Perched at high altitude on a lush mountain plateau in the Alps, Crans-sur-Sierre has to be the most spectacularly scenic tournament venue in the world.
Golf was first played at Crans-Montana in the Swiss Alps way back in 1905, but at the outbreak of the First World War, the course was abandoned and it wasn’t resurrected until 1924 after the foundation of Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. A nine-hole course was soon laid out and then in 1928 Harry Nicholson extended the course to 18 holes.
Slowly but surely Crans-sur-Sierre grew in popularity and in 1939, the European Masters was hosted at the club for the first time. WW2 interrupted proceedings but in 1948 the competition returned to the club and it has been held here ever since. Seve Ballesteros was drafted in to tighten up the course in 1995 and he returned two years later to rebuild the greens after 70 years of wear and tear had taken toll. Clearly pleased with Seve’s transformation work, Crans-sur-Sierre renamed the course “Severiano Ballesteros” (it was previously known as Plan-Bramois).
With its high altitude and crystal clear air, expect to be flattered. The ball travels much further up here in the Alps and you can be forgiven for thinking that you might be able to out-drive Tiger. Crans-sur-Sierre is closed and under several feet of snow for half of the year but in the summer the playing conditions are perfect. Whatever you do, make sure you bring your camera, you won’t find better scenery anywhere else in Europe.