Top 100 Golf Courses updates its Nordic rankings 2020
This news release covers the five Northern European nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. We’re increasing the number of courses featured in this region by extending three of the national listings so we now publish ranking details for almost two hundred of the approximately 970 golfing layouts that are spread out across this vast northern section of the continent.
The latest KPMG Golf Participation Report for Europe 2019 indicates participation rates are collectively slightly down in these five countries for the period 2017-18, though Iceland and Norway both buck the general trend; the former recording a 0.82% increase to 17,164 registered golfers and the latter posting a 2.28% rise to 103,000 affiliated members.
More encouragingly, a similar document co-produced by the R&A and the European Golf Association entitled the European Golf Participation Report 2019 highlights that Iceland’s registered golfers as a percentage of the population (5%) is the highest in Europe, edging Sweden (4.8%) into second place. The Swedes also have the most junior golfers (46,844) and 3rd most adult female players (121,552) so it’s not all doom and gloom in this part of the golfing world.
The leading seven courses in our Denmark Top 40 remain in the same position, which means that the Old course at The Scandinavian is still our #1 layout. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior and opened for play a decade ago, it’s been the national No.1 since taking over the top spot in 2014. Comprising 50% of a fabulous 36-hole golf complex on the outskirts of Copenhagen, the Old course is also one of five Danish tracks to currently feature in our Continental European Top 100.
The Scandinavian - Old course
Twenty-five kilometres further north of the capital lies Simon’s Golf Club, and here the A and B nines now climb two places to #8. Laid out by Martin Hawtree in the early 1990s, the original 18-hole layout has since had a newer loop (the “C” nine) added to form a very impressive 27-hole golf facility. Many will take for granted that the Made in Denmark tournament is now an annual fixture on the professional calendar, but not so long ago Simon’s held the inaugural Danish European Tour event, the Nordic Open, where Ian Poulter won the one and only edition in 2003.
There’s only one new Danish entry, Sønderjyllands Golfklub in Southern Jutland, situated less than fifteen kilometres from the border with Germany. The fairways are set out in an area formerly known as the Gravel Balls, which forms the western continuation of a large glacial meltwater cone, with gravel deposits to a depth of up to forty meters in places. The club celebrated fifty years of operation in 2018, having started out with a 9-hole layout before another nine holes were added in stages up until 1986.
|1||Scandinavian (Old)||No change|
|2||Great Northern||No change|
|3||Lubker (Sand & Sky)||No change|
|4||Scandinavian (New)||No change|
|5||Esbjerg (Marbæk)||No change|
|6||Holstebro (Skovbanen - Forest)||No change|
|7||Silkeborg (Syd-Vest)||No change|
|8||Simon's (A & B)||Up 2|
|9||Lyngbygaard (18-hole)||Down 1|
|10||Stensballegaard (Brakor & Elbaek)||Up 1|
|13||Skjoldenæsholm (Trent Jones Jr.)||No change|
|14||Hvide Klit||Up 3|
|15||Royal Golf Club||Down 1|
|16||Himmerland (Backtee)||Down 1|
|17||Ledreborg Palace||Up 1|
|19||Furesø (Farum & Hestkøbsgård)||Up 1|
|21||H.C. Andersen||Up 1|
|22||Aalborg (Red & Yellow)||Down 1|
|23||Vejle (Parken & Skoven)||Up 1|
|25||Hjarbæk Fjord (Nord & Syd)||Up 2|
|26||Sct. Knuds||No change|
|28||Ry Silkeborg||Up 3|
|31||Laesø Seaside||Down 1|
|33||Royal Oak||Down 4|
|37||Korsør (Old)||Up 1|
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 40 Golf Courses of Denmark click the link.
There are only five non-movers in our newly extended rankings for Finland and one of the layouts retaining its former position is the national #1, the South East course at Kytäjä Golf. We’ve been listing Finnish courses biennially since 2008 and this one has topped the table every time so it’s probably no surprise that it holds onto its No. 1 status. Designed by Tom McBroom, it forms half the golfing complement at a stylish 36-hole complex that opened its doors to visitors early in the new millennium.
Kytäjä - South East course
A couple of courses make admirable six-place gains in our new Top 40: the first is the 18-hole layout at Aura Golf (at #13) which was initially set out on the island of Ruissalo, outside Turku, back in 1958 and the second is the more modern course at Virpiniemi Golf (at #16), where Jan Sederholm fashioned two distinct returning nines in 2006, close to the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia on the Baltic Sea.
