The golf season 2021 is still in its infancy and in several parts of the country we have to wait and while the golf courses open fully. But in Skåne, it has in many places been possible to play on regular greener and longer periods. What better way than to go to Sweden’s own golf paradise with a longer season and a huge range of exciting courses?
In the summer of 2020, Svensk Golf published a thorough ranking list of Sweden’s 50 best golf courses. The full list can be found here. Of the 50 courses that took one of the most prestigious places on the list, as many as 17 are located in Skåne, more than in any other landscape. Scroll on to see which 17 courses top in Skåne.
So the top list was produced
We are proud and happy to present the first edition of Swedish Golf’s ranking of Sweden’s 50 best courses. But how do you actually rank golf courses?
This is an issue we at Svensk Golf’s editorial staff have devoted a lot of thought to over the past five years when we were responsible for the Swedish and Nordic course rankings in Swedish Golf Digest. For us, there are some cornerstones that are important in this work.
The purpose of the list is to rank Sweden’s best courses. Thus, no account has been taken of the clubhouse, history, changing rooms, training areas, restaurant or other facilities.
We have only focused on the quality of the gaming experience itself and we have defined that it consists of:
60 PERCENT track design / architectural values.
20 PERCENT condition on / presentation of the playing surfaces.
20 PERCENT aesthetics and surroundings.
We have gathered a broad and competent jury to assess Sweden’s courses. The jury consists of course architects, professionals, golf journalists and golf enthusiasts. Common to all is a great interest in playing Swedish courses and knowledge in valuing courses against each other.
We have used the same grading system that is applied to Swedish Golf Digest’s list since 2016. This means that the jury has been asked to rate Swedish courses that they have played in the last three years. Jury members do not rate courses they are actually members of or have a business relationship with.
We want to emphasize that this is not a ranking of Swedish banners current condition. The current skill of a course is subordinate to the quality of the design of the holes in the jury’s assessment and only affects the rating if it has an effect on the overall gaming experience. The grading has taken place on a scale from 1–10, where the following six-defined grading steps have been guidelines for the jury’s assessment.
1 Below average
3 Mediocre playable but with obvious shortcomings in either design, aesthetics or condition.
5 Bra – has some weaknesses but as a whole a course you want to play again.
7 Lots of bra – particularly appealing course that stands out from the crowd.
9 Exceptional bra – a very strong layout with hardly a single weakness.
10 Highest international class.
17 (48 in Sweden). Barsebäck G&CC – Donald Steel Course
Varied forest course that offers great game fun. Relatively short but well-placed water obstacles, cramped play spaces and often slippery greens make Donald Steel a tough and fun test. Even though it lives in the shadow of the Masters Course, the magical and swinging forest rooms deserve a visit when you are at Barsebäck.
16 (42). St. Arild GK
Jan Sederholm’s layout and the sea winds shape the gaming experience on the beautiful Scanian park course that spreads out in the Kullabygden landscape. As in many other of Sederholm’s works, a number of cross-services and shallow greens await, which makes relentlessly emphasize both the strengths and weaknesses of your iron game.
15 (37). Bokskogens GK – Gamla banan
ARCHITECT Amilon, Sederholm, Nordström, Chamberlain
A park course in the true sense of the word. The entrance to the club goes through lush forest corridors, but once there, a beautiful park landscape opens up that runs down to Yddingesjön. Can be played very differently with six different tee choices, from tee 65 to tee 50. The club has launched and ambitious plan to become Sweden’s best park course.
14 (31). Österlens GK – Lilla vik
ARCHITECT Sundblom, Nordström, Fulke, Mednickson
Golf Sweden would have been a bit more boring today if Rafael Sundblom and farmer Edward Månsson had not built a six-hole course on the beach meadows in Vik during the 1940s. Over the years, the course has evolved into the 18 hours we play today, with Pierre Fulke and Adam Mednickson’s renovation as the current end point. Will not offer inviting Scanian park golf that is sometimes played in the immediate vicinity of the sea.
13 (30). Båstad GK – Gamla banan
ARCHITECT Hawtree & Taylor
The country’s second 18-hole course is still a very appealing gaming experience. It is park golf of the old school cut with clear British undertones. Even if the willows over the Bjäre Peninsula will steal your attention, it is still the course bunker replacement that shines most clearly during the round.
12 (27). Torekovs GK
ARCHITECT Sköld, Persson
After a number of trips 27 along the route, you are in a management and refining phase where the county feeling is strengthened and emphasized. Layouts weak points are still overshadowed by the course’s strong parts where we play strategic and dramatic golf in close combat with the sea winds.
11 (25). Vasatorp – Classic course
ARCHITECT Bruce, Forrest
The cohesive park and forest character survives from the course’s first incarnation. But a closer look at Steve Forrest’s green areas shows how these both clarified and developed many of the ancient holes’ underlying strategic elements. A solid creation, where there is room to lift a few more sections.
