Linna Golf, one of the most spectacular new golf courses in Europe and the latest member of the PGA European Tour Courses Group, has opened in Finland.
The 6,624m (7,244 yard) layout, designed by Tim Lobb of European Golf Design*, cuts through majestic birch and pine forest bordering a 7km long lake on the historic Vanajan Linna Hotel estate, 100km north of Helsinki.
The course’s natural beauty and outstanding strategic challenge, featuring memorable holes that ride a rolling landscape peppered with rocky outcrops, has already attracted critical acclaim, raising the possibility of top class professional golf coming to Finland in the near future.
Tim Lobb, the 35-year-old Australian course architect, said, “We had a clear brief from the owners to create a European Tour standard course that would also be playable for golfers of all abilities, which is a common request but not easy to deliver.
“The positioning of tees to provide a strategic challenge for both professionals and amateurs was essential and I think this is one of the great successes of Linna Golf. There’s also an excellent combination of uphill, downhill and side-hill holes winding through the forest and then dropping down to the lake and hotel, which makes a stunning backdrop.”
The hotel at Linna Golf, an exquisite former hunting lodge, is one of the most historic and best known in Finland. The addition of a world-class golf course, with one of the best practice and teaching facilities in Europe, is set to elevate the resort and conference centre onto the international golf stage.
Mika Walkamo, president of Linna Golf, said, “When we decided to build a golf course to complement the hotel business, we told EGD we wanted the best golf course in Finland. I have no doubts this is precisely what they have delivered and the response from golfers – professional and amateur – has been phenomenal.
“Our goal has always been to bring top class professional tournaments to Linna Golf – and we now have the course and facilities to do exactly this.”
Anssi Kankkonen, former European Tour professional and director of golf at Linna, said, “Being in the southern part of Finland, we have 24-hour daylight in mid summer including 22 hours of sunlight so you can play golf all night. Playing golf at night is a surreal experience – it’s beautiful to see the sun go down, but to finish your round as the sun is rising again is magical.”
Linna Golf, near Hà¤meenlinna, is within easy reach of Helsinki Airport (100km), serviced by a variety of airlines, and Tampere Airport (80km), with regular Ryanair flights from London Stansted.
For more information, visit www.vanajanlinna.fi or www.linnagolf.fi (English language website to be launched soon)
* Tim Lobb is now a partner of Thomson Perrett and Lobb Golf Course Architects.