It’s never easy for a golf club when its course lies in close proximity to another of higher stature and in the case of Flommen, it suffers twice the discomfort because it’s situated right next door to the clebrated links layouts at Falsterbo and Ljunghusen, both of which sit comfortably within the upper reaches of the national rankings.
Originally formed as Falsterbo Golf Society in 1935, the club changed its name when it joined the Swedish Golf Federation eleven years after its formation to avoid confusion with its celebrated next door neighbour.
It’s not known who laid out the original 9-hole course but two members, Stig Kristersson and Stig Bergendorff, added a further nine holes when land became available for expansion in 1966.
The name Flommen is taken from the shallow lagoon that lies to the west of the course and the springy-turfed fairways on the layout wind through areas of wetlands, low-lying sand bars and inland waterways that characterise the landscape at the tip of the Falsterbo peninsula.The par four 6th is a tough hole on the front nine, where the tee shot is played to an island fairway en route to the green. On the inward half, back-to-back par fives are sandwiched between short holes at the 14th and 17th.
How come people who are not terribly fond of water on golf courses (like Jim McCann below and myself) end up liking Flommen? I can think of three reasons:
First, the course is unique. With all respect to nearby Falsterbo and Ljunghusen, both of which are higher ranked, but there are literally dozens of similar courses elsewhere, particularly in the British Isles. I have, however, yet to come across anything like Flommen.
Second, the course (including its eponymous and ubiquitous water hazard) feels completely natural and actually quite fair. It is possible to plot your way around the course avoiding most of the water as the carries required are rarely heroic and few holes have water right in front of the green. (The only man-made water hazard might be the pond left of the 16th green which looks like it is dug to store water. I was told it was the only(!?) source of water available to water the greens this summer due to the severe watering restrictions in place this summer (2018), which explains why the rest of the course was bone dry.)
Finally, not only the course but the whole club is wonderfully unpretentious, which means that it is more than likely that you leave the place with a smile on your face, your well-managed expectations more than fulfilled.
I think four balls is fair, especially in an international context, but Flommen is a lot more interesting than most Swedish courses ranked above it, so do make room for it in your golfing plans!
Despite living within 30 km of this course most my life (25 years a golfer no less) I've never visited Flommen. Rumours of water everywhere, and having both Ljunghusen and Falsterbo as neighbours makes it easier to choose one of those two instead when visiting the Falsterbo peninsula. After 18 holes today I certainly regret not playing here before!
Wetland links may be an oxymoron, but it comes close at Flommen, at least during the summer months when the water table is lower and the springy turf hardens. This is especially true for the holes closest to the dune ridge separating the course from the public beach. The wetland part is true all months of the year, and on all holes; most of the time with water lining either left or right of the fairway or green, but never unfairly so, you always feel like you have a choice whether to take on the water or to play it more safe.
While the tee shots may be a bit less strategic (avoid water left or right?), the green areas are in most cases very good, plenty of interesting bunkering, swales, drop-offs, and nice contours, and while not overly speedy, the greens were rolling beautifully. Some bunkers were a bit scruffy looking, but others were nicely turfed and in very good nick, bunker refinishing in progress perhaps?
Perhaps the best part of Flommen is the homely and cosy feeling, locals going by bike on the dirt paths across the course down to the sea for their afternoon bath, the small kiosk housed in a beach hut right by the dunes after 9 holes, and the sun glittering in the shallow lakes. Half price compared to their neighbours also helps a great deal.
A feel good course for me, at least on a summers day with little wind! 4.5 balls, just about creeping up on five.
Flommen reminded me in many ways of the Salgados course that I played a few months ago in Portugal. Both courses are located hard on the coast and both have water in play at just about every hole. The fairways are not exactly links like in nature but weather conditions certainly are when the wind gets up! Actually, there's more than a whiff of Hunstanton here too, thanks to the dozens of multi-coloured beach huts strung out along the dune ridge that separates the course from the strand.
The 18-hole layout lies between the old railway line and the beach, on a flat, elongated strip of land consisting of wetland areas and lagoons, between which the golf holes have somehow been constructed since the club was formed back in 1935. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise and I was told the local rule when playing here is to move your ball away from where it lies if you’re attacked by a bird trying to protect its nest by the side of a fairway!
The course begins with a par three, the first of five short holes on the card, and the main challenge for the round is all too apparent on the 1st tee – water to the front and left of the green. I’m not a fan of aquatic hazards in general but, when you know you’ll be facing them constantly for the next 3 to 4 hours, it can actually strengthen your resolve to avoid them and post a semi-reasonable score!
My favourite holes on the outward half were the par fours at the 4th and 6th, both of which dogleg right to the green, with the latter a particularly tricky one as water inlets line either side of the fairway off the tee. On the back nine, I really liked the split fairway on the 13th, where the tee shot is played semi blind over a sand hill and water lurks all down the right side of the fairway as it narrows towards the green
I mentioned earlier that the fairways at Flommen were not very linksy, due to the turf and the very high water table, but the greens are a different story altogether, with some lovely swales and run off areas built into many of the beautifully contoured putting surfaces, allowing more than a semblance of the ground game to be played if so desired.
There must be some very good courses elsewhere in Sweden if this one is currently ranked outside the Top 25…