Crans-Montana Golf: Switzerland has more to offer than skiing
It’s no secret that there’s a great deal to do besides skiing when you stay in Crans-Montana and the surrounding Valais canton - and, unsurprisingly, much of the off-piste activity that this stunning Alpine region has to offer is also centred on making the most of those breathtaking mountain backdrops.
In short, however you choose to spend your time in the Swiss Alps, it’s likely you’ll be spending a lot of it outdoors. As you might expect, then, the sunny slopes and elevated plateaus of this verdant, peerlessly picturesque retreat have long proved both a treat and a challenge for golf fans in particular.
With world-renowned pro venues among the selection of immaculate Crans-Montana golf courses on offer in the town itself, plus a wide selection of similarly well-maintained facilities within close driving range (pun intended!), players of all abilities will find there’s a lot to love about the Valais and its numerous enchanting village resorts.
Crans-Montana: home of the Masters, open to all
Many of the world’s greatest players make frequent visits to prove themselves on the lush greens and rolling bunkers that nestle below the white-capped peaks of the Rhône Valley’s Pennine Alps. Most notably, Crans-Montana’s world-renowned Severiano Ballesteros Course (18 holes, par 72, 6341m) is home to the annual Omega European Masters tournament. Each August and September, the true golfing elite gather here to battle for supremacy - and a share of the €2.5m prize pot - before a global TV audience of millions.
Fear not though, you don’t need to be one of them in order to enjoy these spectacular tees. In terms of the Severiano Ballesteros Course itself, visitors during the rest of the year can tread the self-same fairways (in an appropriate dress and with the requisite soft spikes) for a fixed green fee, provided they’re a member of an ASG Club or affiliated to a recognised foreign Club.
The same location also offers an equally picturesque challenge in the form of the popular Jack Nicklaus Course (9 holes, par 35, 2729m), crowned the most beautiful 9-hole course in all of Switzerland on multiple occasions thanks to its magnificent views over the Valais peaks. You’ll need to carry proof of an exact handicap to play on either of these two courses - but they certainly represent a uniquely memorable challenge for those who make the cut.
If an equally rewarding but slightly less formal day’s golfing is more in your clubhouse, Crans-Montana isn’t short of high-quality options in that department either. Both the Super-Crans Course at Vermala and the NOAS Course at Chermignon d'en Bas are available to golfers without an exact handicap, while the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club has earned deserved acclaim for pioneering the first European high-altitude golf training hub.
Putting, practice and playing through: year-round golf in Crans-Montana
Thanks to the latter’s high-spec new Crans-Montana Golf Performance Centre, budding Rory McIlroys and Annika Sorenstams can now indulge and refine every aspect of their favorite sport year-round. Training and practice facilities include dedicated pro lessons at the Indoor Golf Academy, along with biomechanical coaching, drive simulators, and video swing analysers, putting greens, force platforms, launch monitors, and much more.
Beginners are always welcomed at the Vermala Super-Crans Course, with players of all abilities able to tee off in return for a modest fee. The impressively volunteer-run Chermignon d'en Bas NOAS course is equally beginner-friendly (though still very suitable for those with a reduced handicap too), and does not require prior booking to secure a tee-off time. Carts, clubs, training nets and a practice putting green are all available on payment of a small access charge via automated card machine in the tidy reception area.
Looking slightly further afield from Crans-Montana itself, other fantastic facilities within easy reach include:
- Golf Club Leuk
An 18-hole course on the Rhône plain at Leukerbad, modelled on the classic Scottish links - ideal for par or bogey players
- Golf Club Source du Rhône
Located right on the picturesque river banks, and one of the longest 9-hole courses in Switzerland
- Golf Club Riederalp
Riederalp is around an hour by car from Crans-Montana, perched on a plateau overlooking the Rhône valley; young tree growth and scattered ponds enhance both the natural beauty and the golfing challenge at this pleasingly sunny location
- Golf Club de Sierre
Another one for the nature-lovers, covering some 55 hectares on the border of the lush Pouta Fontana reserve
- Golf Club de Sion
A sunny site right at the heart of the Rhône valley, this 18-hole course is enjoyed by many for its wide fairways and generous greens
- Golf Club Matterhorn
Between the villages of Täsch and Randa at an altitude of 1400m, this spectacular yet pleasantly flat course is bisected by the Vispa river
- Golf Club Verbier
Overlooking the resort of Verbier itself, this course is effectively a gentle downhill - you take a bus up to the highest point at the first tee, and work your way down via a series of terraces scattered with natural obstacles
Whatever your experience level, and however you like to plan, practice and play your golf, Crans-Montana and its surrounding neighbourhoods are sure to have the perfect round for you. The sport has been incredibly popular here since the beginning of the 20th century, so the course designers have had plenty of time to perfect their art.
We’re certain you’ll appreciate the fine work they’ve done in bringing some of the world’s best golfing right here to Crans-Montana - that is, assuming you can tear your gaze away from those majestic peaks, soaring and shining as a breathtaking backdrop to each and every unforgettable green.