GOLF IN CROATIA
[nivo effect=”fade” directionNav=”button” controlNav=”true” width=”600px” height=”360px”]
The grandeur and stylishness of this sport originated in middle ages in Scotland, certainly cannot be denied, since it generates a variety of facilities and attracts visitors of a high financial leverage. But in the context of our country, it also has an enormous tourism potential, to the extent that in metaphorical terms, it was called a „magic wand“ that can revive our islands and contribute to the exclusivity of national tourist attractions. precisely in these facts lies our interest in this touristic phenomenon – except for what golf can undoubtedly do for us, let us consider what we can do for Croatian golf.
Given that golf attracts fans since 14th century with unabated intensity, in our opinion there must be something to that sport, that magical je ne sais quoi factor (in french, „that certain something“)! Nowadays an invitation to golf, is a very recognizable symbol in the developed countries, and additional amenities and facilities that the sport generates, are capable of effectively improving tourist offer of any area.
Given the current situation in Croatia, where exceptional efforts of tourism professionals are focused on the expansion of our off-season offer, we can say that golf is not just a good idea, but a necessity. In fact, it is interesting to note that Croatia lost several organizational candidacies of international character, just because of the inability to offer the possibility of playing golf to the participants!
Ironically, thanks to its geographic features and a pleasant and mild climate, Croatia has a fantastic initial potential precisely for the development of this sport. Our abundant and diverse natural beauty contributes to the invigoration of body and spirit at the very heart of golf, as well as the dynamics of the game itself. In this regard foreign investors and experts are particularly interested in the area of Istria and the Croatian Zagorje castles, and in the Dalmatian coast and islands. Istria and Zagreb area are especially attractive because of the proximity of the existing golf courses in Slovenia and Austria (spatial distance is an important factor when it comes to motivation for players to go to another site), and Dalmatia and the islands due to the mild climate and the possibility of practicing golf all year round . The quality of the weather can really be crucial when it comes to the “fate” of a golf destination, as long rainy and cold periods can have a critical impact on their visitor frequency.
Development of golf on the islands, which enjoy beautiful weather even in the winter months, would be of particular importance, as it would encourage the expansion of tourist offer outside the summer season, which is the issue the tourism sector often faces.
Currently the most dominant golf destination in Croatia is Istria, which boasts as many as 14 potential sites for the development of golf tourism. First Istrian professional golf club, Golf Club Adriatic, is 6,360m long and stretches over 80 hectares, and there is an additional course of 4,690m in length. Undulating terrain and idyllic scenery make it equally interesting to the well-established players and beginners. Furthermore, one of the greatest golf courses in Europe is situated in Brijuni and was once the favorite destination of European aristocracy in the early 20th century. It offers the privilege of playing golf on the beach embellished by Mediterranean fauna. It is also necessary to mention a very active and competitive Golf Club “Motovun”, Golf Club “Medulin” and attractively designed driving ranges in Umag and on the Krk island.
In the area of Slavonia, there are plenty training grounds for long and short game, and Golf Center “Novi Dvori” in Zaprešić near Zagreb is one of the few sites that offers the possibility of playing at night.
In addition to the existing golf courses, there are new construction projects. One of the best known is the Golf Park Dubrovnik project, whose fields of 9 and 18 holes are personally designed by one of the greatest players in history, Greg Norman, who, according to the initiators of the project, believes that every playground must offer a unique, unforgettable experience.
Unfortunately, the development of golf in Croatia elicited numerous discussions which insinuate that the investments in this sport hide personal interests of individuals. As a magazine dedicated to the promotion of national tourism, we welcome every sincere initiative to hasten its progress, and in this regard we recognize the extraordinary potential of golf. Another type of controversy relates to the ecological threat to the area which would be turned into a golf course. Since golf has always been in accordance with nature, we support adherence to high ecological standards of construction, which wouldn’t disturb the natural balance or include invasive interventions on the environment.
Finally, if, for example, few years ago Turkey skyrocketed as a hit destination for fans of this highly profitable sport, we don’t see any reason why couldn’t we work out our own place in the golfers’ sun as well!