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30.7.17

Night-time Golfing with Midnight Sun

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Night-time Golfing with Midnight Sun North of the Arctic Circle you can golf in the middle of the night with the sun in your eyes. All you have to do is stay awake – the whole night.
Text: Julie Nordby Egeland
“Oops”, Geir Johnsen says, whilst watching his golf ball fly into some seaweed. “You really have to be careful with your swings out here”, he says, shaking his head. The northern hobby golfer is right. We’re at Bodø Golf course, way out on the beach, looking at the massive Lofoten Wall in the horizon. As he’s closing in on the third hole, you can even see the scraps of an old fishery on the shore nearby.

Make one mistake out here, and the golf ball can easily end up in a creek or in a nearby forest – or perhaps hit an unknowing duck in the head. “But that’s the price to pay when you play around in untouched Nordic nature”, he says.
Bodø

Magical light and mysterious graves

It’s one hour past midnight and we’re playing golf. As Johnsen once more tries his best to put in the third hole, the floodlight of the midnight sun is casting long shadows over the course, filling it with warm light – slowly creeping up towards its brightest. Suddenly, the green is no longer just green. It transforms into a fairy-tale-looking landscape.
“It’s definitely magical. You just have to be here, words can’t describe it”, says Jens Kristian Hansen, a Norwegian veteran golfer. But he tries anyway: “Forget mindfulness.
When you golf in the midnight sun, you get an intense feeling of being present in the moment.”

In light of the magical atmosphere, it seems to be no coincidence that there are hidden old burial mounds on this northern course – right next to hole number four. “So if you feel a sudden gust of wind, it can be the ghost of an old Norwegian Viking king,” Hansen jokes.
Lofoten

Keeping the nature alive

In the northern hemisphere during the summer months, the earth’s tilt towards the sun is responsible for the midnight sun. Conversely, the winters are long and dark – though lit by a special light show if theirs own, the auroras. There aren’t many golfers out then. In summer, north of the Arctic Circle there are golf courses that are open 24 hours a day, exploiting the precious light for all it’s worth. Surrounded by the characteristic, northern nature – the long coastline dotted with fishing villages, in the shadow of craggy peaks – it makes for a truly special experience.

The course at the Lofoten archipelago is placed on sand dunes, facing directly towards
the open ocean. By the shore on the mainland you find Bodø golfpark, whilst in Narvik you golf below the steep mountains by the Ofotfjord. In Tromsø, too, the course has a direct view to the water.
“Being able to golf in nature in this way is an important part of the northern culture,” Geir Johnsen says. He’s not only a hobby golfer, but also a director at Nordlands County Council. “When golfing, you’re active and social at the same time as you´re enjoying our nature. So golfing really helps keeping our nature alive and appreciated in the modern world.”

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