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Discover Iceland’s top golf courses with our comprehensive guide. From the dramatic landscapes of Keilir Golf Course to the challenging layout of Grafarholt at Reykjavik Golf Club, each course offers a unique blend of natural beauty and golfing excitement. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or planning your first golfing adventure, explore our detailed insights to plan an unforgettable experience on Iceland’s greens.

Introduction

Iceland is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural wonders, from cascading waterfalls to towering glaciers. Yet, nestled amidst this picturesque landscape lies a hidden gem for sports enthusiasts: its vibrant golfing scene. While travelers flock to Iceland to witness the dance of the northern lights or bathe in the steaming waters of geothermal springs, golfers discover a different kind of magic on the fairways and greens of the country’s top courses.

Golfing in Iceland is an experience like no other. Picture yourself teeing off against the backdrop of rugged volcanic terrain, with the midnight sun casting an ethereal glow on the landscape. Here, amidst the raw beauty of Iceland’s wilderness, golfers find a sense of serenity and adventure that is truly unparalleled.

Understanding Iceland’s Golfing Landscape

Iceland’s golfing landscape is as diverse as the country itself, offering a range of courses that cater to every skill level and preference. With over 70 courses spread across the island, golfers have the opportunity to play in some of the most breathtaking settings imaginable.

The allure of Iceland’s golf courses lies not only in their stunning scenery but also in their unique challenges. Many courses are built on volcanic terrain, characterized by rocky outcrops and undulating fairways that require precision and strategy to navigate. Additionally, the country’s coastal location means that wind is often a factor, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the game.

One of the most remarkable aspects of golfing in Iceland is the phenomenon of the midnight sun. During the summer months, the sun never fully sets, bathing the landscape in an otherworldly glow that allows golfers to play well into the night. This surreal experience is a highlight for many visitors and adds an extra element of magic to an already unforgettable golfing adventure.

Benefits of Golfing in Iceland

Golfing in Iceland offers a unique set of benefits that set it apart from more traditional golfing destinations. Here’s why golf enthusiasts should consider teeing off in the Land of Fire and Ice:

  1. Natural Beauty: Iceland’s golf courses are set amidst some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes. From volcanic mountains to coastal cliffs and lush valleys, each course offers a backdrop that is as challenging as it is breathtaking.
  2. Midnight Sun: One of the most remarkable aspects of golfing in Iceland is the opportunity to experience the midnight sun during the summer months. With daylight stretching well past midnight, golfers can enjoy extended playing hours and a surreal atmosphere unlike anywhere else.
  3. Unique Challenges: Iceland’s volcanic terrain and coastal winds present unique challenges for golfers of all skill levels. Courses often feature dramatic elevation changes, natural hazards like lava fields, and strategic layouts that demand precision and creativity.
  4. Peace and Tranquility: Away from the hustle and bustle of more crowded golf destinations, Iceland’s courses offer a sense of peace and tranquility. The quiet solitude of playing amidst Iceland’s pristine nature adds to the overall experience.
  5. Cultural Experience: Golfing in Iceland is not just about the game; it’s about immersing oneself in Icelandic culture and hospitality. Many courses are located near historic sites or traditional villages, allowing golfers to explore and experience the local culture.
  6. Environmental Stewardship: Icelandic golf courses are often committed to environmental sustainability. They blend harmoniously with their natural surroundings and prioritize practices that minimize environmental impact, making them a responsible choice for eco-conscious golfers.

