Vilnius – The Capital of Lithuania Worth a Journey for Golfers
Vilnius is rated as one of the most charming cities in the Baltic countries, a vibrant metropolis with a picturesque old part of town that boasts many historic buildings, churches, museums, shops, restaurants, bars and bistros. Unsurprisingly the capital of Lithuania has become one of the most popular destinations for city breaks particularly since Vilnius is served by different airlines from many European airports. However, to combine a city trip to Vilnius with a golf outing is still considered an insiders’ tip. But this might change soon since the Vilnius Grand Resort & Spa, the only golf resort in Lithuania, offers golfers one of the best courses in all Baltic countries. Located only 20 minutes from downtown Vilnius in a wooded area the resort is a haven of tranquility. The Five-Star-Hotel features 184 rooms of different categories, two restaurants, a spa and fitness center. The hotel offers a shuttle to downtown Vilnius so the hustle and bustle of the biggest city in Lithuania (population approx.. 520.000) is only a short ride away.
The centerpiece of the Vilnius Grand Resort is the golf course V-Club, built to USGA specifications. This 18-hole course (Par 72) is always immaculately maintained and can be played from four different tee boxes measuring between 6312 m (Championship black) and 5175 m (Ladies red) offering the right challenge for golfers of all capabilities. Water comes into play on 17 of 18 holes, at least when you veer off course too far. Golfers who dump too many balls in the hazards can always book a lesson with Swede Karl Grundin, the only PGA Professional in Lithuania. A spacious driving range, a short game area, a putting and pitching green are ideal for practice and/or warm-up before the round.
Most traveling golfers do not want to play just a single course. Therefore the Vilnius Grand Resort & Spa cooperates with the European Centre Golf Club and the Capitals Golf Club in the region to offer golf guests diversity. The “Europos Centro Golfo Klubas”, so the Lithuanian name of the club, is located about 30 minutes from the Vilnius Grand Resort & Spa north of Vilnius. This club gets its name because the “Institut Géographique National” (French National Geographic Institute) determined in 1989 that the geographic center (center of gravity of the geometrical figure) of Europe is located 26 km north of Vilnius near the village of Purnuškės. A monument composed by sculptor Gediminas Jokūbonis consisting of a column of white granite surrounded by a crown of stars, was erected at the location in 2004 and has become a tourist attraction and a popular photo subject. The first tee of the golf course is only a Par-5 away from its eponym. Players have to negotiate some elevation changes on this scenic 18-hole course. A creek runs through the course and some holes were built next to a small lake.
The Capitals Golf Club in Pirpiriske was founded in 2005 and is the oldest course in Lithuania. The club gets its name because the course is located close to the current capital Vilnius and the former capital cities Kaunas, Kernave and Trakai. Designed by Swede Peter Chamberlain the 18 holes meander through hilly terrain with a few water hazards. The course is playable for all handicaps. A trip to the Capitals Golf Club can also be combined with some sightseeing. One the biggest tourist attractions of Lithuania, the Trakai Island Castle, is only 20 minutes away from the course.
Helma Sheffler, Public Relations