Kytäjä Golf is located close to the city of Hyvinkää, about a 30-minute drive north from Helsinki. Kytaja is certainly the most ambitious golf project to be undertaken in Finland. With two challenging courses and a third on the drawing board there is some seriously good golf to be played at Kytaja. All the courses at Kytaja are from the portfolio of the Canadian architect, Thomas McBroom and the South East course, which opened in 2003, was his inaugural Scandinavian design.
The South East course is currently considered to be the best layout at Kytäjä and it is set amidst the most delightful Finnish landscape. The front nine plays across undulating ground and through delightful woodland. The back nine plays across flatter terrain with some holes hugging the shore of lake Kytaja where there are breathtaking panoramic views to savour.
Visitors are warmly received at Kytäjä and the experience is thoroughly enjoyable.
We were fortunate enough to experience the course on a still, sunny August morning. Taking the first tee time, arriving at the course was a unique experience, as the early morning mist rose from lake Kytäjä to reveal a magnificent view of the course from the first tee. There can be only a few golfing pleasures that create such an atmosphere.
Enhanced by the remoteness of the location, the early morning sun rays glimmering through the tall Finnish pine trees and total tranquillity, the immediate feeling was that this was a special place and this would be a round to remember. We chose to play the course from tee’s 55, which make it around 6,000 meters in length, but with a selection of 5 tee choices the course sets up well for golfers of all abilities.
The first tee sets the tone, with a raised tee box surrounded by tall pines, requiring an accurate drive to avoid a lake on the left hand side of the fairway and well positioned bunkers running along the right hand side. A tough uphill approach presents you with a difficult green to negotiate, that slops severely from front to back. This sets the bar and from this moment on you are presented with feast of difficult and delightful golf holes, requiring accurate driving, precise shot making and carefully considered putting.
The designer has made exceptional use of the natural undulating terrain to create a breath taking challenge with a great mix in length and difficulty. The front 9 ends with a downhill par 3 and the back 9 starts with a downhill par 3. It may be said that back to back par 3’s goes against the grain of great course designs, but in this case it works, particularly as the compulsory and quality half way house breaks up proceedings.
The only slightly weak hole on the back 9 is 13, although the tee shot makes up for a bland approach to an unprotected green. The following hole is an excellent risk/reward par 5 with lake Kytäjä hugging the right hand side of the fairway, reachable in two if you’re brave enough to cut the dogleg. As you make your way through the next 3 holes variety continues to be the norm, in every aspect, from potential birdie opportunities to difficult par chances.
The designer leaves the very best till last, with the par 5 18th being possibly one of the most exciting finishing holes I’ve played. It has everything, including an amazing view of the lake to the left, to constantly remind you the slightest hook could result in a water hazard and a ruined card.
After the round we made our way back to the impressive clubhouse, which is a fine example of modern Finnish design with top quality practice facilities. All in all there is nothing but class at this destination and its obvious why it features within the top 50 in Europe. Unfortunately it’s a delight that few will experience due to the location and the restricted daylight, but if you are lucky enough to have an opportunity to visit it’s well worth the trip.