The highest of our ten new entries is the Castle course at Ålands Golfklubb (new at #12) in the Åland Islands, which we used to list separately, but we’ve now integrated the archipelago into our mainstream Finnish standings. The 18-hole Castle layout has just undergone an extensive upgrade by Philip Spogárd, who installed a new irrigation system, renovated greens to USGA standard, and reworked all the sand hazards with Durabunker edging.
Ålands - Castle course
|1||Kytäjä G.C. (South East)||No change|
|3||Viipurin (Etela-Saimaa)||Up 1|
|4||Kytäjä G.C. (North West)||Down 1|
|5||Nordcentre (Fream)||No change|
|6||Tahko (Old)||No change|
|7||Nordcentre (Benz)||Up 3|
|8||Vierumäki (Cooke)||Up 3|
|11||Pickala (Forest)||Down 3|
|12||Ålands (Castle)||New entry|
|15||Lakeside (Pirunpelto)||Down 3|
|18||Nokia River (Rock)||Down 5|
|19||Levi Golf||Down 5|
|20||St Laurence (Pyhä Lauri)||Down 5|
|22||Ålands (King's)||New entry|
|23||Pickala (Seaside)||Down 7|
|24||Tahko (New)||Down 6|
|25||Oulun (Sanki)||Down 1|
|26||Sarfvik (New)||Up 1|
|28||Pickala (Park)||Down 3|
|29||St Laurence (Kalkki-Petteri)||New entry|
|31||Master (Master)||Down 5|
|34||Talma (Master)||Down 5|
|35||Sarfvik (Old)||New entry|
|40||Sea Golf Rönnäs (Meri)||New entry|
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 40 Golf Courses of Finland click the link.
Only one course remains in the same place for this revision and it’s Iceland’s #1 layout, the 18-hole Hvaleyrarvöllur course at Keilir Golf Club, located half an hour’s drive from Reykjavik airport. The club started out with a modest 9-hole set-up in 1967 then holes were gradually added over the following thirty years until the current 27-hole facility became a reality in 1996. Mackenzie & Ebert have been involved in recent renovation work here, ensuring the links maintains a firm grip on its top billing status in Iceland.
The only new entry in the 2018 version of the Iceland chart was Edwin Roald’s 12-hole layout at Brautarholt Golf Club, which debuted at No.9. After adding three new holes, the course now leaps five places up the 2020 listings to No.4, with a reviewer describing it last year as “a very pleasant surprise... the views from the course are spectacular the whole way round while the cliff side holes are the show stopper… for a great day of fun golf where thinking your way around is rewarded I can highly recommend Brautarholt.”
The first of five newcomers arrives at #10 and it’s the White River Golf Course at Golfklúbburinn Kiðjaberg, situated seventy kilometres east of the capital. Work started on the layout in 1989 before a 9-hole track was brought into play five years later. Another decade then passed before it was finally extended to an 18-hole layout and there’s also now a 5-hole par three course available for junior and learner golfers at a tidy little golf club.
|2||Reykjavik (Grafarholt)||Up 1|
|5||Leynir - Akranes||Down 1|
|6||Oddur (Urrida)||Up 1|
|7||Reykjavik (Korpa)||Down 2|
|8||Sudurnesja (Holmsvollur)||Down 2|
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 15 Golf Courses of Iceland click the link.
Lofoten Links is still the #1 course in Norway and it also now occupies a position in the upper half of our Top 100 for Continental Europe. It’s quite a turnaround in fortunes for a rather out of the way development that started out in the early 1990s with just a few holes etched into a fantastic natural landscape on the island of Gimsøya in the northern reaches of the country, where golf can be played 24 hours a day in the summertime.
A recent post summed up the course rather well: “the links at Lofoten has a magical setting with a combination of imposing mountain and ocean backgrounds. The routing of the links incorporates no less than seven gorgeous ocean-side holes. The combination of granite boulders defining tight landing areas plus carries over rolling sea and sandy coves on these holes is intoxicating.”
The biggest upward move in the Norwegian Top 30 is made by the course at Elverum Golfklubb, rising five spots to No. 22. Construction of the layout began in 1987 and the first nine holes were commissioned twelve months later. An extension to eighteen holes was then undertaken in 1990 and the completed project was ready for play by the end of the following year. In 1993, the old club folded but the new club management has gone from strength to strength ever since.
