I first played Rönnebäck when they had just built their 18 hole course back in 2005-2006, the lasting impression I had back then was of the extremely unforgiving nature of the course for a first timer without local knowledge and stroke saver. I was not impressed.
On my revisit this year I played with a member which helped immensely for shot selection and I did find more redeeming qualities. By far the best of these is the conditioning. Greens are built according to USGA specs, and even early in the season the roll true. The grounds are also well drained, allowing for bounce and roll already in early April.
The course however still does not impress me. There is no common theme in the layout and architecture, and while this is certainly not inherently bad, in this case it leaves the course feeling very disjointed between open parkland parts and the hilly heath-land / moorland holes. A more serious issue is the strange way the architect has chosen, or perhaps been forced to due to limited land availability, design the course. The par 5 holes are ranked index 1, 2, 6 and 9, and the par 3 holes 5, 16, 17, 18, quite bizarre, and there is no reason for this either, most of the par 5 are this tough only because they are long, and they are worse for it since they put their difficulties in play for average golfer on both first and second shots, while the stronger players can easily play past both! While you can argue that you should then play a shorter tee, there is 800 meter difference between the 60 tee and 52 tee, arguably one is too long and one is too short for the majority of male golfers.
Holes 9-13 will be sure divide opinion, playing around, up and down the big hill. I'm not a fan, plenty of blind shots but without any form of fairway markers to indicate the ideal line, where especially the 11th and 13th feels like they needed to try to fit into two par 4s where the terrain does not support it. 10 and 12 are certainly the best holes in this stretch, where the 10th has a great green area tucked into the side of the hill and the short par 3 12th plays in a lovely dell.
Among the better holes outside this stretch are the double deg leg par 5 8th and the tough par 4 16th with a demanding risk and reward tee-shot.
I see the owner of the club has commented below that the course competes with clubs such as Barsebäck, Falsterbo and PGA National. No, Mr Hinton, it certainly does not. There are other courses in southern Sweden not listed on this site that are more deserving of the Gem status, they may not have the conditioning of Rönnebäck, but are certainly better. I strongly feel that good condition can't help a mediocre course be great, but poor condition can certainly bring a good course down.
Weak 3 balls.
Date: April 09, 2017