It was only recently that the game of golf was recognised in Russia as a professional sport; about a decade ago it was deemed more a novelty activity, a leisurely pastime of foreign businessmen and diplomats. So despite it being the world’s biggest country, as a golfing nation, Russia is relatively small. This is also due to the adverse natural conditions in most parts of the country and the enormous cost in creating courses here. However the golf industry in Russia is growing despite this. There are currently 30 different golf courses in the country with more in the pipeline at different stages of planning and construction.
Russia’s impressive capital was the clear choice for the very first golf course and after a publicity stunt in the late 1980s involving Sean Connery and hockey champion Sven Tumba, the Moscow City Golf Club was opened, a 9-hole course in the heart of the city. But it was the Moscow Country Club, the first 18-hole course, which put Russia on the golfing map. Opened in 1993, two whole decades after the initial idea of building a championship golf course in Russia was proposed by American executive Armand Hammer as way to encourage foreign investment, the course was designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. who routed the holes through a Birchwood forest in Nakhabino explaining that the layout was “designed to be a very traditional parkland course… the concept is classic strategy with hazards placed to create risks and rewards thus providing exciting, enjoyable golf.” The Moscow Country Club has played host to a number of major golf competitions, including the Russian Open, the country’s first professional golf tournament.
Similar to how their young golf industry now sits within the setting of elaborate Russian history, its capital offers a heady blend of both old and new. Whilst the world famous Red Square, indisputably Moscow’s beating heart, continues to wow visitors with its unbeatable historic grandeur, it’s the vibrant pockets of hip bars and cafés that now define modern Muscovite life and give it an unexpected New York feel. From the 16th Century St. Basil’s Cathedral -one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world, to the former Red October chocolate factory on Bolotny Island -taken over by edgy clubs and contemporary art galleries, there is an impressive dichotomy that keeps everyone on their toes.
Turkish Airlines fly to Moscow from both Istanbul and Antalya, so book a flight at www.turkishairlines.com/Book-Now to discover the city’s intriguing past as well as its dynamic modernity and enjoy a round of golf in between.
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