In case you didn’t know, St. Petersburg has more to offer than just art galleries and museums. For lovers of nature and sport, if you haven’t discovered GORKI Golf Club yet, then now is the time. As the first 18-hole golf course in the north-western region, GORKI golf club certainly holds some prestige. The vast, rolling green course spans across 6505 metres and is conveniently located just 50km outside of St.Petersburg. GORKI Golf Club embraces Scottish ancestral traditions in the design of its inlands, while maintaining modern landscaping technologies to ensure the course provides the best conditions for the sport.
History The history of the club first requires a reflection on the history of golf itself; most accept that the first golf club was opened (and still exists today) in St. Andrews in 1754, followed by the first women’s golf club in 1759. Whilst golf crept across the Scottish border in the 18th century, it was not until the 19th century that the sport made its way to St. Petersburg. According to legend, the first 9-hole course appeared in the late 19th century in Murino, near St. Petersburg, after British settlers introduced the sport. Golf had neither been seen nor played before in St. Petersburg, and as a result, it attracted a lot of attention from spectators. It was under the influence of the Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich, that the first Russian golf club, the Cannes-Mandelieu Golf Club, was opened in France, in 1891. Mikhail Mikhailovich is not just famous for golf however, and the story behind the Grand Duke is reminiscent of a modern day soap-opera. The Duke, who was of the Romanov family, became embroiled in scandal after secretly marrying Sofia Merenberg, who whilst being the granddaughter of Pushkin, was not royalty. This left Mikhail Mikhailovich in disgrace for ten years. Scandals aside, jump forward by a few decades, to the period of the Soviet Union, and the game had long been losing popularity. However, from the late 1980s onwards, a revival occurred, and in 1987, the first golf club was opened in Russia. Since then, the sport has gained popularity and prestige and now there are multiple golf courses across Russia. As we approach the Olympic Games this year in Brazil, we are also approaching a historical moment for golf itself, as for the first time since 1904, golf will be included again as a sport in the Olympics.
Gorki golf club The ethos at GORKI is one of a harmonious community who all share a love of golf and respect for the historical values and philosophy of the game. For anyone who is a golfer, you will know that golf is more than just a sport, but a way of life; it demands a certain etiquette, a certain dress code. GORKI values this ethos as something that should be imparted onto future generations, and just as they train young people in the sport, they also train them in the values for life. From a classical sporting education to an understanding of higher morals, GORKI Golf Club aims to raise the children of the sporting future. The Club operates a Golf Academy with a driving range, chipping and putting greens and three training holes. The opportunities at the club are endless for people of all ages. To begin, the club offers opportunities for golf lessons, and training with accredited Professional Golf Association Instructors. For those that enjoy the familial atmosphere of the golf club but do not enjoy taking part in the sport itself, there are plenty of other options; you can embrace your inner Serena Williams on the tennis courts, or kick a ball around on the football pitches. Or of course, for the truly leisurely, just enjoy the opportunity for totally secluded relaxation. The Club is complete with a large clubhouse and a restaurant that spreads across two floors, offering both Russian and European cuisine. One of the real perks of GORKI Golf Club is the opportunity to socialise, in the friendly, tight-knit community. If you’re the kind of person whose mind is always at work, GORKI is ideal for networking; you can play a round of golf while discussing next week’s business with colleagues, in the beautiful surroundings of the course. Whilst the golfing season only lasts from May 1st until November 1st, during winter the club constructs rinks for skating and ice hockey, as well as slopes for skiing and Finnish sledging. However, golf fanatics need not be worried about the onset of winter, because located at the Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge, there is an indoor academy, which uses a high-tech golf simulator, Golfzon GDR. The genius of the simulator, is that it allows golfers to play on courses anywhere in the world, using built-in software which seemingly transports you to a golfing reality despite not leaving the room. If you’re really keen, you can even hold online competitions with other users throughout Russia. There is also a spa and fitness centre to occupy the long-suffering golf spouses who are not quite so interested in the game! GORKI Golf Club in many ways, presents itself as more than just a place to play sport, but also a place to establish part of your life. The club sees young golfers go from amateurs to professionals, it has witnessed marriages and new friendships, it is somewhere you can go to conduct business, relax and socialise. Set in such idyllic surroundings, with so much to offer, GORKI has truly become a much-loved establishment in St. Petersburg. If you have not had the pleasure of visiting, add it to your list. You may not be lucky enough to get a hole in one, but new friends, expansive nature and total relaxation are definitely par for the course here at GORKI Golf Club.