The village of Andermatt is located in the heart of the Swiss Alps at an altitude of 1450 meters above sea level. By car the village can only be reached via winding pass roads but despite this, Andermatt is still well connected to metropolitan areas like Munich (4 hours), Milan (2 hours) and Zurich (90 mins). Due to the high altitude of the village, the golf season is a bit shorter, but with a little luck golfers can play their first rounds of golf in May and still enjoy some of the ski pistes up in the mountains.
The Andermatt golf region has 4 golf courses to offer and we played the following ones on this trip: Andermatt Swiss Alps, Golfclub Andermatt Realp and Golfclub Sedrun. Golf Source du Rhône is the fourth course which we weren’t able to play this time.
The first stop on our trip was Golfclub Sedrun. From Andermatt you will need to drive around 30 minutes over the Oberalp Pass (2044 meters above sea level) to get to the course. Sedrun is located in the Swiss canton of Graubünden and its one of the very few places where people still talk a local Roman language called Romansh. Another interesting trivia is that the river Rhine runs through the course. As the source of the river is close to the Oberalp Pass, the Rhine is at this stage more a creek than a river though.
The 9 hole golf course is 2785 meters long and was designed by Peter Harradine. The setting is lovely throughout the course. You will hear the river Rhine and some cow bells of the roaming animals next to the course. The 3rd green is only a few meters away of the local church. But the golf course is actually quite interesting and fun to play too. It features three severely raised greens where your approach shots are really tricky. We also liked the two driveable par 4 holes of the course. The second one, the par 4 9th hole is the signature hole of the course. It’s the only golf hole anywhere where you need to play over the river Rhine. So overall a very fun and enjoyable course.
Golfclub Andermatt Realp
The second course we played was Golfclub Andermatt Realp. It’s also a 9 hole course and plays to a length of 4154 meters for 18 holes. Realp claims itself to be the most alpine golf course in the world. And probably rightly so!
It’s the only golf course known to me which does not only show the length of the hole but also the height difference on the tee markers. The club website suggests that the course is best played with a light carry bag. Selecting the right club for your next shot is a big challenge here: the altitude, the height difference and also the wind are factors that need to be considered. I really liked that the course has alternating tee boxes on most holes. If you choose to play 18 holes, you will have different angles and yardages the second time you play the hole. Overall the course is a challenging and a very unique experience that shouldn’t be missed when in the area.
Andermatt Swiss Alps
The newest course in the area is Andermatt Swiss Alps. It’s an 18 hole course which officially opened in 2016 and was designed by the well respected German architect Kurt Rossknecht. What you don’t see today is, that the course was quite a challenge to be built. One part of the course used to be a military test side and another part was mostly wetlands. It’s quite an architectural feat to play the course on dry and perfectly conditioned fairways as today.
The course is laid out on two different sections. The holes closer to the clubhouse are on the flatter part and feature quite a few water hazards and several well-placed bunkers. The strongest holes of the course are on the more undulated section though where several holes were beautifully built into the existing landscape and rocky outcrops serve as natural hazards. It also needs to be mentioned that Andermatt Swiss Alps is a very windy site. A morning round with no wind can play a few strokes easier than a round later in the day if the wind has picked up. Especially the 17th – a long par-4 – is a brute into the prevailing wind. But that only keeps things interesting and I wouldn’t get tired playing the course multiple times!
The Andermatt Swiss Alps golf course is part of a larger development project. Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris was invited to come to Andermatt in February 2005 to develop a tourism development concept for the region. Sawiris was very impressed by the Urseren Valley that he decided to present a project himself for which he founded Andermatt Swiss Alps AG.
A major part of the investment from Sawiris has been the development of the golf course but it also opened up opportunities for the construction, sale and operation of apartment buildings and hotels in Andermatt Reuss.
The development is very interesting from a property standpoint, partly due to the way it’s built but also because property is “Lex Koller exempt”, which basically means that it’s available for investment for international and UK buyers. Property ranges from around £300,000 to £3+ million so there’s a great range to choose from.
What else to do?
Well obviously, Andermatt is also a great ski destination. If you choose to come early in the season you might be able to combine some ski and golf. If you prefer to go in high summer or autumn you will find plenty of opportunities to go hiking, mountain climbing or biking – on the road or in the mountains. And if you prefer to do something less physical, the village of Andermatt is also nice to just stroll around.
As a summary our overall impression was that the Andermatt golf region has a very diverse set of golf courses worth checking out and there are also several other things to do in the area besides golf.