Gatsby on Brijuni

On Saturday 22.4.2023. we celebrated 100 years of golf in Brijuni. Glamour, costumes, 1920s golf gear, swing, jazz and the Charleston. The so-called Hickory golf or old fashioned golf.

It all started in 1893, when the rich industrialist Paul Kupelwieser bought Brijune and turned it into a fashionable resort. Gentlemen from all over the world slowly gathered there, among them the Fries family, who, after returning from Africa in 1929, stopped at Brijuni to get used to the European climate. They liked the island so much that they stayed there and built the famous villa Madonna (today’s Jadranka). It was Mrs. Fries who sponsored the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Golf Tournament in 1933, enjoying the mild climate and international environment, playing polo and golf.

When you know all this, and then you walk around Brijuni and see costumed golf players, for a moment you think that your vision has been set to black and white, a little blurry and in slow motion.

Then you come back to reality, you smell the forest and the sea with all your might, and by chance you meet wild animals that walk freely in the national park. If you thought that horticulture was at a high level in Brijuni, I have to tell you that it is thanks to the deer, mouflons, rabbits and peacocks that spontaneously enter the lawns and brush into the circle of the canopy, making them into unusual shapes.

Back to glamor and golf. The first person that entered my mind that day was of course
The Great Gatsby. And this party was probably organized by him, but he did not appear at it (he was looking out the window, I noticed a silhouette behind the curtain of an ancient villa).

Hotel Neptun is the elegant lady with the hat that everyone is talking about. From its terrace, a saxophone was heard and special creations for that day, designed and prepared by chef and artist Damjan Bistričić, were enjoyed.

Golf is a game whose goal is to get the balls into the holes (18) on all fields of the golf course with as few strokes as possible. The game requires dexterity, precision and resourcefulness in overcoming the terrain in order to find the ball in the bushes, grass or water.

I wasn’t very resourceful that day, the balls ended up in the sea and who knows where, far away in my imagination where I was chasing the guests at the reception and flipping through the pages of my favorite F.S.Fitzgerald novel.

“You make a special kind if on the first one
you cross the road.
In the second case, in case you don’t know, you often cut trees.
On the third, the trees need to be moved
But unfortunately, you can often only dream about it.
At the fourth, unfortunately, the ball is fine
You usually send it to the clover…

At eighteen your feet are already flat,
even if they are correct from a long time ago“.

Excerpt from a song by Maria Lenz

*Many thanks to Petra Lukež from Brijuni National Park for the kind invitation and hospitality.


The characters and events in this story are partly fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons or events is intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.

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Nataša Nikodijević Savin
Curated by Nataša

Producer (by degree and DNA structure).
A creative leader in business.
Entrepreneur. An artist. Curator and narrator.
Multitasking talent. Improviser. The inventor.



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