The new 18-hole golf-course offers challenges
Kohonkangas heath spreading out next to Holiday Club Saimaa seems to have been created for a golf course. The rolling heather-clad heath combined with a dramatic landscape filled with kettle holes during the Ice Age, provides an impressive stage for the game.
A Chance to Take Risks on the Front Nine
You can start the game with an uncomplicated par-four of a convenient length. Aiming the first shot close to the bunker provides the best approach angle to the green. The course already starts to show its character at the second hole. The players must take stock of their mettle and decide if they want to try to cross the row of bunkers dotting the ridge. A stunning view over the valley opens from the green, where you can play the next five holes. On the third hole, the first par 5, the opening shot is made towards a fairway nearly 20 metres lower down. The challenges of the hole are laid out clearly and the players only need to choose whether to take a risk or play it safe. Those who take the risk and succeed are rewarded with additional metres from the forward-sloping bumps.
The start of the 4th hole has plenty of space to tee off calmly. But if you want to go for the maximum length, there is also an exacting challenge for precision shots. The green is one of the most strongly shaped in the course. The 5th hole is reminiscent of traditional Scottish golf scenery, complete with railway tracks. The hole progresses due east, following the main track of the railway towards Imatra. The end of the hole goes through a canyon-like pass to the easternmost corner of the course at the edge of the city. The 6th hole is the first of the course’s beautiful par threes. You tee off from a ridge, where all the bunkers guarding the small green settle deep in the player’s mind.
Then 7th hole, over 400 m long, is the longest par-4 hole of the course. The green is raised up on a ridge, and many will play this hole as a par five. The 8th hole brings you up from the valley, back to Kohonkangas heath and towards the club house. The longer the drive, the sooner you see the green. The 9th hole is the narrowest on the course and the most carefully guarded by bunkers. It will provide plenty of material for storytelling when you pause to rest at the café at the halfway point.
Bunkers Create Additional Challenges for the Back Nine
After the gentle treatment of the front nine, the player is met with challenges on the back nine, on the side of the course closer to Lake Saimaa. The 10th hole is played surrounded by majestic pines and aspens. Two strategically-placed bunkers also guide the game. The second par-three of the course is played in one of its most beautifully formed areas. The Ice Age has worked to create a short golf hole for players to enjoy. The climb to the tee of the 12th hole quickens the pulse, and the views from the tee and the challenges of the game give you an unforgettable experience. The approach to the green set between a kettle hole and the outer borders of the course requires precise strokes.
The bunkers of the 13th hole are placed to baffle the player. It is easy to mistake the distance of the obstacles from the tee and their placement relative to the green. You must think carefully, be determined, and choose the right club and the right direction. The next hole moves closer to the shores of Lake Saimaa. The views over the lake, the rolling hillocks and the nearby mounds created by ancient slash-and-burn farmers give the hole a special character. The 15th hole is one of the course’s strong par-fives. The hole meanders around the edge of the valley, providing the player with interesting possibilities for shortcuts, but also with risks to consider. There is an open view over the surrounding scenery from the green at the edge of the ridge.
The legendary ‘Redan’-type 16th hole is the longest par-3 hole on the course. The only bunker on the hole will not allow players to pass unscathed. The 17th hole is a strong par-5. The strong shaping of the hole and the surrounding pines give the game their own character. Even the better players rarely bag an eagle on this hole. The last hole escorting the players to the club house is a gentle and beautiful par-four. A calm, careful approach can ensure that you finish the round with a good score.