Published on : Saturday, March 18, 2017
The thrill of playing on renowned golf courses that were far from home have always been tempered by the logistics of travel and the lack of local knowledge. Add to that the need to recruit likeminded individuals to join in the venture and suddenly a trip to Europe to play golf becomes merely a wistful and unrequited desire.
Does it? Is it just a dream, an unrequited desire? What if there was a way to combine visiting some of the most beautiful cities of Europe, such as Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, to name but a few? Add to that gourmet food every day, paired with sumptuous wines, and top it all off by playing Europe’s leading golf courses that host some of the European Tour marquee events such as the Porsche European Open, The BMW PGA Championship, The Solheim Cup and of course the respective Open Championships of the various countries?
The concept is simple if you can combine all the necessary elements, which LGT Golf and AmaWaterways have done. The two companies mixed 1 part golf fanatic with 1 part gourmet food and wine, 2 parts luxury cabin accommodation and a splash of sightseeing, shopping, and cultural immersions to create the exclusive luxury Golf River Cruise package.
The cruise and golf package is a 10 day holiday in the heart of Europe that starts with arrival in Prague or Budapest, and gives golfer the opportunity to play 5 leading golf courses and still see the amazing sights of Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, as well as some of the more historically important sights such as Castle Dürnstein where Richard the 1st (Lionheart) of England was imprisoned as he returned from the crusades from 1192 to 1193.
“I think that this is the real beauty of the product,” said Nicholas Boekdrukker, Managing Director of LGT Golf. “Guests have the opportunity to play the leading golf courses in Europe, see the most important sites and cities in 5 countries, and their hotel moves with them.”
Stuart Perl, Managing Director for AmaWaterways UK said, “The opportunity to combine our top-rated river cruises with the best golf courses in Europe really is a marriage made in heaven.”
The floating luxury hotel meanders along the Danube River, and each day passengers can take local excursions or immerse themselves in the local culture. The golfers, however, will have been whisked away in their luxury Mercedes V class van, and arrive at one of the leading golf courses of Europe.
“Everything will have been arranged in advance for the guests – their tee time, practice balls for their warm up and pull trolleys,” he added, “After their round, they will enjoy lunch in the clubhouse while their clubs are cleaned by our staff.”
This full service and attention to detail is something the self-confessed golf fanatic has picked up over the years playing on championship golf courses in Asia, the United States and in Europe.
“I have been privileged to be able to play some really fantastic golf courses around the world and especially in Asia. The more I played the more I wanted to play on courses where quality was the overriding factor.” he said. “
Those experiences have become the cornerstone of the luxury golf cruise that AmaWaterways have rolled out for 2017 and beyond. The golf courses, according to the brochure, have as a minimum criterion that they have hosted a European Tour, Ladies European Tour, Seniors Tour or Challenge Tour event in the last 5 years. Not so much because of the prestige of the events but much more because of the stringent requirements a golf course must fulfil in order to host an event.
“Our staff accompany the boat and the golfers throughout the trip, so that our guests will have the same friendly face greeting them every day. As avid golfers themselves, they will ensure that our guests have the best possible service throughout their trip,” said Mr. Boekdrukker, “This concierge service is the hallmark of LGT Golf.”
This starts with the welcome gift that each golfer receives at the beginning of their trip, and goes on throughout the entire trip and beyond.
On the Prague – Budapest route, the courses that are on the program have been designed by some of the best names in the business such as Jack Nicklaus and Bernhard Langer, and all 5 live up to their reputation as some of the best in Europe. Starting with 3 wonderful days in Prague, guests will play the Albatross Golf course, rated by Golf Digest as the best golf course in the Czech republic, and host of the D&D Real Czech Open. After a transfer to Vilshofen, the guests embark their vessel and enjoy the luxurious cabins and gourmet food on board.
The next Golf course is the Bernhard Langer designed Beckenbauer course which hosts the Porsche European Open. Returning to their ship, guests cruise overnight to the city of Linz. While non golfers take a day trip to Salzburg, golfers will go to the Diamond Country club, host of the Austrian Open. The 8th hole was redesigned by the enigmatic Miguel Angel Jimenez, and offers golfers a real challenge from the black tees.
The ship continues its journey with its golfers safely back on board to Vienna with stops along the way for passengers to explore the famous wine region of lower Austria and castle Dürenstein. In Vienna golfers have a day off to explore this Imperial city. On the next day, while the ship moves on to Bratislava, Golfers depart for the Penati Golf Resort and play the Jack Nicklaus designed Legends course, which features the only par 6 on the European Tour, a monster at 787 yards. Penati’s 2nd course, the Heritage was shaped by Mick McShane, who also shaped Kingsbarns and the K Club.
Golfers meet the ship in the late afternoon in Bratislava, and cruise overnight to Budapest. There they will play at the Pannonia golf and Country club, host of the Hungarian Open and Seniors Championships. A final evening is spent on the ship with a dinner evening cruise before disembarkation.
At the end of their Journey, golfers will have played the best courses of 5 different countries, experienced the sights and sounds of 3 European capital cities, and dined in luxury on the only river cruise ships admitted to the Chaine de Rotisseurs.
“We want our guests to have an incredible experience, and I believe that they will return home with a smile on their face having experienced some of the best golf Europe has to offer.” said Mr. Boekdrukker.