Architect Christian Lundin of reGolf is close to completing a complete renovation of the Skövde Golfklubb course about 150 km north-east of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city.
The Skövde course occupies ideal rolling terrain, surrounding by protected woodland; though the soil is heavy, it is unarguably a beautiful site for a golf course, though the shape of the land parcel is complex, reducing the routing options available. Lundin says he contemplated some rerouting – in particular, reversing the direction in which several hole corridors at the far end of the course are played – but decided against it in the end.
The work has instead focused on improving drainage in the heavy soil, reducing the size of the course’s enormous greens from an average of over 1,000 sq m (10,700 sq ft) to around 500 sq m, and on building some bold new bunkers that Lundin says will, when finished, have a ragged-edged, natural look. A team from contractor Nelson & Vecchio, led by shaper and project manager Graham Foster, along with David Miller, Alex Foster and the Skövde greenkeeping team have handled the construction.
Standout holes on the new course include the par five seventh, which traverses rollicking terrain and ends at a wide, shallow green with a Lion’s Mouth bunker set in the front. The bunker, as this feature is apt to be, is the dominant influence on the hole’s strategy; the location of the flagstick either behind, left or right of the bunker will determine the ideal line of attack for every golfer.
The eighth is a strong short par four with bunkers threatening a layup tee shot. To go for the green from the tee seems, at first sight, to be insane, but regular players will quickly learn there is much more room than at first appears. The ninth, possibly the best hole on the course, is a medium length par four that doglegs left around woodland and a Colt-like echelon of two bunkers at the corner. There is plenty of room to bail right and take the hazards out of play, but clever contouring of the foregreen means a drive that successfully challenges the bunkers will leave a much simpler, as well as shorter approach. A large bunker sits to the right of the green. The route to the next tee lies directly across the middle of this trap, so the team has built an attractive path of wooden sleepers through the sand.
The rebuilt course is expected to open next summer.