Göteborgs Golf Klubb, the oldest club in Sweden, has begun a long-term renovation project supervised by architect Christian Lundin of international design practice (re)GOLF.
Viktor Setterberg, known as the father of golf in the country, and the founder of the Swedish Golf Federation, played a key role in the foundation of the club in 1902. In 1904, Setterberg was responsible for the club's move to its current home in the seaside suburb of Hovås. Most of the current layout dates from 1932, when English designer Andrew Persson rebuilt the course.
With Lundin's help, the club has created a long-term improvement plan that will see work being carried out to many of the holes over several years. The plan was adopted by members at an annual general meeting.
Work has begun on the first phase of alterations. "One of the key issues is that the property is extremely tight, only around 30ha," said Lundin. "On the sixteenth hole, which has a busy road running down the right side, we are creating a new bunker and mound complex to prevent tee shots bouncing into the road."
But safety isn't the only priority. Lundin is keen to emphasise the historic nature of the course, and also to highlight its seaside location. "On the second, which is the oldest existing golf hole in Sweden, our objective is to restore back to an aerial from 1943, which is the oldest we have," he said. "Club records suggest the hole was not altered from its original configuration until the 1950s, so we believe we will truly be restoring Swedish golf history."
The course's most dramatic hole is the sixth, which sees golfers drive from an elevated tee over a quarry, before hitting their approach to a peninsula green that backs into a freshwater lagoon, separated from the sea only by a narrow bank. "We really want to emphasise the seaside feel on the sixth," said Lundin. "We will remove all the trees surrounding the hole, and this will bring the water behind the green right into the player's face."
General manager Niklas Svantesson, who joined the club in 2011, has been a key driving force behind the project. "As Sweden's oldest golf club, it's vital for us to respect and emphasise our history, but it's also vital that we present members and guests with a golf course that is fit for the future," he said. "We believe this plan will help us do that, and we're excited to be working with Christian and (re)GOLF to make it happen."
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