Our resident pro golfer Nigel Burch has just been on a golf tour of Lithuania with a group of fellow players. Here’s his report on an unforgettable trip.
‘Wow! Lithuania is on the up and up. Our flight from London Southend airport landed safely at Vilnius Airport and, just 30 minutes after we picked up our transfer, we were at the fantastic Vilnius Grand Resort.
As part of Covid precautions, my temperature was taken on arrival at the hotel and at the golf club, so I felt totally at ease.
A Sunday arrival allowed us to take in a light lunch at the Italian restaurant at the golf club followed by a 9 hole ‘familiarisation’ round of the course. As my golf companions trooped back into the clubhouse, the tales of woe grew as they realised the scale of the challenge.
The V Club is an amazing golf course carved out of swampland. I decided that the ‘Black’ tees would take all the fun out of the holiday, so for the main event I selected the white tees and on some trickier holes the forward yellow tees. If you want to enjoy this great layout don’t punish yourself, select a tee of which you would be comfortable with…otherwise…disaster.
With the choice of restaurants available, we decided to load up on the protein ready for the game the next day. We headed to BoraBora a delightful cluster of thatched rondavals on the lake, BBQ ribs, chicken, steaks all on offer, with some Asian starters to set the tone.
A visit to the town was on the radar on night two. Accompanied by our great friend Marius from the hotel, we set off for a night in the old town of Vilnius. With beers at €2.50 a pint nobody was in a rush to leave. A local restaurant was sourced with some very interesting dishes on the Lithuanian menu! One of which was a potato casserole with a pig’s ear sticking out the middle.
After golf the next day a visit to the pro shop was in order as we were running short of ammunition. Branded golf balls @ €1 each proved very popular.
George, the golf operations manager spoke six languages, so he was perfectly equipped to meet our needs.
We stayed close to home that evening with a visit to the Japanese restaurant in the new Spa building. There wasn’t a pig’s ear in sight as we enjoyed some beautiful Tempura prawns with ample amounts of wasabi to clear the sinuses.
The third round of the Lithuanian Masters took us to the European Centre Golf Club. After a short 20 minute transfer we arrived at this golfing oasis, technically at the very centre of Europe. There’s a driving range, pitching area, putting green and an incredible 18-hole course. The first hole was so narrow you had to walk in single file, this continued until the Par 3 seventh over water. The European Centre Golf Club is a great challenge with superb bent grass greens which were around 12 on the stimpmeter.
Not that the course was tough, but one guy in the group had a bad day scoring just three points…his name will remain forever secret.
Moods were restored over a great lunch on the club terrace with BBQ pork ribs smoked in front of us while beers were quaffed in the 28c temperature. The course had improved so much since I last played here two years ago. The group decided that two rounds at The V Club and two rounds at The European Golf Centre would be the route to take next year.
Another night in the Old town followed, which was great preparation for the final round and last day!
The last day was perfect, early morning start, great golf, then a few ales followed by an early evening return to the Japanese restaurant where a table on the terrace of the Spa overlooking the lake had our name on it.
The new Spa had recently been completed, with all state of the art amenities available, making this the most up to date Spa in the Baltic states. Vilnius Grand Resort even has luxurious rooms available for those wanting a short stay just to enjoy a spa holiday.
An on-time departure saw us return to Southend late evening with lighter luggage, having lost 196 balls between us over four days.
My visit to Lithuania confirmed my opinion that this is a resort for serious golfers who enjoy a bit of fun after the game. To find two such incredible courses so close to one another is luxury indeed at an unbelievable price and is not to be missed.
Nigel Burch, PGA Golf Professional
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