OK, so there are only four courses on the Åland Islands so perhaps you might think that No.1 position is nothing to write home about, but the Castle course is a layout which stands up on its own right and it was rated 4th best course in Finland by Golf Digest in 2001.
You might expect a golf club formed in such a remote location with such a sparse population to be content with building a 9-hole course to meet the golfing needs of the local residents and visitors – not a bit of it at Ålands Golf Club.
Right from the beginning, in 1983, they built not one, but two 18-hole layouts (the King's and the Castle) to satisfy the prodigious golfing appetite of the locals and these courses were designed by architect Jan Sederholm in the shadow of medieval Kastelholm Castle.
The slightly longer of the two 18-hole courses, the Castle is a fine parkland course that measures just under 6,000 metres from the back tees. The par 72 layout is unusually configured with eight par fours, five par fives and five par threes.
The Castle course closed in September 2018 for renovations and re-opened in the summer of 2020. Philip Christian Spogárd of Spogárd & VanderVaart decided that the sea needed to play a more prominent role in the strategy of the layout. The Castle course did not take advantage of its close proximity to the shoreline, so Spogárd has pushed a number of holes right onto the seashore. The new layout is markedly different from the old, though it’s routed along the original hole corridors.
According to Adam Lawrence of Golf Course Architecture : “All in all, the new Castle course is clearly destined to be a very fine piece of work indeed, one of the best in Scandinavia, perhaps even among the best in Europe… For architect Spogárd and his partner Michiel van der Vaart, already recognised as one of Europe’s most exciting up and coming design teams, it is another triumph. Golfers from around the world should be figuring out how to get to the Ålands, where they’ll see something genuinely new and good.”
The rankings currently displayed for the Castle course are based on the layout prior to renovation; we fully expect the position to improve when we re-rank in 2022.