Undiscovered Gem

Story by Sam Gole – Discover Golf Magazine

If you’re a golfer who enjoys finding undiscovered golf destinations, you’re in luck! Slovenia, which is located in the heart of Europe where the Alps meet the Mediterranean Sea, has 13 golf courses. And most are easily accessible within an hour’s drive from Ljubljana—its capital city.

If you consider the attractiveness of the region and courses, and the quality and accessibility of its courses, makes for an interesting golf destination, Slovenia stacks up very well indeed!

The only country in Europe that combines the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst, Slovenia’s landscape is constantly changing.

You can have one eye on the sea, then look in the other direction and be surrounded by high mountains. Heading up into the forests, you can see the green plains below you. From upland meadows, your view stretches into river gorges.

The collision of four major European geographical units has created a very invigorating landscape, much of it thickly forested. More than a third of the country’s area is protected.

The most mountainous region is the north, where the Alps begin. The Julian Alps and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps have many stunning sharp peaks. The peaks of the Karavanke, the mountains bordering Austria, are more gentle.

Much of the east of the country between Ljubljana and Maribor is uplands, as are the areas west and south of the capital.

There are gentler hills in the south-east and east, where the vine flourishes, while plains and basins populate the areas between the hills. The Ljubljana region lies in the largest basin.

Slovenia also has a large plains area, as the east of the country is part of the Pannonian Plain.

Not only is the land surface very invigorating, there are also wonders underground; some of the country’s 9,000 karstic caves are among the most beautiful in the world.

Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe. Almost 60% of its territory is covered by forest.

Wine lovers may be interested to know that Maribor, Slovenia’s second-largest city, is home to the oldest vine in the world. Although it is over four hundred years old, its Žametna Črnina grapes still produce 25 litres of wine every year.

When compared with neighbouring countries, Slovenia has one of the largest number of religious buildings per capita in Europe. There are almost 3,000 churches, chapels and religious monuments around Slovenia.

The geographical and climatic variety and diversity of Slovenia mean that in a single day you can pick autumn fruits in the morning, bathe in the Adriatic in the afternoon, and go night skiing in the evening.

This small and very green country has 13 golf courses with over 8,000 domestic golfers. The majority of golf courses are accessible within an hour’s drive from the capital city of Ljubljana.

Slovenian golf tradition started after the World War II. Bled Golf Course was the first golf club for the then Yugoslav king and was built in 1938. This 27-hole golf course with magnificent mountain views and an iconic alpine lake nearby is still one of the most popular in Europe.

Otočec is a charming town in the south of Slovenia, located along the emerald river of Krka. Otočec golf course is one of the most modern and, at over 6,000 metres, is one of the longest Slovenian layouts. It is located just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Otočec Castle which offers a prestigious boutique hotel and a luxury restaurant.

The Arboretum Golf Ljubljana course, near Kamnik, is surrounded by pine forest and small lakes. The view of the Kamnik Alps and the Arboretum, with more than 3,500 plant species and one of the richest plant collections in Central Europe, promises an excellent experience. This varied golf course with 18 holes is a challenge even for the most experienced golfers.

Ljubljana can boast the Diners Club Ljubljana course with 18 holes, which is located near the popular Šmarna Gora. This picturesque golf resort with wooden facilities offers night golfing.

Slovenia was named as the ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2015’ by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).