Lattea), Sestriere is a popular resort with access to plenty of other Alpine villages and their facilities.
Tignes Golf Course, Tignes, France – 6,300ft/1,920m
Another golf club which claims the honour of “highest golf course” in Europe but seems comfortably a good deal lower than Sestriere’s course, Tignes Golf Club is nevertheless pretty high up, and it offers quite an original course. It has 5km of greenway and plenty of natural obstacles as well as sculpted ones. This course works for both beginners and experts – there’s some mini golf thrown in for good measure for the more light-hearted golfers – and opens from the end of June to the beginning of September. There is a nice video of what you can expect in from Tignes golf course here.
Arosa, Switzerland – 5,905ft/1,800m
Arosa in summer is easily as stunning as in winter, if not more so. Alpine lakes abound, and the place has been popular as a health retreat for over a hundred years. The golf course started in 1945 with nine holes, with the further nine bringing it up to size in 2001. It’s open from May to October, and is frequently being upgraded and improved, with a driving range added in 2007 and a new club house in 2009. It’s also probably one of more scenic courses in the Alps, and that’s saying something. See some pictures here.
Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland – 4,921ft/1,900m
Possibly one of the Alps’ most famous golf courses, complete with an 18 hole round named after Severiano Ballesteros, after the changes the great golfer himself made to the course. Crans-sur-Sierre has been around since 1906 and has built up a reputation as the best championship golf course in the Alps. From tree-lined fairways to vast, open pastures which make you feel entirely part of the Alps, this course has it all. Peaceful and beautiful, it’s a must for golfing enthusiasts. Some spectacular views can be found on their website.
Flaine-les-Carroz Golf Club, France – 6,407ft/1,953m
Flaine’s car-free, pedestrian-only village centre makes for a nice resort in the French Alps. The high-altitude golf course, Flaine-les-Carroz, is open from the end of June until mid-September, and comprises 3,693m of course over its 18 holes. Its altitude combined with its location means that you get awesome views over Mont Blanc, Jura and Aravis, and on a clear day you can see as far as Grenoble and Geneva. The summer months tend to have an average temperature of 20-25 degrees celsius, so it’s nice and warm without being sweltering.
Riederalp, Switzerland – 6,561ft/2,000m
Back to Switzerland and back up to a good solid 2,000m for our final golf club: Riederalp. Riederalp is situated on a high plateau in the Rhone Valley, which has the advantage of being surrounded by all the 4,000m peaks of the region, and has great views. There are various natural obstacles incorporated into the course, such as trees and lakes, and the course measures out to just under 3,100m long. It has a driving range and is open from June to October.