Tbilisi Hills, the first 18-hole golf course in Georgia, has opened for play.
Designed by Lassi Pekka Tilander, the course overlooks Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, with the snow-capped Caucasus mountains in the distance. The medieval Orthodox Shavnabada Monastery dominates the vista on the closing holes.
The course has been designed with new Georgian golfers in mind. Four sets of tees provide an overall course length ranging from 5,030 yards to almost 6,900 yards. “There are no forced carries, so even short drives are always in play,” said Tilander. “The shallow vegetation under trees makes it easy to find balls.”
More experienced players will also be challenged by the strategically placed bunkers and sloping greens.
The site has over 130 metres of elevation change, but Tilander notes that golfers move gradually up and down the land, and no single hole has significant elevation change. While Tilander expects most players to use carts, he says the course is walkable due to short distances between greens and the tees.
The front nine occupies the lower eastern part of the course. “In good conditions, a couple of par fours are reachable with a good drive. On the other hand, the uphill par-five seventh hole with six big bunkers will have you smiling if you manage to par it,” said Tilander. The back nine is at a higher elevation where wind will be more of a factor. “The best birdie chance comes on the par-five sixteenth. However, if things do not go as planned, you may end up with a big number on your scorecard,” he said.
“The landscape surrounding the course includes areas of planted pines, as well as steep and treeless ravines,” said Tilander. “The shaping of the course follows existing land level. This, together with local bunker sand and low tree height due to the elevation of the property, make the overall look and feel of the course natural.”
Latvian firm Modo Golf oversaw construction, alongside American shaper John Ponko. The course opened for play in June.