Baikal Ice Golf may be new to some people, but the tournament has been going since 2004 and will celebrate its 16th annual edition at the 2019 event.
As the name suggests, Baikal Ice Golf is a tournament unlike any golf events you’ll watch on television at home—this one is placed on ice. However, despite being played on the frozen surface of a lake, the tournament follows the same rules approved by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R & A) for 9 hole and 18 hole golf.
If you are planning on entering Baikal Ice Golf 2019, you’ll need to be quick as the event takes place on March 15-16, and there is some specialist equipment required. You are required to play using a red, yellow or orange ball, which are on the list of balls approved by the R & A.
The golf course is over two kilometres long, and the ice is close to 80 centimetres thick, which is what you want to hear considering Baikal is the world’s deepest fresh water lake with a depth of over 5,000 feet. Losing your ball in the water at Augusta National is one thing, seeing your ball find water at Baikal Ice Golf would be cause for much bigger concern.
Thankfully, the ice is so thick at that time of year, even the biggest hacker would not come close to making a divot deep enough to find water.
If you are interested in participating in Russian Baikal Ice Golf 2019 or in future tournaments, you will need to make your way to Eastern Siberia, where the lake is located. Situated between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and Buryatia to the southeast, you can fly into Irkutsk airport. This can be reached by catching a connecting flight from Moscow Domodedovo or Sheremetyevo if travelling from the United Kingdom. Check cheap flights to Moscow and then Irkutsk on momondo.com or cheapflights.com
If you fancy enjoying a full experience, you can also pack your golf clubs and balls and hop on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which reaches Lake Baikal.
Who can participate
Any golfer, be it amateur or professional, is eligible to participate in Baikal Ice Golf 2019. There are no age restrictions, but you must be registered to take part and be fit and healthy enough to complete the course without any difficulty.
For those concerned about the plummeting temperatures, there is good news. Between March and April there is very little wind at Lake Baikal, and the sun is always shining. In fact, you must be careful not to get sunburn when playing golf, because the suns rays reflect off the ice.
Players from around the world will be gathering to play Baikal Ice Golf 2019. In addition to the sport itself, you can enjoy the stunning surrounding nature, warmth of the local people and the clean, fresh Siberian air.
The winner of this contest will qualify for the World Baikal Ice Golf Cup in 2020, so there’s been no better time to register and participate in what has to be the most peculiar golf tournament on earth.
What should you take with you?
Dailystoke.com talked to Jury Milvit, the Chairman of the Golf Federation Council of the Irkutsk Region, Russia. He said that in the history of ice golf competitions on Lake Baikal, more than 500 people have taken part in this event. Forty of those are from England and USA.
The participation fee is 10,000 rubles ($150) for the individual classification and 24,000 rubles for 4 people to take part in the team classification. What should you take with you if you are going to Baikal Ice Golf 2019? Just a standard set of clubs and a portable bag.
What records were set and what can we expect of the Ice Golf World Cup 2020? In 2016, the longest drive with a tailwind was hit, and in 2020 there will be a chess clock and Putter, said Milvit.
Photo by Ekaterina Sazonova