Hungary’s golf scene flies somewhat under the radar, particularly in comparison with some of its Central and Eastern European neighbours.
It lags behind the likes of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia in terms of the number of courses it offers, with 14 — nine of them with 18 holes.
According to a 2017 KPMG report on golf participation in Europe, Hungary has one of the lowest levels of registered golfers of any European nation, at just over 1,000. That translates to less than 80 golfers per course, meaning there is little likelihood of visitors being crowded out of fairways by members.
Its portfolio of golf clubs has doubled in just 11 years. Most are in the western half of the country, mainly around capital Budapest, in the north, and by Lake Balaton, Central Europe’s largest lake and the country’s main leisure area, in the south-west.
Among its golf facilities, Zala Springs Resort features a Robert Trent Jones Jr course, complete with golf academy that opened in 2015 amid vineyards, lakes and rolling hills in the picturesque Zara Valley. Accommodation is in 28 studio apartments and four penthouses next to the clubhouse.
Pannónia Golf & Country Club , which lies 40km west of Budapest, is host course of the Hungarian Open amateur match play and Hungarian Junior Open Championship events. Opened in 1996, its facilities include a golf academy with a video classroom.
Balaton Golf opened in 2008 as the first 18-hole golf course next to Lake Balaton and was named Hungary’s best course in 2009 and 2010.
Golf is playable 220 days a year in Hungary, meaning spring and autumn golfing breaks are a possibility. Green fees are excellent value, too. And while it may have few golf resorts, there is a wealth of high-quality accommodation close to the fairways. Many hotels in Budapest and other key tourist centres have spa, wellness, thermal and medical facilities, appealing to both golfers and their non-golfing partners.
Add in a long history of winemaking, a rich cuisine blending flavours from West and East, and off-course attractions that include historic Budapest, river trips on the Danube, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cultural and music festivals throughout the calendar, and it’s easy to see Hungary’s appeal as a golf holiday destination — an appeal that is sure to gain momentum.
Three to play
Green fees from £33
Pannónia, Golf & Country Club
Green fees from £46
Zala Springs, Golf Resort
Green fees from £53