AgAlArov golf & Country Club
Golf is but a young sport in Russia, which only acquired its first full 18-hole course – the Moscow Country Club – in 1994. That remained its only 18-hole layout for a decade, hosting many Russian Opens on the Challenge and European Tours from 1996.
Now, there are some 30 courses in Russia. Several have sprung up in the Moscow area over the last two decades, among them the stunning Agalarov Golf and Country Club west of the capital, which opened in 2010.
This fabulous layout, managed by Troon Golf, is the handiwork of American Cal Olson and is part of a vast 300-hectare estate owned by Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov. The holes weave their way around 14 interconnected lakes – as on the 15th here – and four free-flowing waterfalls.
Exclusivity is the name of the game at Agalarov – in 2014 the club had just 28 members! Add in sub-freezing temperatures for half the year and this is a course whose beauty is, for most, more likely to be appreciated in photos than on the ground. Words Jeremy Ellwood Photography Kevin Murray