An ambitious development on farmland on the outskirts of Malmo, PGA Sweden National is a 36-hole facility with two distinct courses designed by American Kyle Phillips. The property itself was once part of the grounds of the medieval Torup Castle, and mostly devoid of interesting natural golf contour. Generally speaking the undulations were either too steep or too subtle for exciting golf, so Phillips and his team were tasked with moving earth to add golfing interest. Ordinarily this would have been right in the designer’s wheelhouse, but at PGA Sweden the creative brakes seem to have been applied to some degree and the results are a little mixed.
Unlike the somewhat traditional style of the Links Course, the Lakes is unapologetically modern and loud. While the terrain is gentler, the bunkering is much larger and overpowering from the tees and fairways. These are resort style shapes with rounded bays, and often shallow bases. They dominate the visuals but often underwhelm in terms of location and the tone they set strategically.
While there are few outstanding holes on the Lakes Course, the par threes work well as a set and the predictable finishing five around water is solidly done. The greens, though less crumpled than next door, are still built with enough internal shape for interesting pin positions. If there is a principal weakness with the course, it’s that the routing tends to double back on itself and flow a little awkwardly between holes. Where holes converge there are also large banks of tee pads, which is a little unsightly.
Although The Lakes Course at PGA Sweden National lacks the spark and originality of Kyle Phillips’s best work, it is reasonably fun to play and should appeal to most visiting golfers.