How Norway plays golf in the snow



Winter golf is a different game than the summer variety.  First, there are no lines and second, slow play doesn’t quite exist when there is no one on the course but you. Although that’s as well the case when you play at Marbella Club Golf, but you could read more about it here.

The population of true “all-weather” golfers is very small. All-weather golfers play when the clear choice is not to play. They play when it’s almost guaranteed the course will be empty. They say things like, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad golfers.” It doesn’t really matter if it’s cold, windy and rainy – they go on and play anyway.

It’s arguably a different sport. But if you like golf, there are a lot of similarities.

Research conducted by a Norwegian scientist Jan One Tengen (School of Sports and Recreation in Telemark) has shown that regular golfing not only extends life by several years but also saves money for the health care system. Because of the physical activity of citizens playing golf, the country saves annually about 190 billion kronor. That equals to about 19,5 billion Euro!

In Jan’s opinion, for adults and even more so for the elderly, regular physical activity especially in the form of golf, extends life by a few years. “Golf is an ideal recreational and social activity because, in this discipline, age is of no great importance.¨

And therefore, the Norwegians, for example, play golf all year round, regardless of the weather. Paramount is to never lose one’s sense of humor.




Golf in the snow

When on snow, they play with red golf balls. This is a world where greens are ¨whites¨, where snowplows (not mowers) groom fairways, and where players swap fancy golf pants and t-shirts for ski jackets and hats.



This is is also a world in which, despite the ball’s bright colour, finding it buried 20cm deep in snow might prove a challenge.

In fact, they say that the only piece of equipment you need to worry about is your ball. When the temperature drops, the aerodynamics combined with ball’s resilience make you lose on average about 4m of carry for every 10-degree drop.

During Svalbard Open tournaments played on the Arctic island of Svalbard (located  in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole), players wear thermal suits to stay warm as temperatures may drop to -30 degrees.

It’s not the same strength, coordination or feel as you would on a summer day. Playing golf in winter starts to be really difficult once the temperature drops to only -15. The researchers say that you start to lose tactile sensation and dexterity in the hands.



The Svalbard Open is one of the world’s more unusual extreme sporting tournaments.  In severe cold weather, your body’s internal temperature drops the longer it’s exposed, and technically, you’re suffering from hypothermia once it decreases from a normal mark of 36.6 to 35 degrees.



For travelers who are attracted to the ends of the earth, the Norwegian islands of Svalbard have a certain allure. The area is home to the northernmost towns in the world and more polar bears than people.

“I’ve practiced in snow and sub-zero temps. I’d just run back into the clubhouse every 30 minutes or so to get warm.”

Maria Balikoeva, Ladies European Tour member, 2004 and 2006 Russian Ladies Amateur Champion



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