Does playing golf at midnight surrounded by a lava field sound too strange to be true? Not in Iceland! Midnight golf is available in summer due to Iceland’s northerly location, and one-tenth of Iceland’s surface is adorned with lava.
Sweeping mountain and ocean views characterise Icelandic golf courses, which follow the contours of the landscape, a popular trend in golf course design today. Their design pays tribute to the first golf courses in Scotland – the home of golf.
To some, it might come as a surprise that there are twice as many golf courses in Iceland than in Scotland – per capita, that is. There are 15 18-hole golf courses and 46 9-hole golf courses in the country available to visitors.
Golf in Iceland has gained in popularity by leaps and bounds in recent years to become the nation’s second-most popular sport. There are more than 10,000 regular players, 6000 of which are members of one of nearly 60 official golf clubs that belong to the Icelandic Golf Club Association.
Reykjavik Golf Club is the oldest golf club in the country, established in 1934. Reykjavik boasts the world’s northernmost golf course in a capital city of an independent country. Akureyri, the largest town in the North of Iceland, prides itself on being the home of one of the northernmost 18-hole golf courses in the world.
The Arctic Open Golf Championship takes place under the midnight sun on the par 71 course in Akureyri in June each summer. The event draws both local and international participants who prize playing in the only golf tournament in the world starting at midnight and finishing at 5 in the morning.
The Volcano Open Golf Tournament is played on the Heimaey Island par 70 golf course. Heimaey Island, which is one of several islands belonging to the volcanic Westman Islands Archipelago, which last erupted in 1973. The course is reputed to have the best greens in Iceland and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, which doubles as a water hazard on the 17th hole.