Wonderful Copenhagen

DENMARK may not be the first place you think of when considering a golfing holiday, but you may think differently after reading this article.

DENMARK may not be the first place you think of when considering a golfing holiday, but you may think differently after reading this article.

The Scandinavian country has a great variety of courses, good range of golfing fees, excellent package holidays and a unique season, which all combine to make Denmark an excellent choice. The country has a growing reputation due to the fact that many Danish golfers are showing up in international tournaments and helping Denmark become better recognised as a golfing destination.

Denmark isn’t as crazy about golf as its bigger neighbour to the north, Sweden, but Denmark has something Sweden does not: Copenhagen. In fact, a golf trip in itself to Denmark would not be worth it if it weren’t for the truly wonderful Scandinavian capital.

For the visitor, the most astonishing thing about Copenhagen, at least initially, is the number of bicycles careering down urban streets. The next obvious charm of the city is its skyscrapers. There aren’t any. Well, technically, there is one, and several more are planned, but Copenhagen is still essentially a “low” city, with mammoth old medieval buildings just dripping with history. The city is clean, but looks its age – more than 1,000 years, with its cobbled squares and copper spires.

The shopping is great, and there are many excellent restaurants and lots of things to do when you aren’t playing golf. Copenhagen takes its culture seriously, with some world-famous museums, like the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Frederiksborg Slot and the Statens Museum for Kunst. There is also the Amalienborg Palace, home of the Danish royal family, and tours of the Carlsberg Brewery. Tivoli Gardens is a must-see, especially if you’re big into flowers and thrill rides. The peaceful park, in the middle of busy city streets, is a conglomeration of tulips, roses, water features and thrill rides. The park usually has ongoing theatre performances and musical acts.

The kids will also like The Little Mermaid, one of the most famous and photographed statues. Copenhagen is located on parts of two islands and sandy beaches are within easy bicycling distance, including Amager Strandpark, a 2km-long man-made island.

Oh, and you probably know Amsterdam has supplanted Copenhagen as the most erotic city in Europe, but don’t miss the Museum Erotica – it’s just off Stroget, Copenhagen’s main shopping street.

The population of the greater Copenhagen area is nearly two million, and with the Oresund bridge linking it to Malmo in Sweden, that population swells considerably.

It’s an eclectic mix, producing world-famous people as different as Hans Christian Andersen and the existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, as well as a disproportionate number of heavy metal rockers.

So if you can do all this and still find time to golf, here are some suggestions of golf courses near the fascinating city (most offer rental clubs).

Denmark has a variety of golf courses, suiting everyone from the pro to the family. These include seaside courses, parkland courses and the rugged woodland courses which can be quite demanding. Many of the courses also have practice areas including driving ranges, putting greens and short game facilities.

Even though Denmark can be a bit cold and windy at times, the golfing season is pretty much an all-year activity. You may not wish to play in January and February, but there are still plenty of people who continue to play during the winter months. The greens are usually really good in early spring due to the climate and it is a popular time to tee off.

Many of the top golf courses have agreements with local hotels and can provide some excellent golfing packages. It does not matter if your taste runs to an exclusive five-star hotel or you like the more basic hotel or even a hostel. There are golf packages for every category and they can either be found through the local tourist board or ask at the hotel before booking. A package deal can save you a good bit on the green fees and even set up equipment rental if necessary.

The Royal Copenhagen Golf Club is in the middle of Dyrehaven, one of the country’s prettiest natural areas. It was here that King Frederik III in 1669 decided he wanted his own hunting grounds, and so he herded in thousands of deer and fenced off the area – hence, the name Dyrehaven which means deer park or deer garden.

The king built a castle, called Eremitage, on one of the highest areas around, overlooking the plain where the deer graze. He and his ancestors used the area for a royal hunting ground for the next 100 years until it was opened to the public in 1756.

The crown prince and princess are members here, though you’re unlikely to see them hacking their way around; the castle remains empty most of the time. What you will see, however, are deer – they are everywhere.

It’s a fairly straightforward golf course, playing over mildly rolling terrain with few forced carries, other than the deer, and only a couple of blind landing areas. There are also only a handful of bunkers, with brown sand that had to be carried in from outside so as not to disturb the park’s natural setting.

The Copenhagen Indoor Golf Centre is about a 10-minute drive from downtown. It’s 12,000 square yards and has a 142-yard, three-story driving range, 27-hole putting green and two golf simulators. It’s used by the Danish national team.

Simons Golf Club is located in the town of Humlebaek, about 20 miles north of Copenhagen, the terminus of the coastal area popularly known as the Whiskey Trail.

Simons is one of the most expensive clubs in Denmark, and consequently has quite a few wealthy businessmen as members. You have to be a member to play here, as is the case through much of Europe, but don’t worry, they still encourage visitors.

It’s a very green course with some pleasant, moderate elevation changes over gently rolling terrain. It’s a little inland, but you can still see Sweden across the narrow Oresund Strait from some of the higher spots.

Ledreborg Palace is a design of Nick Faldo’s and one of Denmark’s most picturesque courses. This links-like layout opened in 2007 and is about a 35-minute drive from Copenhagen. Frederikssund Golf Club is an 18-hole course on slightly undulating terrain near a forest overlooking Roskilde Fjord. There is also a nine-hole, par-3 course.

Ishoj Golf Centre is about 16 miles from the city. The course offers a split-level terrain, prompting officials to describe the course as ‘a design resembling a miniature Grand Canyon’. It’s a 27-hole facility, nine of which are pay and play, with four putting greens and a partly-covered driving range.

If you haven’t been to Denmark and experienced the delights of Copenhagen then you have really missed out on what is one of Europe’s wonderful treasures.

For further information visit www.visitcopenhagen.com


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer