When you arrive at 1st tee you get an initial impression of a course, and the first impression of the opening hole at Kallfors Golf Club sets a positive tone. A medium par five with a wide beckoning fairway rolling along towards the hillside, generously framed by majestic woodland. This is what defines Kallfors, helping it stand out as a quality golf course.
It is not particularly long at 5,700 meters from the club tees, but there is a fair amount of elevation change to consider, and although the tall birch and pine forest leave generous room on every hole, careful consideration is needed or you might find yourself in a position where the trees suddenly present unexpected challenges for your next shot.
Consider the 4th, a medium par four with an elevated tee and green. A pond sits to the left side jutting into the fairway and requires a carry of some 200 meters from the club tees, the more you play to the right, the more you bring some tall birches guarding the right side of the green into your line of play. The two-tier green sits perched up, and in order to stop the ball on the right level, an approach from the middle or left side of the fairway is highly recommended. An approach from the right side of the fairway might kick left and run all the way down the steep slope. It’s quite a handful but definitely an interesting challenge.There are a number of strong holes at Kallfors, and in combination with beautiful open views, enticing water features and a tranquil setting far from city noise, the day should be set for a fine golfing experience.
Kallfors was not love at first sight, at least not for me. Most fairways on the front nine were like clothes from the 1990s, quite bland and a bit too wide for my taste, with a clear exception at hole no 4 (well described in the course presentation above) which is not easy at all and a real gem. Bunkers are mainly flat and, unlike neighbouring Vidbynäs South, present no significant challenge for the better player. Greens are designed large and with significant undulations, but were very slow in October which reduced this threat to the score to something very tame. They rolled true all the time, however.
How is it then possible to leave the place with a big smile?
Well, the back nine really appealed to me. Starting with the short par 5 10th, where I was fooled into going for the green in two (don’t!), after that tough, challenging holes are cleverly mixed with more holes which tempt you into (bold) things you probably shouldn't . So what looked like big scale, borderline boring parkland golf started to become something much more interesting. I played with three members and to follow the match between two of them gave a very good indication of the qualities of the finishing holes: the short par 4 16th where there are many ways to make par, and (as we discovered) just as many to make birdie or double bogey, followed by the par 3 17th, where anything off the green is in trouble and finally, the diabolical 18th, with its big pond right where you would like to place your drive. I think there are more different ways to play these three holes than there are options on the entire front nine!
So, how does it measure up to its local competition?
If the area of comparison is a one hour (car drive) circle around Stockholm then Kallfors is clearly not in the same league as Bro Hof, Ullna or (Royal) Drottningholm. However, I am equally sure that there are not many other courses in the Stockholm area which I would recommend ahead of this one!
Considering the facilities on offer at Kallfors you could just as easily mark it at 4 1/2 as at 3 1/2, so 4 balls feels right.