The only new entry appears at #28 and it’s the woodland course at Utsikten Golfpark, overlooking the town of Kvinesdal and the magnificent Fedafjord which runs south from the mouth of the river Kvina to the Listafjorden. It’s a fabulous environment for golf; the wild forest and edge of the moors on one side, with the fjord leading to the ocean on the other.
|1||Lofoten Links||No change|
|10||Byneset (Nord)||Up 2|
|13||Sola (Mesterskapsbanen)||Up 2|
|15||Moss & Rygge||Down 1|
|17||Losby (Østmork)||Up 2|
|20||Gamle Fredrikstad||Up 2|
|29||Haga (Gul & Rød)||Up 1|
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 30 Golf Courses of Norway click the link.
The Stadium course at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club is our No. 1 course in Sweden for the 6th straight edition of our newly extended Swedish standings, having risen from No. 3 to the chart summit in 2010. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior, the course will host the Scandinavian Mixed tournament in June this year, with male and female professionals from the European Tour and Ladies European Tour going head-to-head for one prize fund and one trophy.
Bro Hof Slott - Stadium course
Advancing seven places to #9, the Östra course at Kristianstads Golfklubb enters the Top 10 ranking tier in Sweden for the first time, after twelve years of fluctuating between #13 and #20. Founded in 1924, Kriastianstad is one of the oldest clubs in the country, starting out with a modest a 9-hole course then evolving into a 36-hole golf facility in the modern era.
Kristianstad - Östra course
In 1986, it hosted the Kristianstad Open, a Ladies European Tour event featuring stars like Liselotte Neumann, Helen Alfredsson and Laura Davies. In September this year, 126 of the world’s finest professional women golfers will compete in another LET event, the Creekhouse Ladies Open, with a €400,000 prize fund on offer for those taking part.
The highest of our new entries makes an appearance at #32 and it’s the Södra course at Skövde Golfklubb, which is the main golfing component of a 27-hole set-up at the club. Architect Christian Lundin of reGOLF has recently completed a rebuild of the original Peter Nordwall design, using contractor Nelson & Vecchio to grass the layout with fescue and encourage the ground game wherever possible, improving the overall playing experience for every standard of golfer.
Skövde - Södra course
|1||Bro Hof Slott (Stadium)||No change|
|4||Halmstad (Norra)||Down 1|
|6||PGA of Sweden National (Links)||Up 1|
|7||Barsebäck (Masters)||Down 1|
|9||Kristianstad (Östra)||Up 7|
|11||PGA of Sweden National (Lakes)||Down 1|
|12||Vasatorp (TC)||Down 3|
|14||Kungliga Drottningholm||Up 3|
|15||Bro Hof Slott (Castle)||Down 4|
|16||Frösåker (Stora)||Down 1|
|17||Ljunghusen (1-18)||Down 3|
|18||Vidbynäs (South)||No change|
|20||Vasatorp (Classic)||No change|
|27||Bokskogen (Gamla)||Down 1|
|28||S:t Arild||Down 1|
|29||Bastad (Gamla)||Up 3|
|30||Halmstad (Södra)||Up 8|
|31||Upsala (Gamla)||Up 2|
|32||Skövde (Södra)||New entry|
|34||Arlandastad (Masters)||Down 3|
|35||LinksGolf Öland||Down 7|
|36||Landeryd (Vesterby)||Down 2|
|39||Isaberg (Ostra)||Down 4|
|40||Osteraker (Öster by Stenson)||New entry|
|42||Varberg (Vastra)||Down 2|
|43||Barsebäck (Steel)||Down 2|
|44||Katrineholm (Gamla)||Up 1|
|45||Österlen (Lilla Vik)||Down 3|
|46||Kungsbacka (Gamla)||Down 3|
|50||Woodlands (Cedar & Pine)||Up 8|
|51||Osteraker (Vasterled)||New entry|
|53||Landeryd (Norra)||Down 9|
|54||Landskrona (Erikstorp)||New entry|
|55||Ekerum (Långe Jan)||Down 2|
|56||Vidbynas (North)||Down 9|
|58||Falkenberg (18-hole)||Down 3|
|59||Bro-Balsta (Stora)||No change|
|60||Kalmar (Old)||No change|
|62||Kungsängen (Kings)||Down 11|
|66||Kristianstad (Vastra)||Down 9|
|68||Österlen Djupadal||New entry|
To view the complete detailed list of the Top 70 Golf Courses of Sweden click the link.
Top 100 Golf Courses