Criteria for Ranking Iceland’s Top Golf Courses

Ranking Iceland’s top golf courses involves considering several key criteria that contribute to their overall quality and appeal. Here are the factors that play a significant role in determining the best of the best:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The aesthetic appeal of a golf course’s surroundings, including views of natural landmarks, coastline, and volcanic formations.
  2. Course Design and Layout: The strategic design of the course, including the placement of hazards, elevation changes, and overall flow of play.
  3. Playing Conditions: Factors such as course maintenance, quality of greens and fairways, and how well the course handles weather conditions like wind and rain.
  4. Facilities and Amenities: The quality of clubhouse facilities, practice areas, dining options, and overall customer service.
  5. Historical Significance and Reputation: Whether the course has hosted prestigious tournaments, its historical significance within Icelandic golfing culture, and its reputation among golfers.
  6. Accessibility and Location: Proximity to major cities or tourist hubs, ease of access, and convenience for travelers.
  7. Environmental Responsibility: Commitment to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship, including efforts to preserve natural habitats and minimize ecological footprint.

Keilir Golf Course

Located in Hafnarfjordur, just a short drive from Reykjavik and the international airport, Keilir Golf Course offers a unique blend of geological and scenic golf experiences. Established in 1967 with a modest nine holes, it has since evolved into a full 18-hole course under the guidance of Hannes Þorsteinsson.

Key Features:

  • Dramatic Landscape: The front nine holes are set amidst dramatic lava fields, offering challenging play where accuracy is key.
  • Serene Farmland: The back nine unfolds on serene farmland, introducing water hazards to test golfers’ skills.
  • Modern Clubhouse: The clubhouse, established in 1993, provides stunning oceanic views and a historical nod to Jules Verne’s literary escapade, enhancing the allure of playing here.
  • Notorious Holes: Particularly notorious is the second hole, where golfers must strategize their tee shot carefully to navigate between safety and risk for an optimal approach to the green.

Grafarholt Course – Reykjavik Golf Club

As the first golf course in Iceland, the Grafarholt Course at Reykjavik Golf Club holds a special place in the hearts of local and visiting golfers alike. Conveniently located within Reykjavik, it offers easy access for players looking to immerse themselves in the game without extensive travel.

Key Features:

  • Distinct Landscape: The course’s rugged landscape ensures that each hole presents a unique challenge, testing a comprehensive range of golfing skills.
  • European and Nordic Tournaments: The course has hosted numerous European and Nordic golf tournaments, attesting to its quality and reputation.
  • Challenging Layout: Golfers of all levels are encouraged to experience its challenging layout, making Grafarholt Course one of the best golf courses in Iceland.
  • Convenient Location: Its proximity to Reykjavik makes it an ideal destination for both locals and tourists looking for a memorable golfing experience.

Urrida Course – Oddur Golf Club

Situated in Urridavollur, just a 20-minute drive from Reykjavik, the Urrida Course at Oddur Golf Club offers accessibility amidst a breathtaking landscape. Initially established in 1993 as a members-only facility, perceptions of its difficulty shifted dramatically following the 2006 Icelandic Golf Championship.

Key Features:

  • Breathtaking Landscape: Nestled amidst nesting birds and distinctive lava formations, the course offers stunning natural beauty.
  • Surprising Complexity: Despite initial perceptions, the course is now known for its unexpected challenges, urging golfers to maintain focus amidst captivating surroundings.
  • Accessibility: Its proximity to Reykjavik makes it an attractive option for golfers seeking a challenging yet accessible course near Iceland’s capital.

Westmann Islands Golf Club

Located on the scenic Westmann Islands, the Westmann Islands Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience that blends Icelandic natural beauty with meticulous course design. Originally established as a 9-hole course, it expanded in 1994 to offer more variety and challenge.

Key Features:

  • Volcanic History: The landscape was dramatically altered by a volcanic eruption in 1973, necessitating a four-year cleanup effort before reopening.
  • Challenging Layout: Known for its challenging layout, the course tests golfers while providing breathtaking views and wildlife sightings, such as puffins during the summer months.
  • Scenic Beauty: Playing here isn’t just about golf; it’s about immersing oneself in an extraordinary natural environment that epitomizes Iceland’s unique charm.

