Fairytale Golf in an Unexpected Corner of the World
The Round Up
Location: Bled, Slovenia
Green Fees: €180
Kiwi Caddy’s First Tee Advice: Open season straight down the middle!
The Good: Incredible alpine views, Impeccable tee to green conditioning, Great risk reward layout, Some spots on the course may be overly punishing with long, heavy rough
The Bad: Some spots on the course may be overly punishing with long, heavy rough
The 10th is a short par 3 to an island green surrounded by water.
The short Par 4 14th plays straight downhill off the tee with water hugging the entire left hand side into a thin green. A thrilling tee shot and tough approach.
The par 4 6th is a short par 4 requiring a layup short of the water which cuts through the middle of the fairway. Approach over the water into a small, heavily undulated green.
Royal Bled is fairytale golf, overloading your senses in the most soothing way possible. There’s something therapeutic in the mountain air as you stand on top of a tee box, the way it touches your soul, and combined with nature’s soundtrack, a feeling of calm, peace and serenity flows through your body.
The contrast of the wild Julian Alps, and the impeccably manicured layout is something to behold and with enchanting and magical scenes surrounding you, you could be forgiven for the wild drive and the missed three-footer. The setting of Royal Bled makes it impossible to put down your camera, and even tougher to take a bad photo! The vistas give the golf shots a different feel with something so magical about watching your tee shot soar high above the rocky alps and land softly on some of the purest greens you will lay eyes on.
Royal Bled’s conditioning can best be described as Augusta-like and it should come as no surprise given that Superintendent Steve Chappell is at the wheel. Having worked four Ryder Cups, including as the head greenkeeper in 2014 at Gleneagles, Chappell and his team deliver excellence from tee to green and as captivating as the surroundings are, don’t let them distract from how good the golf course truly is. Royal Bled should by no means be placed in the typical ‘resort golf’ bucket, this is a true championship test. The tips are long, the rough is thick in the right places, and there are 18 unique and heavily undulated green complexes that will put even the best of players through their paces.
What I love about this golf course is that there is a risk-reward balance to every single shot you play tee to green. With water hazards coming into play on a number of holes, as well as deep fescue lining the edges of the fairways, if you’re playing bold you best be accurate, or you may find yourself scrambling to the pro shop at the turn to collect a few more balls. With the tight margins between the perfect spot and a lost ball, Royal Bled is the ultimate thinking golf course, presenting opportunities for fun and creative shots each and every hole.
Royal Bled’s drama is not isolated to its surroundings, and the feeling of anxiety standing on the 14th tee is one that I will never forget. A severely elevated tee with water running up the entire left hand side of the hole had my blood pumping and a reluctance to pull back the club tightened up my whole body. As soothing as the surroundings are, the course makes sure your heart rate will increase and your palms will get sweaty.
Royal Bled is a symphony of nature’s finest elements combining to produce one of the world’s most captivating and romantic golfing settings. There can be no better avenue to showcase the natural beauty of Slovenia and there is absolutely nothing that should preclude Royal Bled from a rapid rise up any list of golf course rankings. Royal Bled’s imminent growth is simply a matter of convincing enough people that it’s worth making the journey.
Royal Bled’s green complexes are as wild and interesting as any. They’re all unique in both size and slope, making for some extremely fun approaches at flags, as well as some near impossible putts. Many of the holes lack greenside defence as the green complex is the hole’s sole protection, with the potential to wreck many rounds!
Features like these are rare on resort style golf courses, and are the ones which truly separate Royal Bled. It's a course that is set up to test golfers of all abilities.
Booking a Tee Time
Royal Bled is a public golf course and is readily available when booked a few weeks in advance. The easiest way to book a tee time is to go through THIS page