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17 Sep, 2010 08:42

Russia’s best golf course to host Challenge Cup

The Russian Challenge Cup has kicked off in Moscow Region's Tseleevo, with RT taking a closer look at the brand new golf course hosting the tournament.

The number of golf courses in Russia has been increasing thick and fast in recent times. Just a few years ago, barely two golf clubs were able to host a major tournament throughout the country.

Now there are four in the Moscow region alone. And with more currently being built, golf is well and truly at an all-time high in the country.

This year's biggest event is being held at the spectacular Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club – the inaugural Russian Challenge Cup.

The 18-hole course was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

Jack “Golden Bear” Nicklaus praised it as “one of the top ten courses I have built so far”. With such words coming from an 18-time Major Champion, it must certainly satisfy the men behind the green.

“They have the right land here. They have been able to carve a beautiful set of golf holes through beautiful mature woodland to create some beautiful pictures and scenery as the golf is played around the course. So you get a top designer and top high-profile player, you offer them a bit of land and say: ‘Come and make me a golf course here’ – they’ll jump at the chance,” Andrew Coleman, Tseleevo golf club coach, said.

There are several holes that certainly catch a player's eye – with the signature 10th hole not only swamped in picturesque scenery, but it also can make or break your round.

Another challenge for golfers in the Moscow region is the weather – with snow lying for sometimes half a year.

However, the professionalism of the grounds people is such at Tseleevo that players can be confident the greens will be fit to take on again once spring rolls around.

The 7491 yard, par 72 course is testament to how increasingly popular golf is becoming in the country. The quality of the course is clear to see for locals and visiting pros alike.

The only issue remaining is how to make the game a little more accessible to Russians, other than the wealthy few, and start producing a few Jack Nicklauses of their own.