That’s why I thought it would be a nice thing to combine the two. Which golf courses are named after cheeses? I couldn’t find any at home in the Netherlands – there are no golf courses in Gouda or Edam. So I had to make a trip to Switzerland, and played two courses that do justice to their cheeses: Emmental and Gruyères.
Emmental translates as the valley of the river Emme, it is conveniently located just East of the magnificent Swiss capital Bern. It is a very fertile area with grassy hills making it prime farmer’s country and lots and lots of typical swiss cows. And they all have their distinctive bells, which predates chip technology as a way to trace lost cows in the mist. Making cheese used to be a logical way to process all the milk from the cows, when there were no roads to quickly transport the milk from the mountains to the cities. That’s why they made cheese out of them that could be longer preserved, like Emmental and Gruyères.
Golf Emmental is in the heart of Emmental, near Oberburg. The clubhouse is a former farm and the locker rooms are situated in the old stables, all modernised and transformed for its current purpose.
Going out into the course feels a bit like Heidi and Peter walking into the meadows – and you realise they didn’t need much cardio training doing that every day. This course makes good use of all the undulations in the landscape. Nicely shaped holes, going up and down and along the hills. The course is divided into two parts, with a small valley separating the two. The southern part of the course, further away from the club house, is more isolated from the valley below. At the most southern point with any luck you’re treated with some vista’s of the snowcapped Alps in the distance.
For a taste of the cheese, you can order a plate in the restaurant, or drive to the Emmentaler Schaukäserei in Affoltern, some 12 km up in the valley. It boasts a museum and a shop where you can buy any age and taste of Emmental cheese.
Switching from German- to French-speaking Switzerland, Golf de la Gruyère lies some 45 minutes by car to the southwest of Bern. Gruyère is a beautiful medieval city at the foot of the pre-Alps and certainly not to be missed if you find your way here. Golf de la Gruyère overlooks the lake “Lac de Gruyère” with these mountains in the background. The views from the course are astonishing, and you are immediately blown away on par 3 hole #1 with the best view of all.
But that’s not the end of the show. The course offers many stunning vista’s; the trick is not to be too much awe-struck by them and keep your concentration on the game as well. The course is not a give away – it’s rather narrow in places and requires a precise play.
For a taste of Gruyère cheese, you can visit Maison de Gruyère – in Gruyère. But if you rather have something sweet, in the small village of Broc, just a couple of km’s away, there’s Maison Cailler. Another culinary highlight of Switzerland, chocolate, can be sampled there.
Switzerland is not a budget destination, but these two courses prove that you still can get a lot of value for those expensive Francs. And apart from the golf, the area offers so much more. It is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds.
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