Golf Course Architecture: Issue 57 - July 2019

A new nine-hole golf course designed by Edwin Roald and operated by Sigló Hotel in Siglufjörður, Iceland, has opened for its first full season of play. The project began in 2009 when, in the midst of the financial crisis, Roald decided to donate 100 working hours to rural golf clubs in Iceland. The Siglufjörður Golf Club, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, contacted Roald to discuss the possibilities for improving its course. “We developed the concept of a multifunctional recreational area, with facilities for golf, horse riding and other forms of general outdoor life,” said Roald. “This got a positive reaction from the municipality, but the project didn’t really take off until local investor, entrepreneur and developer Róbert Gudfinnsson, and his tourism and leisure development company Raudka, gave it wings through funding and other means of support.” Raudka has invested in improvements to the town’s attractions and infrastructure to strengthen the fishing village as a tourist destination. Construction started in 2012 with most bulk earthworks completed in 2016. The course has been growing-in since and was opened for preview play in 2018. The par-35 layout sits partially in a gravel quarry, at the intersection of the Hólsá and Leyningsá rivers. Roald said: “It is short and sweet, combining entertainment for golfers of all skill levels with the unparalleled sights and sounds; the mountain amphitheatre, the perfectly aligned horizon at the fjord’s mouth that mirrors the midnight sun and painting the sky in bright pink, the distant roar of the waterfall, the crashing rapids of the river, and the birdies. “Of course, only time can tell how the course will be received by players, but the elements that I expect will stand out are holes five through eight. These include two consecutive short par threes at holes six and seven. The sixth asks you for a delicate pitch into a narrow clearing in a mature pine plantation, which is a paradise in its own right. You then arrive at the seventh after a walk, slightly downhill, through the plantation, along the crashing rapids of one of the two rivers. Once you are through, you are offered a sub-100-yard shot downhill to a large island green with Sigló’s most iconic mountain, Hólshyrna, as a backdrop.” Iceland’s Sigló course opens for first season Sigló measures 2,843 yards from the back tees and includes a 3-3-5-3 finish Photo: Edwin Roald 17 TEE BOX