For many Swedes “Djupadal” means the eponymous organic farm run by Gustav and Marie Mandelmann and known through many books and their popular TV show on Sweden’s TV4.
In the 1990s Österlens Golfklubb often found their existing Lilla Vik course busy, but also in danger of becoming too easy for elite golfers. The brief to then established golf architect, Tommy Nordström, still a local member, was therefore to create a championship test.
Nordström, who has always had a soft spot for British heathland courses, found an open, rolling site with perfect sandy soil at Djupadal on the other side of the road between Simrishamn and Kristianstad, only five minutes away from Lilla Vik and close but not next door to the Mandelmann farm. The course opened in 2001 and is also where the club’s offices can be found today.
The Djupadal course is laid out as two loops of nine going out from the clubhouse towards the end of the property and back. Just like at Nordström’s other creations at Mälarö outside Stockholm and at Degeberga-Widtskövle, there is the odd hole in seclusion in nearby woods to provide contrast. At Djupadal, it is the short 3rd and the par four 4th.
Otherwise, the designer has cleverly used raised greens, existing elevation changes and the remaining apple trees on the property to create interest. The result is that bunkers and water are used relatively sparingly. In fact, three holes the 1st, 4th and 14th are entirely bunkerless and the only shot across water is the approach on the 9th hole.
Djupadal is the more challenging of the club’s two courses and was tested by the best as recently as in 2018 when it hosted the Swedish PGA Championship. The course was then playing firm and fast in the dry summer weather. Work by Pierre Fulke since 2014, however, has focused on softening the course to make it more playable for a broader set of golfers.