Jack Nicklaus described Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club as “one of the top ten courses I have built so far”, and current Challenge Tour Rankings leader Ricardo Santos of Portugal is inclined to agree with the 18-time Major Champion.
The stunning 7,491 yards, par 72 layout, located on the outskirts of the capital Moscow, became Russia’s first Nicklaus Design course when it opened in 2008.
Tseleevo drew widespread praise from the players when it made its debut on the Challenge Tour last year as the host venue for the inaugural edition of the M2M Russian Challenge Cup, which was won by Carlos del Moral.
The Spaniard called it “the most beautiful course I’ve played on”, and Santos, who finished in a tie for 16th place behind del Moral, was equally impressed with Nicklaus’ creation.
He said: “The course in Russia is definitely my favourite on the Challenge Tour. It’s very beautiful and also a lot of fun to play, so I’m really looking forward to going back there next week. I played quite well there last year, and hopefully I can play even better this year. But even if I don’t I won’t get too upset, because it’s just such a pleasure to play the course, even if you’re not playing that well. There are not too many courses you can say that about, but Tseleevo is definitely one of them.”
The signature hole is the 455-yard par four seventh, featuring a blind tee shot to a downhill fairway which dog legs from right to left. The green is well protected by a water hazard to the front and two bunkers on either side.
Nicklaus said: “We hope the players get as much enjoyment from playing the golf course at Tseleevo as we did from designing it. Tseleevo is a great source of pride for me and my design team. It is not only our first golf course in Russia, but we believe it also stands as a testament to the great potential of the game in the country.
“The canvas we were given to create the course at Tseleevo was a beautiful one. It was, and remains a gorgeous piece of land, with gently rolling terrain and beautiful trees throughout. We were blessed with several water features which we were able to incorporate into the course to enhance its natural aesthetic value.
“Overall, we believe Tseleevo is as pleasing to a golfer’s eye as it is challenging to his game. I think the players who are fortunate enough to compete in the second edition of the Russian Challenge Cup will really enjoy the experience, and hopefully find it a memorable one.”
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