Geysir Golf Club

Named after the iconic Great Geysir, the Geysir Golf Club in Iceland offers a unique golfing experience that blends natural wonder with sporting challenge. Established in 2006, the course quickly gained acclaim for its pristine fescue greens and strategic design by Edwin Roald, reminiscent of storied layouts like the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Key Features:

  • Natural Wonders: Situated close to the Strokkur geyser, the course allows golfers to witness geothermal eruptions during their round, adding a unique experience to their game.
  • Course Design: The layout integrates natural hazards, with two rivers influencing play and indigenous flora lining the fairways.
  • Scenic Beauty: Designed to respect the land’s contours, the course offers stunning vistas and an organic aesthetic that highlights Iceland’s geothermal and ecological character.

Akureyri Golf Club

Located in Akureyri, known as the world’s northernmost 18-hole golf course by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the Akureyri Golf Club offers a distinct moorland feel amidst broad ridges, tree clusters, and rock formations.

Key Features:

  • Historical Significance: Established in 1935, just a year after Reykjavik Golf Club, Akureyri has played a pivotal role in Icelandic golf, nurturing talent and evolving its course design.
  • Natural Setting: The course’s lush vegetation contrasts with Iceland’s typical coastal courses, offering a unique golfing landscape.
  • Strategic Design: Leveraging the natural terrain, the layout challenges golfers of all levels, highlighting the course’s strategic design principles.

Brautarholt Golf Course

Located in Reykjavik, the Brautarholt Golf Course offers a unique golfing experience characterized by breathtaking coastal scenery and rolling landscapes. This 12-hole course provides a flexible play format where golfers can choose between replaying the first 9 holes for a par-70 game or opting for a combined 21-hole round.

Key Features:

  • Coastal Scenery: The course’s first hole, situated atop a cliff, sets the tone with dramatic views and a challenging start overlooking the ocean.
  • Natural Integration: Each hole is designed to blend naturally with the coastal terrain, offering both scenic beauty and strategic challenges.
  • Memorable Experience: Brautarholt Golf Course ensures a memorable round for every golfer, combining beauty with challenge in a picturesque setting.

Borgarnes Golf Course

Established in 1973 and located in Borgarnes, the Borgarnes Golf Course offers a scenic parkland experience with tree-lined fairways, natural rocky outcrops, and engaging water hazards. It boasts stunning mountain and bay vistas from each of its 18 holes, providing a challenging yet rewarding test of skill.

Key Features:

  • Parkland Setting: Characterized by tree-lined fairways and natural rock formations, Borgarnes Golf Course offers a scenic backdrop for golfers.
  • Championship Layout: The par-71 course features varied hole designs, including the captivating 8th hole with its island green, adding to the course’s allure.
  • Icelandic Beauty: Playing here allows golfers to appreciate Iceland’s natural beauty while enjoying a challenging round on a championship-caliber course.

Thorlakshofn Golf Course

Located just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik, Thorlakshofn Golf Course offers a classic links-style experience set against the backdrop of Iceland’s stunning coastline. Inaugurated in 1997 and expanded to 18 holes by 2005, this course provides a challenging yet scenic round of golf.

Key Features:

  • Coastline Setting: Nestled along Iceland’s southern coast, Thorlakshofn Golf Course offers panoramic views of the Hekla volcano and surrounding landscapes.
  • Course Layout: Spanning approximately 6,400 meters from championship tees, the course features varied terrain with sand, lava, and gorse creating natural hazards.
  • Renowned Design: Designed by Hannes Thorsteinsson and later enhanced by Edwin Roald, the course offers a diverse layout with strategic challenges for golfers of all skill levels.

Sudurnes Golf Course

Situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula near Keflavik International Airport, Sudurnes Golf Course provides a links-style experience with panoramic views of Reykjavik and nearby mountains. Known for its unique challenges and breathtaking scenery, it’s a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts in Iceland.

