Fly to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines (0870 607 27727 www.flysas.com); British Midlands (0870 607 0555, www.flybmi.com) or British Airways (0870 850 9850, www.britishairways.com)
WHERE TO PLAY
Skåne is serene, its countryside gently undulating, its beaches deserted. A great mix of layouts can be found here, but the most famous is the Masters Course at Barsebäck, which hosted the Solheim Cup in 2003 and will do so again in 2007. The Masters is one of two great layouts here and is set up for big, accurate hitters. Good course management is essential here as trees encroach on several holes, leaving little room for manoeuvre.
The 395-yard par-4 6th is a typical example. Although the hole appears open, a small copse of trees lies exactly where a well-struck drive would land, frustratingly blocking your approach to the green.
There is a great variety of holes on this track ? indeed the layout is parkland, forest and links rolled into one. It?s no surprise that some of the world?s greatest players, including Jack Nicklaus, have been tempted to play the course. The Masters Course?s subsequent popularity means that it is advisable to book a tee time about four months in advance.
To give you an idea of how much the Swedes love their golf, there are about 60 clubs within an hour?s drive of Malmö, Skåne?s major city. All are unpretentious and offer a welcoming atmosphere. Bokskogens Golf Club is a typical example.
The clubhouse is a charming, traditional stone building which overlooks the 9th hole on the New ? a par 3 demanding a testing shot over a pond. Although the front nine is fairly open, a number of water hazards will keep you on your toes. The back nine is more enclosed.
Falsterbo Golf Club is another must-play. It is Sweden?s only 18-hole links course and enjoys wonderful views of the Baltic Sea.
Ljunghusens too should attract your attention. The fairways here snake inland as well as along the coast and heather lining the edges of the fairways mean this isn?t a course for the faint-hearted. Playing to handicap here is a major achievement.
The course at Helsingør, north of Denmark?s capital city Copenhagen, is heavily wooded and you may find it prudent to leave your driver in the bag for the most part. The 9th is the most difficult hole on the course ? the fairway is just 10 yards across at its narrowest point. Respite arrives in the form of the more open 10th and 11th holes.
Golf in Sweden and Denmark offers remarkably good value. Barsebäck, for example, is the Swedish equivalent of somewhere like Turnberry but a game costs a fraction of the price ? between £29 and £40.
WHERE TO STAY
Both Solheim Cup teams stayed in the Järavallen Conference & Country Club close to the fairway last time round ? the Americans on the Red floor and the Europeans on the Blue. The rooms are simply furnished, Scandinavian style, and families or larger groups may prefer to stay in the villas that are available for rent.
IKEA and H&M have already put Sweden on the map but designer ceramics and glassware are also very popular and can be found at bargain prices. Some shopping terms you should accustom yourself with in Sweden are ?REA? which indicates a sale, ?Extrapris? alongside a red price label which means a discount of at least 10% and ?Fynd? which is a special offer. Copenhagen has Europe?s longest shopping street.
Courses ? Sweden
T: 0046 4677 6230
T: 0046 4040 6900
T: 0046 4047 0078
T: 0046 4045 8000
Courses – Denmark
T: 0045 4921 2970
Hotels – Sweden
Noble House Hotel (0046 4066 43000, http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern/productInfo.do?propertyCode=88158) is a modern hotel in the centre of Malmö.
JÄravallen Conference & Country Club (0046 4677 7050; www.jaravallen.se) offers packages to include a round of golf, breakfast and two-course dinner.
Hotels – Denmark
First Hotel (00 45 3378 8000, www.firsthotels.com/Vesterbro) in Copenhagen is a modern hotel situated close to the Tivoli Gardens and convenient for the airport and motorways.
Tourist info: try www.visitsweden.com, www.visitdenmark.com, www.visitoresund.info, www.malmo.se and www.skane.com. Course info: log on to www.golforesund.com.