Gävle Golfklubb in Sweden has appointed golf course architects Tim Lobb and Christian Lundin to develop a new masterplan for its two 18-hole courses and practice facilities.
It will be the first time Lobb, whose firm is based in Woking, England, and Lundin, the Swedish architect who also heads up Henrik Stenson’s design practice, have formally collaborated on a design project. Both architects were in London last week for a ‘Live Learning’ meeting of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects – of which Lobb is the current president and Lundin a council member – at which they spoke exclusively with GCA about the Gävle project.
“We were both invited to submit a proposal to the club separately,” said Lobb. “We’re good friends and have great respect for each other professionally and felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to combine our skills.”
With a population of approximately 80,000 people, Gävle lies approximately 100 miles north of Stockholm on Sweden’s Baltic Sea coast. The club is the only golf facility in the area and has been the proving ground for many professionals, including the Hedblom family, with siblings Marlene and Peter both winners on the European Tour.
Gävle’s Old course is 6,100 yards and the Avan is 6,900 yards. “The Old course is quite short and narrow – it’s quirky,” said Lundin. “Whereas the Avan is longer and more open.” The club also has a nine-hole par three course and additional practice facilities.
Lundin explained that only small changes have been made over the past 20 years. “The club realised the courses were showing their age and needed attention,” he said. “Then they had a really bad winter with flooding, which then froze over to create what was basically the best ice rink in the area.”
“What we’re exploring now is how to create a really strong identity and contrast for each course, giving two distinct playing experiences,” said Lobb. “The Old will remain shorter and more intimate and may be a bit more friendly to players with slower swing speeds. Whereas the Avan will be a true championship venue.”
“Gävle has a real tradition of creating great golfers, so the practice facilities will be a very important aspect of the project,” said Lundin. “The club has always had indoor practice options, which allow golfers to train in winter and I think is part of why they have been so successful.”
Lobb and Lundin are now working on several masterplan options, to give the club solutions for a range of budgets and design preferences, each of which will also address some safety options that have emerged as properties have been constructed close to the course boundaries. They will present their initial ideas before the end of 2022 with a view to creating a final masterplan by spring 2023, with the hope that work could begin in 2024.