Located on Sweden’s second-largest island, Öland, Grönhögen Golf Links offers an irresistible challenge: an 18-hole course, created by a Swedish former Ryder Cup player and inspired by Scottish links courses. Invigorating ocean breezes will test even the most proficient golfer, while the coastal scenery offers a stunning backdrop
Golden shores fringe the north of Sweden’s smallest province, Öland island, covered in fairytale forests dotted with historic windmills. It’s the 75 nature reserves and swathes of countryside that make Sweden’s second-largest island a popular summer spot for Swedes (including the royal family), with Ölands Skördefest, the island’s three-day harvest festival, being the biggest in the country.
Head south for the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-strewn landscape, home to ancient burial grounds and limestone plateaus. No fewer than 28 orchid types are peppered across the island, but it’s the vast countryside that makes Öland the ideal spot for golfing.
Overlooking the Baltic Sea, Grönhögen Golf Links offers breathtaking coastal views and refreshing ocean breezes. On-site accommodation is available for those wishing to spend the night or have a break; guests can choose from a selection of seaside cottages, mini-suites or modern hotel rooms adjacent to the greens.
Close to the city of Kalmar in southeast Sweden, this Scottish-inspired links course was redesigned in 2005 by Pierre Fulke and remains one of the top golf courses in the region.
The resort lies on the coast of Öland; with its vast stretches of sandy beaches, limehouse quarries, rich flora and fauna, and plenty of hiking and cycling trails, it’s a popular summer holiday spot for families. Visitors can also discover the island’s rich history with trips to Iron Age ruins, fortresses and tombs.
The 18-hole course remains in excellent playing condition regardless of the weather, thanks to natural drainage and irrigation. Peat bunkers — easy to get into but difficult to escape from — provide plenty of challenges, while the ninth and 18th holes require plays across water. The track is distinctive, with the front nine holes at par 33 and the final nine offering a massive par 39, including four par fives. Although the views can be distracting, the course requires intense focus, as strong winds can blow from every direction.
While the design is inspired by Scottish links courses, the one thing Grönhögen doesn’t share with the Highlands is rain — southern Öland is blessed with ample sunshine. Mild winds provide clear and mostly sunny weather, while warm days stretch out into autumn.
Yearly renovations mean that returning visitors will always experience something new. An onsite shop sells golfing essentials and a PGA professional is always on hand to offer lessons to visitors of every skill level.
For those wanting a break from golf, the nearby Stora Alvaret, a beautiful limestone plateau, offers a chance to relax with fishing and swimming.
Designed by three-time European Tour winner and former Ryder Cup player Pierre Fulke (a veteran of 40 other golf projects), the course makes the most of its narrow site, wedged between the ocean and woodland. The 17th hole is placed in a former limestone quarry, while a small island was specially created for the 18th. Pierre spent two years expanding the existing nine-hole course to suit its location, with sand dune ‘link’ features tying in the sea and land.
The restaurant at Grönhögen serves an array of delicious fare, including a buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner are created using the finest locally-sourced ingredients and served with a view over the green, while drinks can be enjoyed on the verandah. For those in a hurry to get back out on the course, the cafe and bistro also offers quick bites.
After a long day of golf, guests can make the most of Grönhögen’s accommodation, situated opposite the course. Here, guests can unwind in cottages overlooking the sea, stretch out in mini-suites or stay in modern hotel rooms before waking up to views over the green.
An onsite shop sells everything a golfer needs, from gloves to carts and balls.
PGA pros are available to help golfers make the most out of the course. Instructions and training from the professionals includes everything from beginners’ courses to advanced lessons.
Beyond the course
Visitors shouldn’t miss the abundance of outdoor activities on offer in the area. From kitesurfing and fishing to tennis and jet skiing, there’s always something new to do at Grönhögen to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor surroundings. The summer months are ideal for birdwatching in Ottenby or a range of water-based activities in the sea and nearby lake.
Unwind and relax after a day of golf in one of Grönhögen’s ocean-view cottages
Need to know
• 18-hole golf course (open April-September)
• Onsite accommodation
• Golf shop
• PGA instructor
• Practice area
• Rental clubs