The new millennium has catapulted Robert Trent Jones II into the upper echelons of the Norwegian course rankings with a trio of top class designs at Miklagard in 2002, Bjaavaan in 2006 and here at Holtsmark, also in 2006.
The pay and play golf facility at Holtsmark is Scandinavian woodland golf at its very best, with tree-lined fairways laid out along ridgelines and across a number of steep valleys, very similar in design to the architect’s Prince course in Hawaii. Incredibly, for RTJII anyway, there are no water features in play at any of the holes on this course.
The five par threes are all feature holes at Holtsmark and the best of this quintet is undoubtedly the long 5th hole where the architect, in homage to his father, installed an extra runway tee that allows the fairway to be stretched to over 250 yards. The hole plays to a green that falls away sharply on three sides and is protected by a craftily positioned bunker. Golfers marking “3” on their scorecard here will be well pleased with their efforts.
Good course around an hour outside of Oslo. Robert Trent Jones jr has done the design and it fits very naturally into the local parkland landscape. Very "playable" in the sense that it's fun to play more than once which RTJ jr courses often are. Rather underwhelming clubhouse etc., for those who find that sort of thing important (last visited 5 years ago, so there might have been an upgrade). All in all a good golf course, although in my view it's slightly overrated in these rankings.