Vasatorps Golfklubb’s Tournament course is a pretty unusual design, and several times during my round did I stop and wondered about the solutions the architects used to make it more technical and interesting. In the end I felt ready to go straight for another round though!
You find some parkland holes where trees may catch your ball, some farmland holes, some links-feeling ones (and the rough and hillocks to go with the style). Risky spots are generated by several water hazards (coming into play on 6 holes), a few waste areas (affecting 8 holes), clusters of sand traps here and there, and you encounter a number of big, low, dry stone walls around, or across the fairways (in play on 5 holes). I was told that these boulder walls (the stones are much larger in average than what I have seen around Europe until now) were made from stones lying on the surface of the property and used to serve as boundary markers for the various farmers who owned the land on which the golf course was built, and they are now protected against any dismantling or relocating. Last but not least, the greens are quite contoured and have many slopes so a good reading is essential.
The course is built on mostly flat land so I guess Messrs. Hill and Forrest just used every trick to generate fun and danger for golfers. The result might be a bit puzzling, but it is very pleasurable nonetheless, and the condition of the course is impeccable from tee to green.
Certainly the 13th is rated as the toughest hole on the course, a long par-four going around a big lake with several bunkers threatening to swallow the ball of the long driver who tried to stay safely out of the water, and more lurking just short and right of the somewhat narrow green. I think my favorite was the 5th, a par-four with a drive over water toward a dune-like elevation, and then a second shot to a small, very narrow green protected front and right by a river, and left by overhanging trees. The trick to this hole is that if you drive safely to the right side of the fairway trying not to take on too much of a carry over water, you may well have a blind second shot due to the “dune”. This makes the approach quite risky because of the deep ditch where the river flows.
The 18th hole is also somewhat unusual. It is a long par-four, with a waste area right in front of the tee boxes but not really in play. However, there is also a first stone wall which can come in play if your drive is not very long or down the middle of the fairway. Then the fairway tapers to a thin band before the green, and the surroundings of the green are hidden by a hillock on the left and trees on the right. The only safe place is the long but narrow green itself, as landing left or right will make for a delicate chip from deep dips. The green itself has several slopes to make the pin placement a different puzzle to solve every day.
My personal feeling was that after so much variety, I had the impression that maybe the course lacks a strong identity. However, it was definitely a lot of fun to play, and that is what really counts, isn’t it?
Date: July 28, 2017