Midnight golf, northern lights, the former home of a Viking chief (it’s built on a Viking burial ground), and all the chilling delights of the Arctic Circle — there’s so much to love about Lofoten Links even before you get to the game. This is not just bucket-list golf, it’s a bucket-list destination. It’s not the easiest to get to: first a flight to Oslo, then an internal flight, and then a drive — but the journey offers spectacular mountains, waterfalls and fjords: a complete Scandinavian adventure. As for the golf, what started as a six-hole golf course in the 1990s was developed into a links course that has everyone singing its praises — including Jacob. “I would say this is the most scenic golf course in Scandinavia, looking at the jaw-dropping nature you’ve got here,” says Jacob. “It is a big adventure just to get to Lofoten Links but for those who visit, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure. Bring your camera especially for the second hole, which I would say is the most beautiful par-3 (151 yards) in Europe.”
The course is on the island of Gimsøya, which means your view is almost literally, on top of the world, and plays at 6,662 yards from the back tee, par 71. It was designed by Jeremy Turner who’s worked extensively across the Scandinavian region and knows its challenges well. With the mountains and the sea cheek-by-jowl, the terrain goes from low to high, with the waves almost lapping the fairways.
lofotenlinks.no, green fees from £70
nother course that started life somewhat smaller. This one was a nine-holer dating back to 1924, making it the country’s oldest, before becoming an 18 less than ten years later. “Located close to the Bogstad Lake and Holmenkollen, with an incredible back nine, this course is pure joy to play for dedicated golfers,” explains Jacob. “It might not quite be a Championship course, but it’s great to experience with friends. The course was updated during 2008 and, with more improvements on the way, this will surely continue to be a fantastic golf experience.”
The home of the Norwegian Masters, on the Ladies European Tour, it also has a practice area that doubles up as an ice rink — so you’re covered whatever the weather.
oslogk.no, green fees from £138
The icy blue Baltic Sea provides the out of bounds in this links-style course, complete with all the trimmings of heather, pine, birch and even bunkers protected by fescue. “On the beautiful island of Gotland at Kronholmen you’ve got a real diamond,” says Jacob. “I would place this golf course as a real contender for one of the absolute best. With influences from the Sandbelt courses in Melbourne, and the addition of the Baltic Sea coastline, you have something that’s both fun and magical.”
Visby is often lauded as one of the top courses on the planet. The par 72, 6,890-yd course was completely redesigned less than ten years ago by Pierre Fulke and Adam Mednick to stunning effect — the duo also created a nine-hole golf course. The coastal location is obviously both the making of the course and the undoing of many a golfer, with those sea winds often making it difficult to play any kind of target golf. But on the plus side, there are some rare species of birds to be spotted here. Take the time to explore the well preserved medieval town of Gotland (complete with UNESCO status), and you won’t be disappointed.
visbygk.com, green fees from £47
What the Swedish Riviera lacks compared to some of its more southerly counterparts, it more than makes up for in natural beauty. Falsterbo is on the south-western edge of Sweden and with sandy beaches, nature reserves and a horse show (it’s a big deal, some 60,000 people attend), it’s a go-to destination for many Stockholmers in the summer months. While it has many outstanding features, it’s the golf club, dating back to 1909, that really puts it on the map. “It’s one of the oldest golf clubs in Sweden and a strong personal favourite for me,” says Jacob. “The links-feel of this lovely course will always be strong. Just remember to keep that ball low in order to avoid those powerful winds coming in from Øresund.”
Falsterbogk.se, green fees from £76
Bro Hof Slott Stadium Course
On the banks of Lake Mälaren with a castle at its epicentre and two courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, Bro Hof Slott has become familiar with awards and plaudits since opening in 2007. “The Stadium Course is the flagship of Bro Hof Slott and holds probably the strongest finish series of holes in the whole of Scandinavia with its 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th,” explains Jacob. “My personal favourite is the 15th, a long par 5 with plenty of risk and reward attached to it.”
After finishing his work here, Robert Trent Jones Jr said: “Everything is big at Bro Hof. The holes are longer, the greens are bigger, the course has more water and the bunkers are larger and well placed.” Significantly, he added, referencing the wind. “On the dogleg holes you not only have to hit the balls a long way, you also have to get them to stop!”
brohofslott.se, green fees from £161 (Stadium Course)
On Denmark’s third largest island, Funen, you’ll find a gem of a course, albeit somewhat remote — only a few thousand people live here.
“A brilliant masterpiece produced by Nicklaus Design, which also is by far the most interesting course that has been built in Scandinavia over the last years,” enthuses Jacob. “Most of the ingredients for an outstanding experience are coming together perfectly here and the island green finishing on the iconic 18th hole is a real treat for all golfers.”
Seven artificial lakes were created to build the course, but don’t be put off by the ‘artificial’ — this is a stunning, and curious, work of art that every golfer should play.
Robert Trent Jones Jr has been busy
in these parts, and designed both courses here, less than half an hour drive from Copenhagen. Both consistently rank highly among Europe’s best, and set within 500 acres of beautiful Danish forest, they’re wonderfully in keeping with the surrounds, and varied enough for you to want to return time and again. “These courses really need to be discovered if you haven’t done so yet,” says Jacob. “Both the New Course and the Old Course offer bold challenges and plenty of character.
The club house, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, connects both courses and is one of the coolest club houses I’ve ever come across.”
thescandinavian.dk, green fees from £180