With only a handful of courses available in the country, and very little investment into the sport, Russia has never been the front-of-mind destination for golf holidays. However, things seem to be changing, especially now that the country has its first PGA standard golf course. Lying 100km west of Moscow, the area surrounding the humble town of Zavidovo has long been a preferred hunting ground for the political elite of Russia and the Soviet Union. Now, though, it is attracting visitors who are looking for a different kind of prey: birdies, eagles, and maybe the odd albatross. The club offers a wide range of lessons and the course is challenging enough to offer variety even on the second, third and fourth visit. The Zavidovo PGA National Russia truly is a course for every level of golfer.
The Zavidovo PGA National Russia first opened in 2012 and was the 50th major project of design group European Golf Design. With construction managed by industry specialists Braemar Golf. The course was modelled on those on the east coast of Scotland with wide fairways, seemingly natural water barriers and heather-lined bunkers. Each hole on the 7,400 yard 18-hole golf course has a different character and is designed to allow strategic gameplay. The course designers saved the best for last. And the biggest challenge on the course is the par five eighteenth-hole, which requires a lot of concentration and skill, particularly when clearing the large water hazard.
Playing a round
The PGA National Russia is a private golf club but is available to the general public. It provides that they are a guest of a club member, a group with a reservation, or staying at a partner hotel such as the Radisson Resort and Spa Zavidovo. To arrange a tee time, just ask a hotel concierge who will be more than happy to help. There is also a 9-hole training course available for new players to practise on. So you may want to also ask if the hotel can book you a lesson. Golf buggies, clubs, and boots are all available for hire and for anything else. Pop into the on-site Golf Shop, which sells PGA Russia products.
After the 18th hole
After a long round of golf, relax in the course’s clubhouse. The second floor restaurant offers fine dining overlooking the golf course. And you can unwind with a drink on the terraced area downstairs. There are also a selection of bars and a cigar lounge. Alternatively, head back to your room at the Radisson Resort, or rest your tired legs in the sauna, hammam and jacuzzi in the hotel spa. Before you leave, see the golf course from above by booking a helicopter excursion, test flight, or beginner pilot training.