Zala Springs Golf and Spa Resort is set in the beautiful Zala Valley outside the charming village of Zalacsany. The resort is a two hour drive from Bratislava, Vienna, Ljubljana and Zagreb, also two hours from Budapest airport. A new destination for golfers and spa lovers from the UK and Ireland who are interested in a unique golf and spa experience.
The course opened for play in 2015, in that first year there were over 5,000 rounds played and that figure was expected to double in 2017.
The 18 hole Championship course was designed by Robert Trent Jones 2nd Golf design and built by Gary Ashfield of Golf East Construction. Gary shared with us some fascinating stories about how the course was created. Many of the holes were constructed using the natural reserves from the estate. Huge rocks were mined from the site and strategically positioned on a number of the holes. Small irrigation lakes were excavated to also provide material for use on the course, as well as toadd to the beauty of the landscape and to the challenge.
Practice facilities at Zala are excellent, there is a top class golf academy which features driving range, chipping and putting green. Top of the range Callaway clubs can be hired through the pro shop. Membership and green fees are extremely reasonable for the high end facilities that are available at the resort.
The magnificent state -of -the -art three storey clubhouse immediately captures your eye as you drive into the estate. The terrace area by the 18th green has a fabulous bistro restaurant and bar, what better way to relax after playing 18 holes than chilling out over a few G&Ts while enjoying the stunning views across the fairways. The outside terrace is built around an 18 hole fully illuminated putting green. On the first floor there is a pro shop, television room, Spikes bar and bistro. The luxurious changing rooms are just what every lady golfer would love to have at their home club. For more formal occasions there is a fine dining restaurant, the menu focuses on traditional Hungarian cuisine as well as many European dishes accompanied with excellent wine from the region.
[Hungarian Goulash cooking the traditional way]
A short walk from the clubhouse is a unique development of high end luxury apartments, which is part of the Zala Springs project. Small apartments which are perfect for couples to larger four bedroomed apartments and penthouses. The elegant and exclusive state -of- the -art residences feature balconies, ultra modern bathrooms and kitchens. From the large windows in each room there are stunning views over the course and surrounding countryside.
Accommodation is a two minute drive from the resort. Batthany Castle Hotel and Batthany Mansion. The very grand Castle hotel was originally built in 1490 and was named after a famous aristocratic Hungarian family named Batthany. The castle has been recently restored in the original style of the Baroque period.
The estate’s unique thermal
water spring that feeds the castle’s indoor and outdoor pools.
In addition to the wellness facilities there are tennis courts and horse riding. The superb and elegantly designed restaurant serves traditional and international cuisine including of course, the finest Hungarian wines.
Next door to the Castle is Batthany Mansion, this is a small modern hotel. The rooms are nicely furnished, equipped with tv, mini bar, safe, luxury robes and the essential free wi fi. The restaurant is very good, the evening buffet menu seemed popular or there is an al a carte menu if you feel like having some steak and and chips.
This is an ideal hotel for golfing groups, also for families, there are play areas for children and beautiful walks through the estate.
The many attractions with-in a short distance of Zala Springs include, the famous lake at Héviz. The lake is largest natural thermal lake in the world, it is rich in minerals and famous for its healing properties.
Lake Balaton which is Central Europe’s largest inland freshwater lake is popular for swimming, sailing and windsurfing. Boat trips around the lake are available and are a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. You can just sit back have a glass or two of Hungary’s excellent wine while taking in the magnificent scenery.
The countryside around Zala Springs and lake Balaton is extremely beautiful, the rolling hills are rich in volcanic soils and limestone, which I was informed is idyllic for fine winemaking!
The resort offers some very attractive “Member for A Day” packages, all-inclusive “Stay and Play”. Included in the excellent programs are wine tasting tours, trips to the natural thermal spa at Héviz and boat trips on beautiful lake Balaton.
Never in a million years would I have thought of going to Hungary for a golf holiday. I am so glad I did and to have had this wonderful opportunity through EGTMA to experience the country, the people, the food, the unique wines, the lakes and spas but mostly to have played this fabulous new golf course Zala Springs which I am certain we’ll be hearing a lot more of .
Arial photo: courtesy of Zala Springs
Photography: Ger Bradley
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