I waxed lyrical about our first tour to Malmo, Sweden last year and make no excuse for doing so again following this years Gothenburg tour. As last year, we stayed at an Elite hotel in the city centre and were able to walk out into town for shopping, good restaurants and to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere created by the bars and cafes that spill out onto the pavements. With no language barrier, as literally everyone moves effortlessly into the English language, the friendliness experienced throughout and some very good, at times stunning golf, I truly find it difficult to fault, as did those who returned with me from last years tour.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city, but our longest journey to golf was 30 minutes from the centre and although busier, similar to Italy, the courses are more akin to visiting members clubs at home rather than the commercial aspect experienced when playing in the Algarve and Costa del Sol. A friendly unhurried welcome, no starters or incompetent marshals on the course and excellent playing conditions lend itself to an experience I highly recommend.
I’m sure our relatively low numbers on the two tours are mainly down to expectations of the climate, however, both years shirt sleeve golf has been the norm for the vast majority of the week and even in the evenings a light sweater is more than adequate.
Our first game took place at Delsjo GC set in undulating wooded countryside reminiscent of courses we visited in Canada and simply delightful. Mary and Don won the 4bbb with an excellent 39 points.
St Jorgen Park GC for our second round is a course of two halves having been extended from its original 9 holes. The older first nine being shorter and more undulating with 4 par three’s and the new second nine longer and flatter with a more modern heathland feel. Val and Arnold prevailed over Vanessa and Don 37 to 36.
We think of Sweden being a relatively new golf nation, but on our third days play at Goteborgs GC we discovered a course opened in 1902! Glorious views overlooking the sea and distant Marina from the higher holes on the fabulous front nine which over shadowed the flatter parkland back nine that, like so many older courses at home, was a little tight for room suffering from lack of land to extend for the modern game.
Following a rest day which included a morning guided city tour, the final two days took us to two of the regions newer courses Vallda and Hills golf clubs and little money had been spared on their construction. Vallda GC, although 20 kilometres inland, is a true links test! Fast running fairways, firm links greens, a burn or two and grasses reminiscent of the best Scottish Links, opened in 2009 and mature well beyond its years. Don and Val scored a splendid 40 points to seal a place at the top of our 4bbb table as leading Lady and Gent.
In complete contrast Hills GC, named after the designer Arthur Hills, but very apt for the terrain, is set in a wonderful undulating forest with almost every hole a picture postcard golf hole. Only opened in 2014, a real beauty and a fitting end to what has quickly become one of my favourite destinations.
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