- Great Golf Resorts in Northern Europe
Great Golf Resorts in Northern Europe
Great Golf Resorts in Northern Europe
Our last resort golf article focused on countries in central Europe and this time we move further north to examine a selection of golf facilities located in mainly Nordic and Baltic countries.
Our journey starts near Oslo in Norway, moves south to Malmö in Sweden then across the Samsø Bælt by ferry to Aarhus in Denmark. We then traverse a thousand kilometres through northern Germany into Poland and the northern port of Gdańsk.
From there, we head further east towards Vilnius in Lithuania before veering north through Riga in Latvia and the Estonian island of Saaremaa before another ferry trip across the Gulf of Finland and our final destination to the north of Helsinki.
Norway – Miklagard
We start at Miklagard Golf, one of 33 European golf facilities in the IMG Prestige network. For twenty years the club has operated a Robert Trent Jones II-designed course and this layout was purposefully built on a grand large scale to host elite golfing events, staging three editions of the Norwegian Challenge tournament between 2007 and 2017.
Five years ago, a new hotel and spa was built on the former practice area, resulting in the remodelling of the opening hole and the construction of five new holes. The hotel, which trades under the name Lily Country Club, boasts 486 guest rooms, along with four restaurants and bars, conveniently situated close to Gardermoen international airport.
Sweden – PGA Sweden National
Designed by Kyle Phillips, the 45-hole golf complex at PGA Sweden National comprises two 18-hole courses, the Links and the Lakes, along with a 9-hole par three layout. First opened for play fourteen years ago, the facility presented a couple of editions of the Nordea Masters in 2014/15 and the season-ending Swedish Tour Final has been played here the last two years.
On the top floors of the clubhouse, there are sixteen fully furnished suites for golfers who wish to stay and play at what effectively is a boutique hotel. The accommodation has inspiring views across the playing fields and the Skåne landscape beyond and it’s well worth taking advantage of a package deal to be able to wake up right at the first tee!
Denmark – Lübker
The 36-hole Lübker Golf & Spa Resort is home to another Robert Trent Jones II-designed layout, consisting of three championship-standard 9-hole circuits (named Sand, Sky and Forest) and a shorter Pay & Play course where absolute beginners are welcome to literally come in off the street and tee it up without any formal golfing qualification.
Accommodation incorporates 27 apartments (which can sleep up to 4 golfers) next to the clubhouse, along with 19 holiday houses for rental that are dotted around the property, with each of these buildings capable of sleeping 4 to 6 people. Lübker Square is the resort’s wellness oasis and it includes indoor and outdoor spa facilities, subtropical baths and a gymnasium.
Poland – Sand Valley
The 18-hole layout at the Sand Valley Golf Resort opened its doors to visiting golfers in 2009, several years after building work first began on the site. The original construction company was replaced and American architect Tony Ristola brought in to oversee the efforts of new local contractors who eventually delivered a rather unique “inland links” style of course for the Finnish owner.
On-site accommodation is described as “Scandinavian in design and American in spirit” with 18 villas (77 beds) and 12 suites and apartments (17 beds) positioned close to the clubhouse – villas are equipped with saunas and designer kitchens and larger buildings come complete with their own private swimming pool.
Lithuania – V Golf Club
Located half an hour’s drive north of Vilnius, the 18-hole layout at the V Golf Club held the European Men’s and Ladies’ Team Shield tournaments in 2019. Jon Hunt from PGA Design laid out the course fourteen years ago, when he expanded the original very modest golf facility of three short holes and a driving range into a modern setup which is now able to hold international golf events.
The hotel at the adjacent Vilnius Grand Resort has 240 rooms, complemented by a spa and wellness centre (with pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a variety of water massage experiences). There are also basketball and tennis courts, a lake for fishing and during the summer season guests can visit the private beach.
Latvia – Jurmala
Fashioned by Dirk Bouts from Nicklaus Design, the Championship 18-hole layout and 9-hole par three academy course at Jurmala Golf Club & Hotel in Riga debuted in 2018. Like V Golf Club, Jurmala staged the same two EGA team competitions in 2021, confirming its tournament-hosting capabilities. It’s hard to believe with the quality of this new design that a rather ordinary course once occupied the same site.
The on-site boutique hotel features 17 double/twin rooms (extending to 18 square metres) and 2 suites that are more than double the size of the standard rooms. All rooms are air conditioned, with stay and play guests also having the use of the sauna. Meals can be taken in the clubhouse restaurant (with seating for 70) or by ordering room service.
Estonia – Saare
Saaremaa in Saare County is the largest island in Estonia, requiring visitors to take the ferry across the Suur Strait then drive across a causeway from the island of Muhu to reach it. Saaremaa Golf & Country Club is the island’s golfing jewel, designed by Lassi Pekka Tilander in 2008, with holes set out as two returning nines and water coming into play more often than not during a round here.
The club collaborates with several hotels – namely the Arensburg Boutique Hotel & Spa, Georg Ots Spa Hotel, Johan Spa Hotell and Grand Rose Spa Hotel – to offer 5-day or 7-day golf packages, allowing visitors unlimited golf, breakfast at the hotel and use of the club sauna while residing at these spa hotels in nearby Kuressaare.
Finland – Linna
One of a select group of 18 European golf facilities in the worldwide European Tour Destinations portfolio, Linna Golf is an early new millennium production from Tim Lobb when he was working with European Golf Design. With holes routed through mature woodland next to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Katumajärvi, the course was a popular venue for professionals competing in the inaugural European Tour Properties Senior Classic in the summer of 2017.
Positioned only a short 5-minute walk from the clubhouse, the Hotel Vanajanlinna provides luxurious accommodation in a historic manor house setting from the early 1900s. The main building contains 34 guest rooms, restaurant and event rooms, all decorated in the style of the original Manor. Additional boarding options are available at the Grand Suites, Club Suites and Vanajanlinna Villas which are situated even closer to the course.
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