Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Azerbaijan is a country whose profile has skyrocketed in the last few years.
With an economy fuelled by considerable oil reserves, it has followed the example set by the likes of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai by investing vast swathes of its wealth in increasing its global profile. In short, it wants to be famous - and, naturally, because of its global reach, sport is a perfect vehicle for reaching that goal.
"This golf club and complex truly is right up there" - Colin Montgomerie
As well as sponsoring the shirts of Spanish football team Atletico Madrid, Azerbaijan also bid for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and hosted the inaugural European Games in June this year. It is reckoned to have a hit-list of other major international sporting events on its ‘watch list’, too, including a European Tour event.
Read more -> Visit Bulgaria - the jewel in the Balkans
With the unveiling of the five-star Dreamland Golf Club, it has taken a big leap towards fulfilling that goal.
Dreamland Golf Club was officially opened recently by former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
Located a stone’s throw from Baku, the country’s capital, it includes an 18-hole championship course designed by Cynthia Dye. It has already been described as ‘an oasis on the Absheron Peninsula’, with the course littered with native olive trees, and no fewer than ten lakes and vast golden bunkers.
Read more -> 7 reasons why Cyprus is unmissable for golf
The layout is complemented by an excellent and extensive array of other facilities, including a large clubhouse and a superb golf academy. Headed-up by Scottish professional Michael Sweenie - formerly of Trump Turnberry - the academy includes a driving range, swing studio, putting stuidio, short game practice area and a unique ‘splash zone’, featuring floating targets and floating golf balls. There is also a nine-hole par-3 academy course.
Describing Dreamland, Montgomerie said: “I’ve been to hundreds of golf courses in my career and this golf club and complex here in Azerbaijan truly is right up there.”
Azerbaijan :: Would you head there?
Would you consider going all the way to Azerbaijan for a golfing getaway? Leave your thoughts below.