Sand Golf Club opened its tees for play in 2006 after a long search for land by architects Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest. They selected an old potato farm just outside Jönköping and they fashioned an inland links course based on ideas gleaned from studying Scottish and Irish links courses.
There are plenty of strategically positioned sand hazards dotted around the course, comprising large fairway sand traps and nests of small pot bunkers situated close to putting surfaces. Water also comes into play at several holes, most notably at the 219-metre 3rd, where the green sits behind a large pond.
Feature holes include the 379-metre 6th (which offers a variety of approach angles to the green from a wonderful split fairway), the short par four 14th (where the fairway narrows considerably towards the green), and the right doglegged 18th, which has water to the right and a plethora of bunkers to the left of the home green.
I have seen two very different views of Sand GC: 1) a fabulous modern inland links course, 2) an artificial course slightly out of tune with the surrounding landscape. Those in the second camp often mention the strange volcano-shaped bunker on the second hole featured on many golf magazine covers when the course opened in 2006. I am mostly in the positive camp, because if you have seen a few courses cut out of pine forests growing on top of sand dunes before, you know that woodland and undulations can mix in a very organic way.
The other debate is where the course should be ranked. An early elevation by Golf Magazine into the top 100 outside the U.S. was probably premature, but I think that particular ranking is of interest to very few, even on this specialist website.... Anyway, having played all ten Swedish courses currently ranked above, Sand is one of my personal favourites. I think it is a more exciting and original design than those ranked above and therefore worth considering ahead of Barsebäck and Vasatorp to name a few.
Logistics probably play a role in limiting visitor numbers (and reviews on this site) somewhat. Sand is at least a three hour drive from Stockholm or Copenhagen, so it has to be worth the journey on its own merits.
Now, is it ? I think it is an excellent destination for a short break and the club has developed a hotel on site to cater for this. Some of you may argue that other resorts can offer two or more courses. My retort would be: you only have time for a few rounds during that break anyway, so why not get to know one really good course a bit better?
Final point: chances of playing at your own pace might be better than at any course of comparable quality in Sweden. We had that luxury a few years ago and a quick look at booking sheets as this is written suggests it might still be the case on many days, including week-ends.