Passeier-Meran is a championship course I’d love to play, purely for its setting in the Italian Alps. There are breath-taking views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains as you hit your ball around the south side of the Passiria Valley.

The course, which was designed by Willy Moroder of MPS Golf Design, features seven water-lily ponds on a layout that sits on 60 hectares (148 acres) of agricultural land. Hotel Andreus, the connected resort, runs a golf school that caters for everyone from the humble beginner to the keen amateur – a smart way to sharpen your skills before heading out. PGA instructors take individuals as well as groups of up to six.
Passeier-Meran is super fun to play and has a long season despite being in the Alps, according to golf writer Ulrich Mayring.
“Once I arrived on a Friday and everyone was out playing, then it completely snowed in on Saturday and Sunday (about three-feet deep) and it opened for play again on Wednesday and was completely dry on Thursday,” he said. “That’s due to the steep drop-offs on all sides – it’s a mountain course after all.”
There is a cable car from the parking lot to the clubhouse so you know you are in the Alps! Interestingly, the Hotel Andreus takes guests on free weekly tours to other nearby golf courses, including Lana, Eppan and Dolomiti, so you can sample more than one course in south Tyrol.

The challenges: Control your ball on the shorter par-4 doglegs. There are plenty of wooded areas after the second cut, water hazards, and both green-side and fairway bunkers to avoid here.
When to play: Passeier-Meran is a three-seasons public course, closing in the colder months of January and February, which is also when Hotel Andreus is shut. However, golf in December is not unheard of.
Par: 71
Yardage: 5791 meters, 6333 yards
Slope: 132
Rating: 71.9
Best hole: The 17th offers a proper challenge with a water hazard in front of the green and 213 meters (233 yards) to the center of the green. Hole 10 is another tough assignment, with a ravine to hit over that is a daunting shot for average players (don’t try this into the wind) as well as a bunker directly in front of the green that you must carry on your second shot. Ulrich Mayring likes the par 5 16th where “average hitters can reach the green in two. It’s extremely risky (Out of Bounds if you get the line wrong), but you can feel like Bubba Watson on this par 5 and putt for an eagle!”
The resort experience:
This is a top-tier luxury resort and spa that includes many services for the price of a suite, such as the gourmet dinner and breakfast buffet. It says a lot that the German Football Team stayed at the Hotel Andreus prior to lifting the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014. We’re not sure how well the team members hit a golf ball but as Ulrich Mayring points out: “They can go anywhere they like, money is no objective for the German Football Association.”
“It’s not only a five star, but one of the best I’ve seen, because there is none of the high-end aloofness and stiff atmosphere. It’s super relaxed and the owning family makes their presence felt in a very down-to-earth way.”

Dine and wine:
You’ll enjoy a welcome drink on arrival and then face a six-course gourmet dinner at the Panorama Restaurant. Sommeliers will recommend suitable wines to go with it. The breakfast buffet is also included for the price of the accommodation. Complimentary pie and cake are served in the afternoon at the fireplace bar. Other highlights include the juices and fruits, vegetarian dishes and a demonstration kitchen with various themed nights including a Mediterranean evening.
The accommodation:
Hotel Andreus features 73 suites ranging in size from 30- to 175-square meters (323- to 1884-square feet). They are furnished with local woods and stones that suit the Alpine setting as well as a fireplace you can cozy up to with blankets. Free Wi-Fi and satellite television come as standard. There’s also a separate bathroom and bidet.
Other activities:
Set out on an impressive 7000 square meters (75,347 square feet), the resort spa and wellness center is one of the focal points of this resort. The area includes a Mediterranean park to relax in while you decide what treatment to have. The snow and ice room might wake you up, but your worries will melt away in one of the saunas (ceramic, aroma steam, herbal, vital or Finnish). You’ll find many types of massage available too (haki, lymph drainage, sports, full body, reflexology, etc) and mineral and mud wraps.
The indoor swimming pool is connected to a gate and lovely outdoor pool, which is heated year-round. You can also do laps in a 33-meter pool, which is heated to a slightly lower temperature. Yoga, Pilates, meditation, water gymnastics and Shamanic relaxation are also on offer.
The hotel will provide a rucksack if you decide to hike around south Tyrol – there are at least two guided hikes a week. There are also five tennis courts and a beach volleyball court. Or try horse riding from the on-site stables.

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