Monday, 27 April 2015

Golf in Warsaw: update

This story needs not so much a comment as a follow-up. My initial reaction to the news that a golf course is being built in Jeziorki seems a bit optimistic; a bit like the old Radio Yerevan joke: "Comrade! Is it true they're giving away cars in Red Square?" "Well basically, yes, but the story you heard is not quite correct, Comrade - it's not Red Square but Arbat; it's not cars but bicycles - and they're not giving them away... they're stealing them."

So - what's the scoop on the golf course then? This Google Earth-based image from Marcin Daniecki will give more clarity...

Now, this image (rotated so that west is at the top) suggests that the golf course is occupying about one-third of the area I filled in with tees, fairways and greens. The left-hand side of this image is demarcated by Warsaw's city limits; across that line lies Mysiadło. Now, if Marcin's right, it is unlikely that even a nine-hole pitch-and-putt will fit into this area. May I suggest that it will be a golf driving range? There's less than 200m in any one direction, so I'd go for this.

Especially, as Marcin points out, the factory building within the red perimeter will be knocked down to make way for a 'scenic platform'. All makes sense now.

The Olympic Golf Club in Warsaw's Żoliborz is about this size, the Golf Park across the river in Józefów is a bit bigger, with both driving range and six-hole pitch-and-putt. Nearer to town in Wilanów on ul. Vogla is Golf Parks Poland with a putting green and three-hole pitch-and-putt and driving range. So - nothing even remotely full-size in Warsaw, not even a nine-hole course.

But what will happen in the area with the red question marks? Could still all make room for housing. The land at the bottom of the above pic is still very much agricultural, a tractor was making its way across it this evening, spraying the soil with weedkiller.

Let's have a look at the putative golf course/driving range as it appears today... The soil itself - very post-industrial, with bits of metal, rubber tyre and plastic sticking out. Will need a lot of remediation work doing to bring this up to the standard demanded by golfers.

Signs of recent activity by earth-moving equipment. Biedronka on the horizon, left.

From the south-west corner of the plot; photo taken while balancing on a tree-stump

The industrial building to the left will become a viewing platform?
 All very interesting! This development will be watched closely...

This time two years ago:
Review of Krzysztof Osiejuk's latest book

This time three years ago:
The Shard changes London's skyline

This time four years ago:
In praise of Warsaw's trams

This time five years ago:
Plans for the railway line to Radom
[five years on: still only plans]


AndrzejK said...

The problem with golf courses in Poland is the ability (or rather lack of it) of putting together a large enough site.

As any developer knows land ownership is highly fragmented and you soon get into the situation of ransom strips here after buying some of the plots the buyer is held to ransom over the price being demanded for the remaining plots. And also the expectation the good old peasants regarding price in the first place. Clearly a golf course would not be economically viable if land is purchased at development potential prices. Which once again higlights the problems caused by lack of adequate zoning regulations (reason amongst others why that horror Miasteczko Wilanów - Limingrad has a gigantic white elephant church but NO parks or communal playe areas). And no Plaża Wilanów does not count as it is in fact land which belongs to the local authority.

Michael Dembinski said...


Your point about ransom strips is well made -it explains why the golf course on ul. Vogla has but three holes! This week's Economist has an article about what happens when land is being bought up for projects. Pan Heniek and Pan Ziutek can sniff the cash and want mighty windfalls before they sell their parcels of sandy, flood-prone soil to an expanding golf course.

Re: Wilanów's new church, the Temple of Divine Providence. The first attempt to build one came to an end when Poland was partitioned. The second attempt came to an end in September 1939.

Making any connections anyone? God angers at any nation claiming to be His Special People. This third attempt will no doubt incite the Omnipotent Deity's ire, and on the day before its finally due to be opened - it will be hit by a 10 kiloton tactical nuke launched from Kaliningrad.

The whole scheme needs to be shut down and converted into a multi-story bicycle park.