Öland lies off the coast of Småland in the Baltic Sea and it’s the second largest island in Sweden, connected to the mainland since 1972 by a bridge that spans the Kalmar Strait.
The small town of Grönhögen can be found at the southern tip of the island and the golf course here started out in the mid 1990s as a recreational 3-hole affair that quickly became 9-holes then grew into a full 18-hole layout.
Three-time European Tour winner Pierre Fulke revamped the course at Grönhögen in 2004 and it reopened the following year, with Niklas Fasth holding off the challenge of Joachim Haeggman and Pierre Fulke to win the first competition played on the new course.
LinksGolf Öland (as Grönhögen is now known) is a very pleasant seaside track with many links-like features, including a large double green on the shoreline shared by holes 4 and 14. It’s very much a golf game of two halves here because the back nine (with four par fives) plays over 1,000 yards longer than the front nine.
Three of the four short holes on the scorecard are found on the outward half and golfers have to wait until the home hole to complete the quartet of par threes. Like the par three 9th, the 18th hole plays across water (to an island green) so a sting in the tail awaits those who don’t stay focused all the way to the last putt.
I’ve been here multiple times as we keep coming back. The club lies very remote and is run by very few peope and therefore can’t compete in finish with some of the bigger resorts in Sweden (although greens and fairways usually are great in a rugged links way).
So don’t expect american polished finish, but apart from that most the course is a masterpiece. Lovely scenery and extremely variated as the wind changes the course everyday. I’ve played all the top ranked courses in Sweden and approx. half of the top 100 in the UK and I think this is one of the very few true links courses in Sweden (the other ones being Falsterbo and Visby/Kronholmen). The remoteness, rugged links feeling makes me think of of a combination of Brora in northern Scotland and Aberdovey in Wales. This course is not as good as Aberdovey and doesn’t have the dunes, but few has and it’s still a fantastic course as I rate just below Bro Hof, Barsebäck, Falsterbo and Visby in Sweden. Very different, but equal as Ullna, Svartinge and Sand.
Stretchwise the first 4 holes are magnificent. The first one easy to underrate, but you’d better keep down your second shot if the wind is blowing. The second is one of the best short par -4 I ever played where you need to, in addition to wind, need to take in where the flag is situated before deciding strategy - don't go for the green and miss right if the flag is put on that side. The weaker stretch is hole 7-8, 10 and 12 with the green areas and unscenic views mostly too blame. Hole 13 (although I heard they are overseeing the streth layout), a short fantastic par -5. Strategy and risk reward at it’s best. The 14th is a longer par 5, almost 500 metres along the coastline, extremely hard when the wind is blowing strong in the normal direction.
Finally, me and my friends going here practically every year are almost scratch players. The general feeling is that better players enjoy the course more than the average ones. I’ve brought a few bogey players and some liked it, but some thought the wind was hard to manage and found it too hard to be enjoyable.