There are plenty of countries in Europe that come to mind when you think of a golf holiday – but playing golf in Austria probably isn’t one of them. This Alpine paradise at the heart of Europe is better known for its skiing in winter and trekking in summer, so you may be surprised to learn that it has more than 160 golf courses scattered around its beautiful countryside.
Go at the right time of year and you’ll get to play quality courses that aren’t too busy and give you some of the most jaw-dropping views on the planet. So, if you want a golf trip that’s off the beaten track but no less rewarding, Austria may well be the place for you. This guide highlights some of the best golf courses in Austria, as well as some of the most important things to consider when planning your trip.
When is the best time of year to play golf in Austria?
Given that one of the first things that springs to mind when you think of Austria is skiing, it’s fair to say that golf is pretty much a no-go during the winter months. You should also proceed with caution if booking in the springtime for some of the higher courses, in case the weather hasn’t fully improved.
Instead, we think the best time to go is in the fringes of the summer when the weather shouldn’t be too hot, so around June or September. This will give you the best conditions and views, and hopefully will help you avoid the peak holiday season when hikers, cyclists and climbers all come out to play.
The best golf courses in Austria
With so many courses, it can be difficult to work out where to go, especially if you’re only on a short trip and playing three or four rounds. To give you some inspiration, here is a selection of what we think are the best golf courses in Austria:
Adamstal Championship Course
This course is regarded as one of the very best in Austria, and perhaps one of the most picturesque you’ll find anywhere in the world. It was originally established as a nine-hole course in the mid-90s before being expanded into a full 18-hole course a few years later.
It’s an extremely undulating course – as you’d expect – and there are some excellent sights of the summit of the Unterberg to behold, too. In fact, it’s so easy to be drawn into the surroundings that it’s easy for you to lose your concentration and make a mistake, given the risk of your ball rolling the wrong way down the hillside.
Adamstal is also full of extra little touches and flourishes, such as names for every hole that reflect Austrian heritage, and a real par-three 19th hole that’s designed to decide any tied rounds.
Just outside the beautiful city of Salzburg is Gut Altentann, which opened in 1988 and was the very first European course that Jack Nicklaus had a hand in designing.
Get ready for water – and lots of it! A total of 11 holes have some sort of water hazard along the fairway, including two lakes. The 3rd, with a stream punctuating a dogleg, is perhaps one of the hardest holes on the course, along with the 18th which is laid out in broadly similar fashion.
If you’re combining golf with an Alpine tour, then this course absolutely has to be on your list – and being so close to Salzburg, it’s easily accessible if you’re staying in the south-eastern corner of Germany, too.
Not far from Vienna, the Schloss Schonborn resort gives you a chance to enjoy a very unusual experience: a 27-hole round of golf. The resort is divided into three nine-hole loops, and with a bit of forward planning, it’s entirely possible to play all three of them in a single day – if your body is up to it!
All three loops are hosted in a woodland setting, meaning that there is a British feel to a certain extent, and you’ll also get to enjoy refreshments afterwards in the old manor house which now functions as a clubhouse. You’ll be playing right in the middle of Austrian wine country, too, so it’s the perfect excuse to have a well-earned glass at the end of a marathon round.
Fontana, to the south of Vienna, is one of the premier residential golf resorts in Austria, developed by the billionaire businessman Frank Stronach. And when you play the course, which first opened back in 1996, you’ll quickly see that very little expense has been spared in its development.
Perhaps the centrepiece of the Fontana landscape is the huge man-made lake which dominates the back end of the round. Much of the soil that was excavated to create that lake has been used to shape some fascinating and challenging fairways. Sand and water hazards abound here, so accurate driving is key to a good score, but it’s a very rewarding course to get right, and it complements the luxury feel of the resort very well.
Mondsee in Upper Austria was created in the 1980s on the site of a farm where cattle used to be reared for beef production. But stick with us on this one, because it’s a much more enjoyable golfing experience than its history makes it sound!
It’s a relatively short course by modern standards, coming in at 6248 yards, and it’s made up of two nine-hole loops. Each loop ends in the same way, with a long par-five that follows the side of a lake. Watch out for two tricky par threes towards the end of the course, where an accurate tee-to-green shot is essential to avoid the water hazards in your way. Mondsee is a beautiful course in a typically charming and peaceful Austrian environment.
You’re probably wondering if there are any golf courses in Austria which are properly nestled in the heart of the Alps. The answer to that question is yes: and perhaps the best of them is the Wildmoos course at the famous Tyrolean ski resort of Seefeld.
Opened in 1970, the Wildmoos course leans heavily on the natural contours of the landscape, rather than depending on artificial features to bring interest and challenge. The course is located more than 4000 ft above sea level, and the thinner air means your ball will travel further, making it feel even shorter than it really is.
The layout is hemmed in by trees in many places, and there is plenty of height variation to get your head round, too. A couple of things to remember, though: you may need a buggy to get round some of the hillier parts if you aren’t especially mobile; and the course is only open between May and October.
Golf in Austria: key things to know
Planning a trip to play golf in Austria is a very different proposition to your standard adventure to courses in Spain and Portugal. Part of that is down to the weather: Austria can be very hot in summer, very cold in winter, and conditions can be unpredictable most of the time (just like the UK!). So, when you pack your clothing and equipment, make sure you’re ready for all eventualities, even when travelling in the peak season.
Another important thing to consider is that Austria can be an expensive place to visit, in terms of accommodation options as well as your food and drink when you’re out there. If you’re trying to keep to a budget, then it’s worth researching extensively and working out likely costs day-to-day before you go. Factoring in the cost of insurance at this stage can also be useful in helping you keep the finances on a tight leash.
Get golf insurance with SportsCover Direct
It’s good practice to take out insurance cover for any golf trip abroad, but if you’re travelling with your precious golf clubs, then it’s even more important. If they are lost in transit, suffer damage or are stolen, then aside from the sentimental impact, you’ll also face a sizeable bill replacing them. What’s more, it can also cause substantial disruption to your trip if you’re unable to play rounds that you’d already booked.
SportsCover Direct’s comprehensive golf insurance can make sure that you don’t lose out financially when the unforeseen happens travelling for golf in Austria. That way, you can relax and make the most of your trip in the knowledge that any unfortunate circumstances won’t hit you in the pocket.
Find out more on our golf insurance today, including our flexible monthly payment plans and affordable pricing.