As is the case with lots of self-made men, Sergey Koldin has a restless mind. So after Koldin made his money in air conditioning – Russia does get warm in the summer – this all-round sports fanatic, but relatively recent convert to golf, decided to start ascending another mountain in business by building his own course. Koldin found a piece of land 40 minutes south of St Petersburg and chose Lassi Pekka Tilander to design his course, Gorki, for him.
The Finn played for his country’s national team as an amateur and is a member of the PGA, but designing courses – rather than playing them – is now his main passion.
With an already solid back catalogue of designs, he then really made a name for himself with the outstanding Parnu Bay in neighbouring Estonia – a course Koldin knew and liked.
Kolodin provided Tilander – who lives across the Gulf of Finland in Helsinki – with a gently undulating but flat site so the architect, a links golf devotee, has added dune ridges to add definition to the holes.
They look very natural though and so is the rest of the shaping, resulting wholly in a pleasing maturity to this young course. Tilander’s philosophy centres on wide fairways and exacting greens, and Gorki follows that route with elan.
This high-class modern course has lots of nods to classic architecture with enjoyable elements such as semi-blind approaches and bowl greens.
There are very few trees complicating the look and challenge, with instead lush fairways and rough-covered ridges so Gorki is not intimidating but is always intriguing.