Halmstad Golf Club was originally founded in 1930 and in those days golf was played on the army training ground. Some better land was soon identified and in 1935 Rafael Sundblom of Stockholm started work on a new course and three years later it was ready for play.
In 1963, Nils Sköld was commissioned to lay out an additional nine holes to the north of the existing course. Therefore, the North course comprises of the nine holes designed by Nils Sköld and the back nine of the Rafael Sundblom layout. The South course, as it is now called, is not a bad track either.
There are some cracking holes at Halmstad but the par three 16th is something special. In fact it was voted Sweden’s best golf hole in 2004. Measuring 164 metres from the back tees, “the Brook” is protected by a creek. If Bernard Darwin was alive he might describe the 16th as follows: “At the sixteenth there is one of those uncomfortable tee-shots, which are so excellent. There is a brook, a nasty insidious serpentine beast of a brook, which winds its way from the tee all the way up to the right hand side of the green, and it is our duty, if we desire a birdie putt, to carry the brook, yet if we show ourselves the least bit too affectionate towards it, this ungrateful brook will assuredly engulf our ball to our utter destruction.”
With gorgeous sandy soil, undulating fairways, plateaux greens, tempting doglegs, ravines and brooks, it’s no wonder that Halmstad is where Europe’s greatest golfers want to play. Anders Forsbrand made a winning breakthrough here in the 1982 PGA Open Championship. Laura Davis tore the course apart in 1999 with an astounding 15 under par. The Solheim Cup was played at Halmstad in 2007 and the European side, which featured England’s Laura Davies – the only player to have taken part in all ten Solheim Cups – lost 16-12 to the Americans, despite holding a one-point lead heading into the singles matches.
There’s a great deal of peace and tranquillity at Halmstad and who can blame people for flocking here to enjoy that experience. Great avenues of trees provide a wonderful sense of isolation and you have nothing to do other than focus on the hole at hand except, of course, to fill your lungs with the smell of pine and sea air. Delightful.