Key Features:

  • Seaside Location: Sudurnes Golf Course offers stunning views of the sea and surrounding landscapes, enhancing the golfing experience with its natural beauty.
  • Signature Hole: The iconic par-3 hole “Bergvik” stands out, requiring a challenging 200-meter shot across the sea to reach the green, making it a memorable aspect of playing here.
  • Golfing Excitement: Whether you’re a seasoned player or a novice, Sudurnes Golf Course provides a blend of natural beauty and golfing excitement, ensuring an unforgettable round.

Midnight Sun Golfing in Iceland

In the unique geographical setting of Iceland, the summer months of June and July offer a truly extraordinary experience for golf enthusiasts: midnight sun golfing. Due to Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, these months bring continuous daylight, allowing golfers the rare opportunity to play rounds well into the late hours of the night, or even under the glow of the midnight sun.

Experience the Endless Daylight

During the midnight sun period, daylight extends for almost 24 hours a day in Iceland. This phenomenon creates a surreal atmosphere on the golf course, where players can enjoy rounds of golf with no concern for darkness. Imagine teeing off at 10 PM with the sun still shining brightly or putting on a green bathed in the soft hues of the midnight sun. The experience is not just about golfing; it’s about immersing yourself in Iceland’s unique natural phenomenon.

Unique Playing Conditions

Golfing under the midnight sun offers more than extended playtime; it provides exceptional playing conditions. The cool temperatures and often calm winds during late evenings create an ideal environment for focused and enjoyable golfing. The atmosphere is serene and peaceful, with the landscape bathed in a soft, ethereal light that adds a magical touch to the game.

Where to Experience Midnight Sun Golfing

Several golf courses across Iceland cater to midnight sun golfers, offering bookings during late-night hours to accommodate this unique experience. Courses like Keilir Golf Course near Reykjavik or Akureyri Golf Club in the north provide stunning settings for midnight sun golfing, allowing players to enjoy not only the sport but also the breathtaking Icelandic landscapes under a never-setting sun.

Planning Your Midnight Sun Golf Experience

If you’re planning to golf under the midnight sun in Iceland, it’s essential to book tee times well in advance, as these slots are highly sought after during the summer months. Additionally, be prepared for varying weather conditions, as Iceland’s climate can change quickly, even during the extended daylight hours.

Conclusion

Midnight sun golfing in Iceland offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play golf in a way that few places in the world can match. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or someone looking to experience something truly unique, golfing under the midnight sun promises an unforgettable adventure amidst Iceland’s stunning natural beauty.

Conclusion

Iceland’s golfing landscape is as diverse as it is breathtaking, offering enthusiasts a unique blend of challenging courses amidst some of the world’s most stunning natural scenery. From the dramatic lava fields of Keilir Golf Course to the seaside views at Sudurnes Golf Course, each location provides a distinct golfing experience that showcases Iceland’s natural beauty and rich golfing heritage.

Whether you’re drawn to the midnight sun golfing experience, the rugged links courses, or the opportunity to play amidst volcanic landscapes, Iceland has something to offer every golfer. With over 70 courses scattered across the island, each course presents its own set of challenges and rewards, ensuring that every round played in Iceland is memorable.

For those planning a golfing trip to Iceland, exploring these top courses not only promises exceptional golf but also a chance to immerse yourself in Iceland’s unique culture and environment. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Iceland’s golf courses invite you to experience golfing in a way that’s unlike anywhere else in the world.

References

  1. Iceland Golf Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.golf.is/
  2. Reykjavik Golf Club. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.golfreykjavik.is/
  3. Golf Courses in Iceland. (2024). Retrieved from https://www.icelandtravel.is/blog/golf-courses-in-iceland/
  4. Midnight Sun Golf in Iceland. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.golficeland.org/midnight-sun-golf-iceland/
  5. Thorlakshofn Golf Course. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.thorlakshofngolf.is/
  6. Personal Experiences and Insights from Golfers in Iceland.

These references provide valuable information about Iceland’s golf courses, their histories, unique features, and practical tips for golfing enthusiasts visiting the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best times of year to golf in Iceland?

