Playing golf in Iceland is a marvelous experience. Playing golf at midnight in June in the Arctic Open Golf Championship at the Akureyri Golf Club in Akureyri, Iceland is an incredible and unforgettable experience. You will play golf on the world’s most northernly 18-hole course located just 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. Since the sun is up for just short of twenty-four hours, tee times run from 10 AM to 10PM. You can actually play golf at midnight.
Founded in 1935, The Akureyri Golf Club began holding the Arctic Open Golf Championship in 1986. The tournament has been held since then for over thirty years. The 2023 tournament welcomed 244 players including 44 women and 40 golfers from around the world.
For regular play, the par 71 course has five sets of tees that range from 3200 yards to 6600 yards. During the tournament men play from the 6000-yard tees and women play from just under 5000 yards. The course, with its rolling terrain, wide fairways, smooth median-sized greens, and scenic views of the nearby snow-capped mountains, is noted for being in excellent shape each year despite the fact it is closed during the winter months because of the cold and snow.
The course’s wide fairways help golfers avoid the numerous fairway and greenside bunkers, its water hazards, and the rough’s thick grass and low growing bushes that wait for errant shots.
Three men garnered 81 points in the 2023 two-day Modified Stableford tournament and tied for first place. In the separate low gross format, the winning score in the men’s division was 145, only three strokes over par 142 for the two-day event. Low gross score in the lady’s division was 162. Along with bragging rights, the winners received large trophies which they are able to keep until next year’s tournament.
A visit to Akureyri will give you an opportunity to visit Iceland’s second-largest city. A picturesque city of a mere 19,000 people, it has the feeling of a quaint village and yet it has excellent hotels, bed and breakfast accommodations, a lovely botanical garden, a delightful main street with shops and restaurants, and friendly people most all of whom speak English.
The centrally located Hotel Berjaya is conveniently located at short ten-minute walk from the downtown area, a fifteen-minute walk to the city’s mall, and a fifteen-minute taxi ride to the golf course. Its Aurora dining room serves excellent buffet breakfasts as well as fine dining in the evening. Before dinner, or at any time during the day or after dinner, you can enjoy a drink in the nicely appointed lobby and reception area. The staff, on duty 24/7, will welcome you and assist you throughout your stay.
There’s plenty to do in Akureyri when not golfing as activities are plentiful in both the city and surrounding area. Directly across the street from the Hotel Berjaya, you can enjoy Iceland’s largest water park with two 25-meter pools, five hot tubs, a children’s pool and the largest water slide in Iceland. Other activities in the area include whale watching, hiking, fishing, zip lining, horseback riding, and the opportunity to spend time before or after golf relaxing in the soothing spring fed geothermal water in Akureyri’s Forest Lagoon.
Besides relaxing in the warm ninety-eight-degree water, or having a beer at the swim up bar, you can enjoy fireside dining in the lagoon’s Bistro Restaurant which overlooks one of Iceland’s longest fjords, as well as the snow-capped mountains above the city.
The 2024 tournament, reasonably priced at $419, will be held June 20-24. It will include a practice round before the tournament, a welcome reception, two tournament rounds, range balls at the two-story driving range, an Awards Dinner, a golfer gift with the Arctic Open logo, an extra round the day following the tournament and wonderful camaraderie with fellow golfers.
Many visitors who are on their way to or from the tournament in Akureyri, spend a few days in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. There they find the easiest way to see the city and learn about Reykjavik is to take one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off narrated tour buses which make sixteen stops around the city. Two of everyone’s favorite stops are visiting and photographing the uniquely designed Hallgrimskirkja Church, and the Perlan Museum which has five separate and highly educational and entertaining exhibits. On the fifth floor of the museum, you can take in a wonderful 360-degree view of the city while under the museum’s amazing glass dome roof and enjoy tasty dishes at the Perlan Café or Perlan Restaurant.
Reykjavik has both a historic old town as well as a newer modern area with hotels, office buildings, a concert hall that houses both the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Opera, and the Kringlan shopping mall which has 180 shops and restaurants. For nature lovers, there is a great selection of guided tours and activities available with Reykjavík Excursions.
One of the most popular tours is the Golden Circle Tour which visits a field of geysers, one of which is similar to Old Faithful in that it spews water high in the air every ten to fifteen minutes. Other stops include viewing the Gullfoss waterfall, the second-largest waterfall in Iceland, and the location of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
The best and least expensive way to get to Akureyri is to fly Icelandair to Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik. There you can rent a car for a scenic five-hour drive to Akureyri or take a six-and-one-half-hour bus ride, or you can transfer to the domestic airport and enjoy a short fifty-five-minute Icelandair flight from Reykjavik to Akureryi.
For information about the Arctic Open, visit arcticopen.is