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Golf courses in Iceland really not up to par

Heimaey golf course is one of the better ones here and as often is the case the setting is stunning. PIC Global Ranger

Heimaey golf course is one of the better ones here and as often is the case the setting is stunning. PIC Global Ranger

Search online and you´ll find quite a lot of information regarding the game of golf in Iceland but the sport is the second most popular pastime for locals. Which means thousands play and you´ll find courses in the unlikeliest places and golf authorities are dying to bring in golf tourists en masse.  But for the most part the courses here are really not up to par.

Part of Team Total Iceland has played the sport on many courses in four different continents on the planet and can positively say that Icelandic courses have some ways to go. That is understandable since this place is not exactly located at the best possible spot on the planet. Indeed, in bad winter years some courses cannot even open until very late in the summer.

what makes an average golf course here better than average elsewhere is the surrounding nature

The truth is that the very best courses here can on the very best days resemble what its like to play on good foreign courses in Scotland, England, Wales or elsewhere in Scandinavia. But this only applies infrequently. More often even the best courses do not come close to the sweetness of basic courses in hotter countries.

But as is often the case in this beautiful country what makes an average golf course here better than average elsewhere is the surrounding nature. In Grindavik or Hafnarfjordur, for example, you have courses famous locally for being laid out between lava formations. In fact, at Grindavik golf course you will literally play on tectonic plate boundary; the same one being visited daily by thousands at Thingvellir National Park. At Heimaey golf course the raging sea is breaking ashore before your feet as you putt and at Geysir golf course you´ll have a fabulous view over the famous Geysir area from many places.

Then again, you do not need to play golf to witness those things firsthand. And there is another thing that bothers quite a lot of foreign players here. Fierce birds. In particular arctic tern which makes its nest often very close to golf courses. One missed shot in that direction will make the hardest individual take a penalty right away in high season.

Thus, to really enjoy golf here you need to know that the courses are not world-class by any stretch of the imagination but the surroundings usually are. So, don´t buy the hype about courses here being „fantastic“ as some websites would have you believe.

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