The best times to golf in Iceland are during the summer months, typically from June to August. This period offers long daylight hours due to the midnight sun phenomenon, providing ample time to enjoy a round of golf in stunning surroundings.

Are there golf courses that are particularly challenging for advanced golfers?

Yes, Iceland has several golf courses known for their challenging layouts and natural obstacles. Courses like Akureyri Golf Club and Keilir Golf Course offer demanding terrain and strategic design that can challenge even the most experienced golfers.

Is it necessary to book tee times in advance at Iceland’s golf courses?

It is recommended to book tee times in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons in Iceland. Popular courses near Reykjavik and in tourist-heavy areas may fill up quickly, so booking ahead ensures you secure your preferred tee time.

What should I pack for a golfing trip to Iceland?

For a golfing trip to Iceland, pack layers of clothing to prepare for changing weather conditions. Waterproof and windproof outer layers, thermal clothing, sturdy golf shoes suitable for varied terrain, and sunglasses are essential. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning landscapes!

Are there golf courses in Iceland suitable for beginners?

Yes, Iceland offers golf courses suitable for beginners, often with forgiving fairways and less challenging terrain. Courses like Sudurnes Golf Course and Brautarholt Golf Course provide a welcoming environment for golfers of all skill levels to enjoy the game.

How long does the golf season typically last in Iceland?

The golf season in Iceland typically runs from late May to early September. However, some courses may open earlier or close later depending on weather conditions. The peak season for golfing coincides with the midnight sun period in June and July.

Are there any unique rules or etiquette I should be aware of when golfing in Iceland?

Golf etiquette in Iceland follows standard international rules, but there are some unique considerations. Respect for the natural environment, such as avoiding fragile landscapes and wildlife habitats, is crucial. Repairing divots and pitch marks on greens is also expected.

Can I rent golf clubs and other equipment in Iceland?

Yes, many golf courses in Iceland offer rental equipment including golf clubs, trolleys, and golf carts. It’s advisable to check with the course in advance to confirm availability and make reservations if necessary.

What are some recommended golf courses near Reykjavik?

Near Reykjavik, golfers can explore courses like Grafarholt at Reykjavik Golf Club, Urrida Course at Oddur Golf Club, and Keilir Golf Course. Each offers unique challenges and scenic views, making them popular choices for both locals and visitors.

Is golfing under the midnight sun really as amazing as it sounds?

Absolutely! Golfing under Iceland’s midnight sun is a surreal experience, offering extended daylight hours and stunning views. Playing a round of golf late into the evening or early morning under natural light is a memorable and unique adventure for golf enthusiasts.

Author’s Note

As a golf enthusiast and frequent traveler to Iceland, writing this comprehensive guide to Iceland’s golf courses has been a true pleasure. I’ve had the opportunity to explore many of these stunning courses firsthand, experiencing both the challenges they offer and the breathtaking landscapes that surround them.

This guide aims to provide not only practical information but also a glimpse into the unique golfing experiences Iceland has to offer. Whether you’re planning your first golfing trip to Iceland or looking to explore new courses, I hope this article inspires you to discover the beauty and excitement of golf in this extraordinary country.

If you have any questions, feedback, or personal experiences to share about golfing in Iceland, please feel free to reach out. Happy golfing!

Brief Note about the author.

Kimbowa Geofrey

I am Kimbowa Geofrey, a go-getter, It is my passion that drives me in all I do but also the personal improvement that I experience.
My story started about 8 years back, trying one business to another, it wasn’t easy at the start because I didn’t get exactly what I expected out of these businesses and my frustration grew. Luckily I stumbled upon three businesses that changed my life; Web hosting, web development, and blogging.

I also love to play golf, It’s my only time of leisure.
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Brief Note about Hostziza.

Hostziza Tech Solutions was founded in August 2021 by two visionary entrepreneurs,
Dr Nkurunziza Emmanuel and Mr Kimbowa Geofrey.
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