Reader’s Golf Report: Springtime Comes to Sweden, Sort Of

Stadium Course, Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, Stockholm, Sweden, February 7, 2013.

Stadium Course, Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, Stockholm, Sweden, February 7, 2013.

Patrick Kroos is a German golfer and blogger, who has been living in Sweden for the past five years. He’s also a publicist, whose main current project is persuading non-Swedes to travel to Sweden to play golf. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, mainly because Sweden, despite having what might seem to be a crippling meteorological disadvantage, is one of the golfiest places on earth. It has fewer than ten million inhabitants, but a million of them are regular players—a significantly higher percentage than in the United States.

One in a million.

One of the million.

Sweden’s golf season is even shorter than Connecticut’s, however. Kroos took the photo at the top of this post in early February, at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, in Stockholm. (The club has two courses, both of which were designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.) The weather has improved quite a bit since he took the picture, but it still has a ways to go. Here’s what it will look like once the weather decides to be cooperative:

This is what the Stadium Course looks like when it thaws.

This is what the Stadium Course at Bro Hof Slott looks like in season.

In a recent email, Kroos wrote:

Winter is loosening its grip on Stockholm slowly and very late this year. Only yesterday did the ice finally break open on Lake Mälaren, the third biggest lake in the country. For Swedish golfers, the wait has been painful and long. Usually, the driving ranges open up in early April, and the eighteen-hole courses follow suit. Not this year, though. By now, only a handful of courses are open, and temperatures are still pretty low. 

That hasn’t stopped the youngsters, however. Kroos took the photo below this past Monday at Hässelby Golfklubb, a nine-hole course with a year-round driving range just outside Stockholm.

2013-04-22 18.45.54

Kroos continued:

My son Paul and some other kids come together every Monday to play golf. And I really mean they play. They are only four and five years old, so at any given moment the tree next to range could become more interesting. But we believe that tree climbing is good for their balance and strength, and that it will make them better players in the future. 

Note the junior push cart. Recent studies have suggested that all young golfers should use push carts at least until they've stopped growing. Golf clubs are heavy, and the load is one-sided.

Note the junior push cart. Recent studies have suggested that all young golfers should use push carts, at least until they’ve stopped growing. Golf bags are heavy, and the load on young shoulders is one-sided, even with two straps.

Kroos and his wife are expecting another future golfer in their family in the next couple of weeks. He continued:

All the parents here are golfers as well, and you can see how much they enjoy seeing their kids having fun. I am sure they all envision a not to distant future when they can go play with their own children on a Sunday morning. 

2013-04-22 18.45.37There’s another compelling reason to visit Sweden with your golf clubs: on the Summer Solstice, Swedes are able to play even more holes than my friends and I did last year. I’ll get there eventually.

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