If you are interested in experiencing the best of the best and golf is your passion, Switzerland should be on top of your list: breathtaking views, celebrity-designed golf courses, exclusive networking possibilities, world class hospitality, top notch organisation are offered almost everywhere in the country.
But if you want to try what is – hands down – the number one destination according to professionals, then it has to be Crans Montana.
Why? Because of the world famous Omega tournament.
The Omega European Masters is one of the most prestigious golf competitions played on European soil. Located at Crans-Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf-Club is indisputably the most spectacular course on the European Tour schedule. Some of the past winners include players such as Spain’s Severiano Ballesteros, José Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, South Africa’s Ernie Els and Britain’s Lee Westwood.
Iconic hole n.7 doesn’t only enjoy magnificent views, but also leaves long hitters the chance to reach the par 4 hole from the tee.
This prominent tournament attracts a worldwide audience, and, as the Crans Montana website explains,
It is above all the exceptional setting that remains etched in the memories of those who play on the famous Severiano Ballesteros (18 hole) and Jack Nicklaus (9 hole) courses. It is difficult to concentrate on the little white ball when one of the most beautiful mountains in the Alps appears at every tee-off ! But in these surroundings, the mountains soothe and inspire golfers, and encourage unwavering precision and endless pleasure.
Maybe that’s why some of the professionals bought a chalet here and chose to keep training in this idyllic environment.
And if you, instead, are like me and play no golf, but travel with someone who does (in my case, my husband is the one who plays, and loves to “tick boxes” of best destinations and top hotels), then you might be interested in trying the legendary Crans Montana chalet life too, and get to know where to stay. There is a clear winner: Guarda Golf Hotel & Residences.
The first impression, when we checked in, was: this is like being at home. Maybe because of the cozy chalet decor – wood and a spectacular line of dashing red geranium everywhere. Or perhaps it was because the staff already knew our names, before we gave our documents.
The second small surprise came from the golf room – I expected just a cellar where to store the golf clubs, but instead found an elegantly furbished space which almost resembled a library.
The third impression came from our suite: a splendid, panoramic view over the golf course and the Alps.
Finally I loved our bathroom, with its champagne-coloured Italian limestone, deep bathtub and separate, large shower.
We looked at the hotel’s services. For golfers, a special Golf at the Top offer included one green fee per person per day on the Championship Ballesteros golf course, chip & putt in front of the hotel, after-Golf aperitif on the Terrace or in the Lounge, complimentary transfers around Crans-Montana and unlimited access to the Guarda Golf Spa.
While my husband was playing, I took my time to visit the award-winning Spa, which is the ultimate eye candy: even the sauna, here, has a view! A window showing the blue waters of the beautifully designed pool makes this facility very different from the average dark sauna. And the pool itself , I wasn’t surprised anymore, by now, has a view too – over the flowery terrace and immaculate golf course.
I also spent two hours in the gym because it was so welcoming: I warmed up watching the Swiss Alps, trained with the classic Technogym equipment, and tried the Golf simulator, which confirmed I’m not going to have a single digit handicap any time soon…
After the first day of tournament, both my husband and I were quite tired and had the longest sleep we had in years. I am not sure if it was for the super cozy bed, or for the total silence, or for both.
The morning after we enjoyed an excellent breakfast. A layered party tray loaded with fruits, bread and jams were given us as soon as we sat down in the sunny terrace. A smoothie of the day and vegetable juices were offered. The cappuccino was creamy to perfection – and believe me, I am Italian and I can tell the difference. Birds chirping and golf players in the background composed the sweetest soundtrack while we prepared for the day.
Was it a lucky moment, or was it the good sleep and relaxing environment? After the second day of tournament, we went home with a third place. And the feeling we just had a full holiday.