We don’t know very much about Paltamo Golf but we do know someone who does; that person is none other than architect Ron Fream, who oversaw the construction of the course, so we asked him to tell us a little about the project. Here’s what Ron had to say:
“Summer in Paltamo is very comfortable. The Arctic Circle is 230 km to the north, the midday temperature is around18 to 20 degrees centigrade and there’s sunlight for almost 24 hours a day.
Before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990, I was part of the Golfplan team that provided design and construction supervision for this dramatic course. We were even trying to get approval to do a sister course to the east, just across the Soviet border at Kostamus, but to no avail.
Paltimo is a small tourist town of about 4,000 residents that sits along the meandering north shore of Oulujarvi, (Lake Oulu), a body of water measuring 358 square miles that is much larger than the entire country of Singapore.
The site offered grand exposure to lakeshore, marshy areas, fine stands of white birch trees and, more inland, tall fir trees. Nearly a flat site originally, we moved a considerable amount of earth to add vertical dimension, but great respect was directed to optimizing the natural environment.
With ample space we created large rambling greens that were well defended with aggressive bunkering. The combination of huge water views, majestic shiny birch and towering fir trees, along with inland streams and lakes, presents a memorable challenge. There is no background noise, though a number of golf cottages, some for rent, are dotted unobtrusively along the course with lake and golf views.
Hole ten is probably my favourite; a par five measuring 532 metres with a back tee located out into the lake, connected by trail and bridge. The tee shot, requiring a full water carry of more than 200 metres, is still an intimidating one, even after the onslaught of Pro V1 technology.
Oulu, population 192,000, is the nearest large city in the north of Finland and could be a point of arrival as air service is more frequent nowadays. There’s also some very good golf to be played at Oulu Golf Club, the most northerly 36 holes golf facility in the world. A circuit from Helsinki to test both locations would be a memorable excursion. The golfing season begins in April and ends in mid-October. Best of all, play can start at any time, day or night, during the midnight sun summer!”