New Course Opens in Finland

Linna Golf has opened in Finland. The 7,244-yard layout, designed by Tim Lobb of European Golf Design, cuts through a birch and pine forest bordering a 4-mile-long lake on the historic Vanajan Linna Hotel estate, roughly 65 miles north of Helsinki.

The course's natural beauty and strategic design cross a rolling landscape peppered with rocky outcrops. Lobb, a 35-year-old Australian course architect who is now a partner with Thomson Perrett and Lobb Golf Course Architects, said of the layout, "We had a clear brief from the owners to create a European Tour standard course that would also be playable for golfers of all abilities, which is a common request but not easy to deliver.

"The positioning of tees to provide a strategic challenge for both professionals and amateurs was essential and I think this is one of the great successes of Linna Golf,” Lobb added. “There's also an excellent combination of uphill, downhill and side-hill holes winding through the forest and then dropping down to the lake and hotel, which makes a stunning backdrop."

The hotel at Linna Golf, a former hunting lodge, is one of Finland’s most historic and best known. The addition of a top-shelf golf course, with one of the best practice and teaching facilities in Europe, should elevate the resort and conference center onto the international stage.

Mika Walkamo, president of Linna Golf, said, "When we decided to build a golf course to complement the hotel business, we told EGD we wanted the best golf course in Finland. I have no doubts this is precisely what they have delivered and the response from golfers – professional and amateur – has been phenomenal. Our goal has always been to bring top class professional tournaments to Linna Golf – and we now have the course and facilities to do exactly this."

The design of Linna Golf was documented by the U.K. version of GolfWorld magazine, which offered readers the chance of designing Linna’s par-five 15th hole in an exclusive competition. The winner, architecture graduate David Sampson, won a trip to see his design, plus earned work experience at EGD. The 27-year-old later fulfilled his ambition of pursuing a career in golf course design when EGD offered him a job at its Sunningdale, U.K., headquarters.

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