Major expansion for Lofoten links

Major expansion for Lofoten links
By Adam Lawrence

British architect Jeremy Turner is extending the Lofoten Golf Links – at 68 degrees north the world's most northerly true links course – to eighteen holes as a part of a major investment aimed at developing the tourist infrastructure of the islands.

Course owner Frode Hov, whose family has lived on the site, on the island of Gimsøy, since the sixteenth century, built the original six hole course with the assistance of the Sweden-based Turner, in the 1990s, and the pair expanded the course to nine holes a few years ago. Now, Hov has brought management company Troon on board to run the soon-to-be-eighteen hole facility, and plans to start work on a 100 bedroom hotel in the spring. The hotel will be the largest in the Lofoten archipelago, which is a popular tourist destination for Norwegians and other northern Europeans. Summer visitors benefit from two months of midnight sun, while later in the year, the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) can often be viewed from the property, which sits on the northern side of Gimsøy, right alongside the Arctic Ocean.

Turner's new-look course will incorporate five of the existing nine holes, though several will be extensively modified, and thirteen new ones. Several holes will play alongside the ocean, while one, the par three second, will feature a green sat on a promontory, with sea on three sides. Other holes will play around areas of Viking graves, and the home green will be set in a rocky amphitheatre below the planned hotel.

Other holes will occupy land slightly further from the shore, with Mount Hoven as a backdrop. Though the site is natural linksland, some areas are extremely rocky, and Turner has been quarrying sand elsewhere on the property to enable the construction of golf holes. Troon agronomist Simon Doyle expects to grass the golf course with 100 per cent fescue, and is currently working on plans for a barebones irrigation system, covering only greens, tees and approaches, though he concedes the 24-hour golfing day during the Arctic summer will make finding opportunities to apply water when necessary a challenge. The new-look course should open in 2014.

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