The history of Royal Bled golf course
Royal Bled is recognized as one of the oldest golf courses in Europe
Have you ever played golf in an unspoiled natural setting with a beautiful backdrop of the high Karavanke Mountains, the sharp peaks of the Julian Alps, and the majestic image of Triglav? Royal Bled in Slovenia offers an unforgettable experience in a unique location and provides the greatest pleasures for golfers in Europe. Due to its rich heritage, Royal Bled is recognized as one of the oldest golf courses in Europe, located 2 km east of the popular Bled, in the heart of the Slovenian Alps. With an exceptional location, it is situated above the canyon of the Sava River at an altitude between 504 and 520m.
The history of Royal Bled golf course has a unique and interesting story that dates back to 1937. At that time, the first official game of golf in Slovenia was played on the nine-hole course, which announced the birth of golf in this area.
The history of the Royal Bled golf course
The construction of the golf course began in 1936, when the Drava Banovina purchased the Hraška meadow for the purpose of building a golf course. The location was chosen by Rudolf von Gelmini from Austria, who designed the plan and supervised the construction. Architect Desedier Lauber from Hungary partially revised and completed the plan. In 1937, the first official golf game was played on the completed first nine holes of Yugoslavia's first golf course in Bled.
The grand opening of the course was scheduled for July 10, 1937, and the honor of the grand opening was to be given to the Duke of Windsor, who had visited Bled the year before. Unfortunately, the event did not take place, even the following year when all 18 greens were completed, as the course was soon abandoned due to the outbreak of World War II. Despite this, many famous personalities visited the popular course: Prince Regent Pavle Karadjordjević, the Duke of Kent with Greek Princess - Duchess Marina, British Ambassador Sir Ronald Campbell, US Ambassador Arthur Lane, German Ambassador Viktor von Heeren, and Hungarian Ambassador G. B. Bessenyey. The first local to start playing golf was Aleksander Molnar, the owner of the Toplice hotel. Rudolf von Gelmini himself was the manager of the course and the first golf teacher, and he and his daughters also took care of the social life.
The reason for the Royal Bled designation is quite significant, but the main reason is completely different. The royal history of the Royal Bled golf course is associated with the Yugoslavian royal family Karađorđević, as the course was originally built at the request of the court of Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslavia's Karađorđević royal family, the diplomatic corps, and at the initiative of local tourism workers. Alexander Karađorđević, the former Yugoslavian king, also had his own summer residence in Bled at the end of World War I. Because he adored Bled, this place quickly became recognized among the wealthier inhabitants of Europe, whom Alexander Karađorđević attracted to Bled. After a thorough and careful renovation of the course and its related infrastructure from 2015 to 2017, the name Royal Bled was used at the opening on August 1, 2017, given its history in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević.
In 1972, the legendary Donald Harradine revived and extensively redesigned the course, thus creating one of the most attractive and famous courses in Europe. During the construction of the course, architect Donald Harradine showed the first golf swings to those present and greatly inspired them for this game. The game also captivated player Carlo Fadini, who traveled to the Bled course even from Trieste. In 1975, the Golf Club Bled was founded, and on May 20, 1977, the grand opening of the course followed.
In 2014, the Šolak family took over the management of Royal Bled. As this golf course was closest to their hearts, they decided to invest in it because they believed they could upgrade it even further. To them, Royal Bled seemed like a sleeping beauty, so they wanted to wake it up from a long sleep. When they bought the course, they discovered old plans for the reconstruction of the course, which were then realized by Howard Swan, the architect and owner of Swan Designs.
Spectacular transformation of a Heaven on earth
New owners who were willing to upgrade and improve the golf course teamed up with Swan Designs to undertake a spectacular transformation. After a two-year renovation, the Royal Golf Course reopened in 2017. The renovation extended the course to a championship length and also upgraded the greens, fairways, and bunkers. The most beautiful golf course in Slovenia consists of the King’s course with eighteen holes and the Lakes’s course with nine holes, designed by Donald Harradine.
Today, Royal Bled can compete with all European golf courses, as it offers an idyllic location for playing golf, which, with its paradise-like appearance in a unique natural environment, ranks among the top 25 golf courses in Europe and the top 100 golf courses in the world. Thanks to the thorough renovation, Royal Bled offers its members and daily players an improved strategic layout, top-quality and precisely maintained grass surfaces, and breathtaking views of the Karavanke Mountains, the Julian Alps, and the famous Bled Castle.
The course provides golfers with a top-notch golfing experience in a unique natural environment and is intended for anyone who shares a passion for golf and loves tradition, excellent service, and a personal approach.
Slovenia is home to more than 10 professional golf courses, but Royal Bled stands out as the most unique and prestigious golf course. Among approximately six thousand golf courses spread across 20 countries, Royal Bled is the first among Slovenian courses to be listed among the top 100 golf courses in the world.