The Krakow Valley boasts an 18 hole championship course designed by Ronald Fream, a top-class driving range and a six-hole academy course as well as chipping and putting greens, writes Alan Hedley
Just over an hour from Krakow, the complex also offers horse riding, a shooting range, smart hotel and luxury houses and apartments which are currently under construction on the 160 hectares site near Paczotowice, a small village between Krakow and Katowice.
The complex is part of the Maexpa portfolio, a Spanish development company with interests in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Mexico, Romania and now Poland at both Poznan and Krakow.
The golf course is central to Krakow Valley development, but there is much more on offer such as horse riding, shooting and skiing during the winter.
The par 72 course is an excellent lay-out which can be played as short as 4,981 metres from the front tees or up to 6,518 metres from the back markers. It’s very much a buggy course with wide rolling fairways and massive bunkers around the greens and some of the holes, where there are a number of testing par fours, are truly spectacular and it’s no surprise to learn the course has featured on the European Seniors Tour.
There’s a well-stocked golf shop, driving range and good clubhouse and locker rooms while the nearby three-star Hotel Villa Pacoldi has a good bar, lovely restaurant, barbecue area and a summer garden.
It also has 16 air-conditioned double rooms, each with television, mini bar and a safe and there are two suites and one room adapted to the needs of the disabled, should you choose to stay rather than be in Krakow – and like the golf course green fees the prices are reasonable with a singles room between £60-£70 a night and a double around £70 at the time of writing.
The Valley Golf Apartments is a complex of modern buildings, consisting of 166 apartments being built next to the first and fourth fairways. Each apartment comes with an underground garage, a terrace offering a scenic view, and a high quality finish.
One or more apartments can be combined and it’s possible to buy a segment or a whole detached house and they will also be available for rent.
Owners or those staying there have access to the course and all its facilities as well as the horse-riding centre and shooting range and during the winter there is skiing.
The snow cover stays from December till the end of February creating excellent conditions for winter sports with ski-lifts of 650 and 100 meters long, plus ski running tracks, horse sledge rides, dog sledge rides and races plus skijoring ski slopes which are professionally maintained and fully lit, as well as ski equipment rental and instructors.
The shooting range is also professionally run with instructors and equipment and has five firing posts for handguns and five firing posts for rifles. The range is certified to conduct shooting training and guests are accompanied by an instructor who takes full responsibility for security.
Valley Golf is situated on the edge of what is known as the Jurassic Valleys and places of interest located close to the club include a historical wooden church in Paczotowice, a monastery of the Carmelite order in Czerna, the palace and park in Krzeszowice and ruins of the Tenczyn castle in Rudno.
Krakow was once Poland’s capital and is steeped in history and has retained much of its traditional Polish culture. It has some beautiful architecture especially in the Old Town and there are galleries, cafes, pubs and restaurants and the main square is a joy – a hive of activity and entertainment.
We stayed at the excellent four-star Qubus Hotel, an ideal base to see Krakow which has an excellent tram system and plentiful taxis.
We took one to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a must see and a real eye-opener with regard to the conditions the salt miners endured. There even churches underground there and, happily, there is now an excellent visitor centre, bar and restaurant.
Krakow itself has many attractions, especially jazz and music clubs as well as small classical concerts, often held in churches while there are many restaurants and the food at two we visited, Leonardo and Wesele was excellent.
During the Renaissance, Krakow was a centre of progressive ideas, with a culture of outstanding writers, architects and musicians. Even the years behind the iron curtain do not seem to have stunted the city and it is truly worth a visit.
There are other golf courses in Poland, but not many. However, a trip to the Valley club could be combined with another round at Royal Krakow Golf and Country Club at Ochmanow, a nine hole course, which is due to become 18 holes in 2009.