For St Moritz fly to Zurich airport and then take a train (the rail journey takes about four hours). Lugano airport is about 90 minutes by train from Ascona. Swiss International Air Lines (0041 916 101 282, www.swiss.com) flies to Zurich from London Heathrow, London City and Manchester airports and offers good connections to Lugano. Darwin (00800 1771 7777, www.darwinairline.com) flies to Lugano direct from London City.
WHERE TO PLAY
The purity of the air and the wild beauty of the mountains and lakes makes Switzerland popular with hikers and skiers. The golf season at St Moritz and Ascona is short so playing during the height of summer is recommended.
Engadin Golf?s Samedan course lies just outside St Moritz and is said to be the highest layout in Europe. It?s a surprisingly quiet layout whose highlight comes at the 15th ? a 138-yard par 3 featuring water to the front of the green.
A good piece of advice is to club down as the ball flies further through the thin mountain air.
Patriziale Ascona is a parkland course that plays on the banks of Lake Maggiore on the Italian border. There?s a great variety of holes here and the layout suits players of all levels. The 327-yard par-4 8th is particularly memorable. A dogleg that works its way around water to the left and has a stream protecting the putting surface, it leaves little margin for error.
WHERE TO STAY
The Carlton Hotel is one of the best places to stay in upmarket St Moritz. Built way back in 1913, it has an old-world charm and offers superb food. This is the kind of place where gentlemen dress for dinner and take a glass of port in the piano bar afterwards.
Hotel Eden Roc is a great hotel whose gardens are lapped by Lake Maggiore. Although the exterior is unimpressive, the food and service is everything you would expect of a Leading Hotel of the World. Marble floors gleam and behind the check-in desk half-a-dozen members of staff lie in wait to book your tee times. There is a selection of super restaurants nearby.
The resort of St Moritz reached the peak of its popularity in the 1930s and today retains its glamorous appeal with a high street lined with upmarket shops. Dozens of events are held here each year, including golf tournaments, bridge weekends and a strenuous alpine workout week ? visit the St Moritz tourist office website for further information (details below).
Trains are the best way of getting about ? the carriages are clean and the service is very efficient.
Engadin Golf Samedan
T: 0041 818 510 466
Patriziale Ascona Golf Club
T: 0041 919 712 159
The Carlton Hotel
T: 0041 818 367 000
Hotel Eden Roc
T: 0041 917 857 171
St Moritz Tourist Board