Lithuania is the largest and most southerly of the three Baltic republics, sharing borders with Latvia, Belarus and Poland. The history of Lithuania was long tied up with that of Poland and, especially in the twentieth century, Russia, which moved in after the invading Germans left at the end of World War II and controlled all the Baltic states until the demise of the Soviet Union. In 1990, Lithuania became the first Baltic republic to declare its independence. Lithuanians are justly proud of their role in the end of the Soviet Union, and of a rich culture that stretches back to the middle ages, including the well preserved Old Town section of the capital city of Vilnius, which also boasts a thriving nightlife and is one of the great bargains in European travel.
Golf has only recently come to Lithuania, but a half dozen courses have been built since the country turned its back on communism. The first full-sized course was created by Peter Chamberlain for Capitals Golf Club; it opened in 2006 in a stunning natural setting easily accessible from Lithuania's main urban centers. Next came the V Golf Club at Le Meridian Vilnius in the capital, which is now recognized as the top championship course in the Baltic region; architect Bob Hunt created a striking design that takes full advantage of the surrounding lakes and hills and features fairways of sand for a links-like experience.