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Golfing in Finland

If you’re looking for a golfing holiday with a difference, then pack your bags and head to Finland, where expert design and perfect natural surroundings combine to offer just the sort of challenge you will relish.

If you’re looking for a golfing holiday with a difference, then pack your bags and head to Finland, where expert design and perfect natural surroundings combine to offer just the sort of challenge you will relish.

Summertime in Finland means fantastic opportunities for playing golf – around the clock if you really want to! That’s because the wonderful white nights of June and July offer the perfect excuse to get out onto a course after you’ve managed to spend the day doing everything else. Finnish finish work at five o’clock and head off to the golf course to tee off as late as eight! When that last putt goes down on the eighteenth green the sun is still shining bright.

One of the best things about Finnish golf courses is the lack of crowds. There are 107 golf courses in Finland. Not as many as in Britain or the United States of course, but the great thing about Finland is that there are only around 80,000 registered golfers – an average of around 500 per 18-hole course. So you can always get a tee-off time, even at short notice.

Water hazards

Many of Finland’s golf courses find themselves with more than their fair sure of water hazards. After all, with nearly 200,000 lakes in Finland, it would be hard to ignore the water. And when you count all the thousands of miles of rivers and seacoast, it’s easy to see why so many Finnish courses are designed around natural water hazards. The advice to the visitor, then, is to bring extra balls.

Let’s now take a look at the sort of weather you can expect in Finland. The golf season in Finland lasts from May until September, sometimes much longer. Typical summer weather is in the 20s Celsius (that’s the 70s Fahrenheit), offering a perfect climate for getting into the swing without breaking into a sweat.

Easy access

Guests are welcome on all Finnish golf courses. The best way to organise a game is to get in touch with the nearest Finnish Tourist Board office or an incoming tour operator. They will be able to get you onto any course in Finland, no matter how exclusive, even up to a year in advance - or even occassionally on a few hours’ notice. They can even get you guaranteed tee-off times at courses in our neighbouring countries.

Golf around the clock

You don’t have to be a die-hard golfer to take part in a Midnight or Marathon Club Golf Tournament, but it helps. Finland straddles the Arctic Circle so that in the north, the sun shines nonstop from June until August. In southern Finland the sun shines twenty-one hours a day, with a few hours of twilight in between. So you can head for the greens almost anytime you want. These long days also mean that not everyone is going to want to tee off at the same time. There are far fewer players per course than in most other golfing countries.

And since the day is so long, golfers are spread out around the clock. Put this all together and you can see why there’s never a crowd. There are dozens of Midnight and Marathon Tournaments each summer. Midnight Golf Tournaments usually start or end at midnight, or they are played all night under the Midnight Sun. Marathon Golf Tournaments feature three or even four rounds of competitive golf in one day.

The one-hour putt

Tee off and watch your shot go into another time zone and another country. Putt at eleven o’clock and watch it sink an hour later at twelve o’clock. The Green Zone Golf Course, in the neighbouring cities of Tornio, Finland, and Haparanda, Sweden, straddles two time zones and two countries. You don’t have to show your passport when you cross the green, but you can if you like - and have it stamped as you go.

This unique course was planned by the British golf course designer Peter Chamberlain. Half of the course is in Sweden and the other half in Finland. It lies along the majestic Tornio River, the largest free-flowing river in Europe which is also famous for its enormous salmon. And the course is well-known for its enormous time difference tee shots - one hour from tee to fairway or green!

Golf courses in FinlandWe can’t list every single golf course in Finland here, but we can guide you through the different regions so that you can choose where might best suit you for a Finnish golfing break.

Helsinki is a seaside city that is just the right size. It’s easy to get around to see the cultural sites - and out to the golf courses. Tee off and take off! If you are in Helsinki for a few days on business and you have a free afternoon before your flight home, why not get in a round of golf with a Stop Over Golf package? Even if you happen to be at Helsinki Airport for a few hours between flights, you could have time for the front nine at one of the nearby courses. There are more than 20 courses within an hour of the airport.

For a pleasant trip, stay in Turku, the oldest city in Finland, for a couple of days and play the courses in the area, then drive back to Helsinki, taking in, for example, the Nordcenter Golf & Country Club or the St. Laurence Golf course, or close to twenty more long the way before reaching Helsinki.

Or why not start your trip by flying to the Åland Islands? Play some of the most extraordinary archipelago golf in the world before taking a 5.5-hour sea trip on board a cruise ship through the world’s largest archipelago from Mariehamn to Turku. Then start another golf adventure from here towards Helsinki, Finland’s capital city.

The region along the Baltic coast of Bothnia is the breadbasket of Finland. Take your time exploring the courses in the area, but be sure to visit the course in Seinäjoki designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. It’s his only design in northern Europe, and he ranks it among his top three world-wide favourites. Don’t miss it.

The city of Tampere stands beside the rapids joining two large lakes, Lakes Pyhäjärvi and Näsijärvi. In additon to these, there are 180 smaller lakes within the city limits, so there is water on almost all sides of the city. Water was the source of power for the mills built along the rapids, and water is also the theme of many of the courses in the area.

Calling Finland’s Lakeland the land of ten thousand lakes would be far too modest. They have been counted: in Finland there are a grand total of 187,888 lakes more than two acres in size. The lakes are a labyrinth of interconnected waterways, bays, lakes, rivers and canals with locks for steamboats to rise up to the next level.

This is a golfer’s paradise as well. As you might expect in the land of lakes, water hazards are the theme of many of the courses. While you are here, be sure to visit the magnificent Olavinlinna Castle, home of the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.

In the north of Finland the sun stays above the horizon around the clock. And for a round of golf after midnight, nothing could be better than Oulu Golf or the 9-hole Arctic Golf Club, which is even farther north, right on the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. The sun shines bright here for a couple of months each summer, which makes these courses great for marathon competitions.

For more information, check out the Finnish Tourist Board’s website: www.visitfinland.com/golf


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