10 (23). Flommens GK
ARCHITECT Bergendorff, Kristersson, chamberlain
The flat, open and 23 low-key character is treacherous. But whoever takes the time to discover the nuances of the Flood, beyond all diabolical water barriers, will be richly rewarded. The 18 holes contain many interesting golf courses when we find the right mood.
9 (22). Rya GK – Old Course
ARCHITECT Nordgren, Sundblom, Amilon, Sederholm
On top and below a beach shelf by the Sound, we are thrown around on a swinging, wind-exposed and classic course with equal parts park, heath and seaside holes. The experience is bordered by wonderful height differences and tactical intricacies.
8 (20). Elisefarm Golf
Ready to play: 2005
Architect: Martin Hawtree
With the exception of a few short forest and park features, Elisefarm enters the role of a modern British-influenced heathland. We are thus talking about open Scanian plains where the strategy and lines are fully dictated by green areas and fairway bunkers. Will expose the weaknesses of the game without apology.
7 (16). PGA Sweden National – Lakes Course
Ready to play: 2010
Architect: Kyle Phillips
A more direct gaming experience than the sister course Links Course. But Kyle Phillip’s creation has far more to show than the spectacular eye candy of the finale. By that we mean mainly the strategically positioned watercourses and gaping bunkers that often force us to think twice or twice before splitting clubs and punches.
6 (12). Ljunghusens GK, 1–18
Ready to play: 1965
Architect: Douglas Braiser, Peter Chamberlain
Distinction is a key word. For Peter Chamberlain’s successive updates have put off some of the course’s most monotonous features. The holes on the heather have a lower pitch, but we massage tactfully around the fins within the final and more electric link section on the coast, pushing the last out of the bag.
5 (11). Vasatorps GK – Tournament course
Ready to play: 2008
Architect: Arthur Hills, Steve Forrest
The modern heath and park character has a captivating touch that sometimes lands in pure stadium golf. The layout has a strong inherent dynamic where a few compelling berries are interspersed with risk and reward golf and more technical forest areas. But to a large extent, it is the green areas of the course that get the last word in what you will write in on the scorecard.
4 (10). Barsebäck G&CC – Master’s course
Ready to play: 1969
Architect: Donald Steel, Ture Bruce
In 2008, the current version of the Masters course was completed, when hole 11 was changed from par 3 to par 4. The eleventh goal also marks the end of one of the course’s most interesting sections, from the beautiful shot on the eighth hole to the strategically tricky eleven. For many, these coastal holes, along the shores of the Sound, are some of the most memorable during a round on the Masters Course. But few will leave untouched by the holes played in the mighty pine corridors, which in many ways define Barsebäck.
3 (9). PGA Sweden National – Links Course
Ready to play: 2009
Architect: Kyle Phillips
There are few modern inland railways that evoke the same sense of link as Kyle Phillip’s work on the Baraslätten. When the bulldozer bucket was put in the ground during the second half of the twentieth century, the American architect did not get much of the land for free. But with a smart track, Phillips’ strategic mind shines instead. The main asset of the course is the playfully demanding par 3 holes. Especially during the first half of the round, we are teased both with a delicate par 3 of shorter format (hole 5) with a toxic shallow green and a large-scale long short hole where the classic Biarritz green was the design template.
2 (5). Falsterbo GK
Ready to play: 1911
Architect: Gunnar Bauer, Peter Nordwall, Peter Chamberlain
It says a lot that this land area was considered well suited for a golf course as early as the beginning of the 20th century. At Falsterbo GK, genuine link terrain is found, where the contours and hardness of the ground to a very high degree define the gaming experience. It guarantees really fun golf. Along with the occasionally capricious weather on Falsterboänset, no other round will be the same here. Some of the strongest and most memorable parts of the course are holes such as the fourth, fifth, seventh, eleventh and the end from 16-18. The jury also notes how the latest changes to holes 3, 10, 16 and 17 have been made with care.
1 (3). Kristianstads GK – Åhus Östra
Ready to play: 1969/2017
Architect: Rafael Sundblom, Douglas Braiser, Tommy Nordström, Pierre Fulke, Adam Mednickson
When the club abandoned its simple nine-hole course and moved to its current location in Åhus during the 1940s, the foundation was also laid for one of Sweden’s most engaging golf experiences. Here, large clusters of gnarled pines and open heathland awaited on wonderfully lean sandy soil. Something that gives us a dynamically appealing stretch where embedded dowel holes are interspersed with open heath sections. Fulke and Mednickson’s version of the course is a demanding story where all parts of the game get theirs. Sometimes the penalty rate can tip over, but that hole 16 updates a bit this year is a clear step in the right direction to endow the course with a more fine-tuned balance.