Europe and Middle East, Golf Course Reviews, Newsletter, Switzerland, Valais, Verbier

Verbier Golf Club Reviewed, Switzerland.

27/06/2023 by .
Verbier Golf Club

Andy Mossack navigates his way around the two mountain courses of Verbier Golf Club in summer.

I’m in the rarefied air of the 2nd tee of Les Esserts, some 1,800 metres above sea level on the side of a ravine, staring at a seemingly impossible drive to a narrow fairway a few miles below.

“Seriously?”  I remark to my playing partner Rico, a course veteran, who had thankfully volunteered to guide me around this remarkable mountain course. “Trust me, it’s a doddle,” he replies taking an iron and smashing the ball skyward. His ball lands some five minutes later, and he says “See? Nothing to it.”

Verbier Golf Club

Verbier justly earns its winter reputation as a magnet for well-heeled skiers but come summer it wears a very different outfit. The mountain ranges are still magnificent of course, but now the ski runs are a verdant green, hikers and bikers are using the ski lifts, the sound of cowbells echo across the valleys, and Verbier Golf Club is very much open for business.

It was back in 1969 when Verbier Golf Club’s first course, Les Moulins, was laid out – right in the centre of town just as it remains today. It’s an 18-hole pitch and putt course on the site of the nursery ski slopes, and though it’s mainly used for short game practice and teaching, it remains a tricky challenge simply because of the elevation, the steep run-off slopes, and tiny greens.

Verbier Golf Club

Then, in 1992. Verbier Golf Club opened Les Esserts; a full-size 18-hole course, par 69. Ringed by the monolithic Les Combins and Mont-Blanc massifs, it incorporated every possible piece of armoured defence mountain golf can throw at you. I remember playing something similar in Isere France, up at the stunning Vercors Plateau, and thinking then that mountain golf is a completely different challenge to parkland and links courses. The air is thin, the landscape dramatic and there’s always free flowing mountain streams to navigate around.

And remember, these courses are only open during the summer months each year, so it’s remarkable how they can create such high-quality greens and fairways. Mountain grass is clearly very hardy.

Here’s what lies in store for you at Verbier Golf Club’s two courses.

Les Esserts

Verbier Golf Club

It’s just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Verbier to Les Esserts rustic clubhouse where a charming terrace, restaurant and warm welcome await. You take a glance at the card and see it’s just 4,867 metres off the white tees, but don’t let any of this fool you. A bit of a beast lies ahead, and It’s only when you take the shuttle up the mountain to the first tee do you realise, you’re perhaps in for more than you bargained for.

The clubhouse lies at around 1,500 metres with the first hole at 1,800 metres. It may not be long, but it is certainly tricky with huge elevation changes, blind holes, and a bubbling stream that seems to follow you across every fairway and catch every short shot to the green. You’re surrounded by a vast alpine landscape with Verbier nestling far below. Mont Blanc is around here somewhere, no doubt having a silent chuckle at your impending futility.

Verbier Golf Club

Verbier Golf Club

The holes snake their way back down the mountain, and you’ll find the golf course opening up a little as you play the last few holes, but up here, you need to plan every shot with precision.

There are more than a few memorable holes. All the par 3’s are fabulous, in particular, The 4th and  7th for me. The 4th is just 128 metres, with an elevated tee down to an island green, but there’s just air surrounding it instead of water. You’re also facing a huge downhill putt from the back of the green. The 168-metre 7th is brilliant. Another cloud-based tee, through a narrow gap between the trees before plunging down to a green on the edge of a precipice.

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The dogleg 10th with a massive run off to the right, the 11th, arguably the hardest hole with a dramatic view of Verbier far below and a blind second shot. And the 13th, where you just aim for Mount Rogneux and hit and hope.

And now back to that 2nd tee and my date with destiny. A small silent prayer, a committed swing, a great connection, and I hear Rico say those magic words “That’s perfect!”  Rejoice.

Verbier Golf Club

Les Esserts at Verbier Golf Club is a golfing adventure from start to finish and a wonderful example of what mountain golf is all about. If you succumb, you can always drown your sorrows with a cold one and some very tasty fare back at the splendid clubhouse restaurant.

Les Moulins

Verbier Golf Club

Les Moulins is a fun way to hone your short game or give a new player an opportunity to learn some course strategy. It’s an eighteen-hole pitch and putt with the longest hole at 65 metres and the shortest at just 45 metres. Once again, the alpine views are wonderful, and the mountain slopes and streams provide a stiff challenge for both high and low handicappers. The course is surrounded by impressive chalet homes and on one hole you play directly over someone’s terrace. Perhaps Verbier’s version of the tee shot over the hotel terrace at St. Andrew’s Road Hole?

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There’s the added bonus here in that the clubhouse restaurant is excellent. Frequented by most of the locals living around the course either for lunch or dinner, you probably won’t find a better wood-fired mixed grill or raclette anywhere else in town!

All images (C) Melody Sky

Tell me more about playing the Verbier Golf Club courses.

Verbier Golf Club Les Esserts green fees from CHF 80 (around £70)

Verbier Golf Club Les Moulins green fees from CHF 35 (around £30)

Please visit Verbier Tourism for more information on Verbier and Verbier Golf Club

Where to stay in Verbier in the summer

A three-night stay at 4* Hotel de Verbier, starting Sunday 02 July 2023, from £381 pp, including breakfast based on two sharing a room. During the summer season, and as long as you stay at least one night in Verbier, you can get a free cable car pass to access the mountain trails for the duration of your stay.

Getting to Geneva

Return direct flights from London Heathrow to Geneva from £102 with Swiss

Travel within Switzerland

Swiss Travel System provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the Swiss Travel System rail, bus and boat network.

This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in and around 90 towns and cities and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices start from £186 for a three-day second-class ticket.

A first-class, return train ticket from Geneva Airport to Verbier from £69

Golf Courses

Les Moulins Golf Course

Les Esserts Golf Course

Golf Club Verbier




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