Review for Oslo

Reviewer Score:


Any golfer playing this course gets a great experience, and plenty of exercise. The trees around the parkland are mature, the design of the course has been modernized to remain a varied and interesting challenge, the greens are manicured and fast, and the clubhouse has been completely rebuilt and extended, reopening in 2020 with a magnificent terrace overseeing the first tee and eighteenth green. The parkland setting offers many beautiful views of the hilly countryside and of the Bogstad lake, which comes into play on the 13th, 14th and 16th holes. On the physical exertion side, the player goes up and down hills several times: the 7th is probably the only flattish hole among the first nine, and only the 13th and 14th par-fours would be considered as mostly flat on the back nine, while all of the remaining holes either go up and down, or include quite noticeable elevation changes between tee and green. The 17th and 18th climb the hill back to the clubhouse one last time, making the pause and drinks at the 19th a welcome… necessity!

The par-threes at Oslo are no gimmies: while the first one, the 3rd hole, is apparently without great danger (one can land short of the green and have a simple chip to get close to the pin) the others (8th, 11th and 16th holes) do not allow for much error. The 8th green is sharply elevated over the approach area; the 11th tee stands a good 20 meters above the green, with only a small, sunken landing area short of it and a sharp drop to the left; and the 16th crosses the end of a (beautiful) lake so being short is not an option there either. Last but not least, the length of these holes varies from 157 to 225 meters from the tips. Definitely no short-change here!

The par-fives do not provide much relaxation time either: except for the 2nd hole, a fairly short affair at 449 meters from the back tees, which is rated 13th on the card, the other three long holes are the 1st, 6th and 2nd most difficult holes on the course. No doubt their length (no less than 505 meters) and their twisting layout will make birdies laudable (and rare) scores.

And the par-fours then? They are very varied, some quite long (the 4th, 392 meters), some are surprising (the down-and-up 5th and 6th, the 12th with its second shot over a gorge to a green flanked by a dam and waterfall); some are relatively short (the 7th and 14th, but there are twists in their layout…). In my opinion, the 13th is the only "quiet" hole on the course, even though the green is not an easy proposition: it is protected by bunkers in front and it slants away from the fairway towards the lake just a few yards away so neither short nor long shots will be safe.

The only faults I can find with the course are: sometimes the back tees of the next hole are very far away from the last green (I am a lazy golfer I guess), such as the tees on the 2nd, 4th, 9th, 16th and 18th holes; the geese have a tendency to use the course as a defecating area (especially the fairways and greens of the 13th, 15th and 16th holes!).

Every time I go to Norway I look for an opportunity to play the Oslo Golfklubb. In the summer and fall, this course is a real treat. It is just bad luck that given the latitude of its location the season is so short: the course does not open before mid-May most years, and often shuts down as soon as early October, so it is in perfect shape only for 4 months-plus a year. During that time though, Oslo GK is certainly at the top of the Norwegian golf ladder (#1 for some, #2 for others)!

Date: July 19, 2021

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