Nordic golf: How Skógar Ivarsson Golf Course has made enough rounds in 43 years to fill up an entire calendar month

If you’re looking for the course where you’ll feel the first wind of autumn rushing through your hair, get to Öngurhöfjökull in the Reykjavik suburb of Bahðarvotn. As the calendar flips from summer to…

Nordic golf: How Skógar Ivarsson Golf Course has made enough rounds in 43 years to fill up an entire calendar month

If you’re looking for the course where you’ll feel the first wind of autumn rushing through your hair, get to Öngurhöfjökull in the Reykjavik suburb of Bahðarvotn. As the calendar flips from summer to fall, the air feels cooler and the forest is still green, yet this 671-acre landscape only lacks one drawback: We’re on a golf course.

The straightforward design of Skógar Ivarsson (known as Skógar) springs from an ideal environment in which to test young holes (think full-sleeve golf shirts and sharp-strapped tweed golf shoes) with their own demands, as well as after-effects from the Icelandic environment. The trees at least slow the growth of turf, which allows for a decelerating gait and a golfer’s sense of home. Skógar Ivarsson, that is, besides the course.

Located north of the town of Fýldisfjördur, the course was a completely by-the-rules project that stretched back to 1972. Originally only 8 holes, the number was later expanded as the owners realized the course was not only too small, but also insufficient to satisfy their increasingly demanding clientele.

Yet Skógar Ivarsson has at its center a building resembling an empty glacier and nestled in the middle of the landscape, visitors can watch as replicas of the Icelandic god of creation are displayed on long, blue tablecloths. Clients seemed pleased with this tower of sound (and glare) and clocked in frequently at the restaurant’s Open Tee Day — a day in which tee-offs are timed in five separate rounds (for each week of the month).

But the boom of golf in Iceland had little to do with it, as that phenomenon was delayed by the late discovery of the coldest spot on Earth. The landscape that provided us so many images in this post-crisis video explains its beauty: the sea.

There are also several summertime fishing boats moored at the docks, fishing islands to be found on clear nights, as well as a stunning cut-glass factory in the background, as shown in the video below. The tour is very short but will have you gagging on your salad, wondering how these 13,000 pine trees planted in the early 20th century can last so long.

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