Ironically, Swedish architect Tommy Nordström is probably best known for his Norwegian design at Borre but he also has many top-notch native projects to his name, including the likes of Varberg, Kristianstad and here at Degeberga.
Degeberga-Widtsköfle Golf Club opened for play in 1990 and the course lies a few miles inland from the east coast of Skåne, in the south of the country. Its springy heathland fairways are a joy to play on, even though they do rise and fall with regularity over some testing terrain.
Degeberga plays to a par of 72 over a measured course of 6,932 yards from the back markers and its four par threes are all feature holes with two of them short and two long, evenly spaced out at holes 4, 9, 13 and 16 on the scorecard.
The 163-yard 4th is probably the best of this quartet with its green protected by water to the front and flanked by three bunkers on either side of the putting surface.
Was it Harry Colt who wrote that it is better to use one attractive terrain feature on several holes rather than to use that feature to make one outstanding hole?
Whatever the case, years after playing here, the image that stays in my mind is of the valley which crosses six different holes (1, 8, 14, 16, 17 and 18). It is not difficult to negotiate, but it gives the course character. It can also play mental tricks with your game as the visual information to your brain does not fully agree with the facts at hand, like the distance from your gps-watch.
Otherwise, the course is in many ways similar to Mälarö near Stockholm, also designed by Tommy Nordström, in that it is laid out in open country on sand-based soil with fairways surrounded by wispy fescue rough and with few trees on the course to help with visual referencing. It also has the odd hole located in nearby woods, in this case the par 3 7th.
The obvious difference is that while Mälarö is near unique in the Stockholm region, in Skåne D-W is joined by several similar courses, call them heathland, inland links, open country or whatever you like.
Therefore, the question is perhaps why you should play here rather than at Kristianstad less than 30 minutes away or why you should skip PGA Links an hour away to the west, both of which are ranked above DW, not to mention a number of other layouts also aspiring to greatness.
As always, it might not be a question of either/or but both. During our holiday here, family obligations prevented longer day trips so we played here and at Österlen’s two courses: Lilla Vik and Djupadal, the latter also a creation by Tommy Nordström and designed in a similar way.
If your taste is close to mine, i.e. that golf should not only be question of distance but also about wind, bounce and roll, this place is unlikely to disappoint you.