Blink and you’ll miss pop-up golf in the Swiss Alps
The highest golf course in Europe is getting ready to open its fairways for arguably the shortest season anywhere in the world.
Golf Mountain on Switzerland’s Adelboden’s Engstligenalp opens for play on September 10 for just six-weeks before closing again on October 25th.
Why? The answer is both brilliant and bizarre.
Golf Mountain is a pop up golf course.
In the same way that restaurants throw up kitchens in busy city streets, or music venues launch pop-up nights in unconventional locales – like disused warehouses – Golf Mountain is a temporary fix of tees and greens on a stunning Swiss mountainside.
The nearby resort of Adelboden is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers and mountain bikers in Summer and skiers in Winter.
It was the destination for the first packaged winter holiday in 1903, organised by Sir Henry Lunn, one of the founders of travel agency Lunn Poly.
In shoulder season it’s golfers who beat a path to this unlikely course and its popularity is beyond question. This is its fifth season proving that Golf Mountain’s pop up course is no passing fad.
The only part of the 18-hole course that is properly laid out are the greens, which are created from synthetic grass, and the temporary tees.
The rest of the course is Swiss mountain and all the obstacles, challenges and breathtaking beauty that brings.
Hazards include streams and rocky outcrops as well as swirling mountain winds and extreme weather conditions – one minute golfers might be in bright sunshine – the next in dense cloud.
The unpredictable conditions make this trip worthwhile as the views are so special.
Located 1,964 metres above sea level – making it the highest golf course in Europe -Engstligenalp is a nature reserve with breathtaking views over the village of Adelboden.
As well as the course, Golf Mountain has its own driving range and a traditional wooden Alpine chalet that is converted into a clubhouse every summer.
It has a pro, a pro shop for renting clubs, changing rooms, a cosy bar and rustic restaurant, serving local specialities such as fondue and raclette – a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese that is melted and scraped onto bread, potatoes, salad, cured meats and vegetables.
The green fee at Golf Mountain is CHF85 (approx £60), while a green fee followed by raclette in the Alpine chalet at the end of your round will cost CHF110 (approx £75).
Where to stay on Golf Mountain
Golfers can also stay up on Engstligenalp, at the basic but comfortable Berghotel.
Those seeking a few more luxuries may prefer to stay in one of the many hotels in the village of Adelboden (www.adelboden.ch), and use the cable car to access and exit Engstligenalp during the day.
How to Book
You can book a tee-time in advance by emailing email@example.com.
Golf in Adelboden
While in Adelboden there are other golf courses at Thun and Interlaken, around a 50-minute drive away (both are also easily accessible by public transport).
The Thun Golf Course is 9-holes and has an 18-hole putting course, driving range and spectacular lake panoramas.
The Interlaken Golf Course nestles between the Lakes of Thun and Brienz and has an 18-hole, Par 72 championship course and a driving range, ideal for both for beginners and low handicap players.
For more information on Adelboden and Golf Mountain, please visit www.adelboden.ch