The Lofoten Links Story
The driving force behind Lofoten Links is Frode Hov, whose family have owned the land since the days of the Vikings
Frode’s father Tor originally started the project, gathering some local enthusiasts in 1991 to form The Lofoten Golf Club. Tor then contacted English golf architect Jeremy Turner about the prospect of building a course. Turner had been prolific designing courses in Sweden in the early 90’s, and was an obvious choice at the time.
In 1998 Turner produced 6 holes at Lofoten.
In 2010 the course was extended to 9 holes, and then in 2015 eighteen holes were completed
Along the way some of the original holes were completely changed so it is not easy to identify the original holes
What is clear is that the iconic par 3 second hole was a passion of Frode’s and was not part of the original designs…
Frode was just a lad when his father passed away too early from cancer- but Jeremy Turner has promised Tor that he would assist his son to see the project through.
Frode has studied tourism, and was keen to develop the course further. Over time he gathered financial backing from a Norwegian development institution (SIVA- the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway) who became the major shareholder at Lofoten Links. Frode remains the largest individual investor and other local shareholders make up the shareholding.
Originally the rocky island where hole 2 now sits was only a tee for hole no 3, but Frode identified it as a potentially outstanding par 3, and gathered the finances to make that happen- and now the par 3 second hole at Lofoten Links is one of the world’s most wonderful par 3 holes
Frode now has plans to improve the back tee on the first hole, and has permits for a new clubhouse and hotel. Who knows, but maybe a second course could be in the offering in years to come?
Importantly Frode has taken a measured approach to the devevlopment- which has now been going 26 years steadily improving the course and overall project. And he has not put all his eggs in one basket. The lodges he has built are a delightful place to stay- regardless of whether golf is on your agenda or not.
The farm offers horse rides along the beach and former Viking trails. The rides can be for just an hour or up to 3 days
There is a delightful camping ground situated next to a stunning white sandy beach, and the old farm barn has been converted into a charming restaurant
The season is short at Lofoten- lasting from May to October - but wait!
Lofoten is in the arctic circle and a long way north- 68 degrees north!.
Despite this, the combination of surrounding mountains and Gulf Stream winds, mean the temperatures are quite mild.
We wore short sleeves during our visit in September!
The light at this time of year is quite extraordinary- a warm golden light that is very appealing for photographers
And Lofoten is one of THE best, if not The best place in the world to view the Northern lights in all of their glory. In early September we saw the lights on 2 out of our 3 nights there. Apparently this can occur from late August until early November
Northern lights not your cup of tea?
Well I suggest you journey to Lofoten in their summer. In June/July the area has 24 hours of daylight- so golf can be played around the clock under the midnight sun.
A journey to Lofoten should also include a visit to the local area. We visited Henningsvaer, a small port town with enormous charm that is known as the Venice of Norway, complete with a soccer field on a rocky island promontory - it has to be seen to be believed!
The Golf Course
The links at Lofoten has a magical setting with a combination of imposing mountain and ocean backgounds. 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.
No two holes are the same, and the variation continues on the inland holes where the undulating terrain, rocky outcrops and lakes have all been used to create memorable holes
Notable holes include:
hole 1- an exhilirating short par 4 with an elevated tee requiring a carry over ocean and sandy cove to a tightly protected strip of fairway, and then a short iron to a beachside green
Hole 2- one of the world's iconic par 3's! A short iron to a green set on a rocky island green
Hole 3- a whopping ocean carry to a fairway that arcs around the cove
hole 7- a par 5 over and around a lake where the fairway targets look impossibly narrow but are more playable than they look
hole 12- an imposing 200 metre par 3 with ocean backdrop
hole 13- the approach to the peninsula green on this par 5 is one of the beautiful places in the world
hole 14- a par 4 along the shore, dodging rocky clusters and then turning to a green set by the sea
hole 16- probably the toughest hole, the long par 4 sixteenth is a brute into the wind- being long and tight- and very exposed as the fairway runs along a narrow peninsula to a green surrounded by water
hole 17- another pictureque par 3 with ocean to carry and rocky outcrops scattered in all directions
Lofoten Links is destination golf personified.
It's high in the arctic circle in Norway, and not really an obvious connection to any cluster of courses nearby.
We spent a week playing golf in Iceland before connecting via Oslo to devote a few days to Lofoten, and that worked well. Perhaps Lofoten could also be combined with golf in Sweden, Denmark or Scotland as well?
I would think perhaps 4 nights would be a minimum stay giving anyone the chance to get the most out of their time with the astounding golf course- but also to give the best chance to see the northern lights and experience the local area.
Lofoten Links is a new favourite- one of the best golf and travel experiences we have come across.
We rate it a "Travelling Golfer must play!"
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Norway to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions see Destinations: Norway
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