Mention Estonia and golf is not likely to be the next thought filling your mind.
You might imagine atmospheric medieval streets, gothic spires, Tallinn and excessive stag parties, or a football nation consigned to lose in the group stages of the European Championships.
According to one of the country’s best golf and country clubs, golf tourism has grown significantly thanks to Tallinn’s status as European Capital of Culture attracting visitors from across the continent.
Several low cost airlines have also increased the number of routes into the country.
Estonia Golf and Country Club has reported a 10% increase in overseas visitors in 2011 and expects even more tourists paying green fees in 2012.
Hanno Kross, Estonian Golf & Country Club Chief Executive, said: “We are seeing more and more visitors from overseas, particularly from the UK.
With Tallinn a mere 25 minutes away people are combining a visit to the stunning city with a round of golf at our first class European Tour Course.
“Our total number of rounds increased by 7% in 2011 compared to 2010 – the appetite for golf in Estonia is growing and it is testament to the quality of our facilities that people are choosing to visit.”
Tourism across the country was up 16% compared to 2010, with visitors drawn to see the culture, architecture and heritage which has earned Tallinn this prestigious accolade.
The Estonian Golf & Country Club – featured in Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Europe – has two outstanding courses.
Both are hewn from an ancient archaeological site.
The championship 18-hole Sea Course, a challenging layout winds its way through forests before opening out alongside the Gulf of Finland and the Jägala River.
A gentler option is the links style 9-hole Stone Course.
A single Sea Course green fee in 2012 costs 70EUR (£62).
You can stay on-site in a luxury golf villa, accommodating up to 12 people, with prices starting from 167EUR (£138) per person, including two rounds on the Sea Course.
Visitors to Estonia from the UK doubled over the course of 2011 according to statistics published by Visit Estonia.
Figures also showed a vast increase in the number of visitors from Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Denmark as well as substantial growth in tourists from Spain, France and the Netherlands.
Flights to Tallinn from the UK are available through Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) and EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) from Luton, Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands, Edinburgh and a new route opening in April from Manchester.
For further details and a full list of stay and play deals visit www.egcc.ee.