Matias explains the requirements to be able to play golf in Finland, the fun of midnight golf, and his marathon 24-hour, sponsored fund-raiser in 2014.
Guest: Matias Lampinen, Executive Director, Kuortane Golf Club
Download an MP3 file of Episode 28 – The Magic of Midnight Golf in Finland
Kuortane Golf Club is a 9-hole course with a picturesque lakeside location. It was established in 2002, only a few KMs from the Olympic Training Centre that I visited in episode 10.
Matias first talks me through the basics of playing golf in Finland:
- You must have a Green card – similar to a driver’s licence: This ensures that a club has taught you etiquette, basic proficiency of playing golf, speed of play etc. This takes approx. 10 hours and has a cost of 100–200€, depending how much coaching you need.
- There are not too many member-only clubs. By joining one club, you can then play in all other Finnish golf clubs. Becoming a member at Kuortane costs 80€ per year, with no large no joining fee up-front. At Kuortane you can pay 25€ for nine holes, or 40€ for a day ticket. At other clubs in Finland, fees may be 40€–80€ per round.
- Dress code is generally more relaxed, although a collared shirt is appropriate and no jeans and no swimwear(!)
If you are visiting Finland from overseas and want to play golf, there are a few considerations:
- You need to be a member of a club in home country. A letter from your club confirming your membership and official handicap is sufficient.
- You do not need to pay the annual membership. Simply the fee for the round or daily fee.
- For insurance reasons, if you are not a member of a club, it is not possible to play anything other than 3-par practice holes, or driving range.
I then asked Matias to explain how one can play Midnight Golf. He explained that, in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, it is light enough in June & July to play golf pretty much 24 hours a day. At this time, Kuortane Golf Club is open as long as there are players on the course; if you want to play, the course is open! Matias explained about the annual midnight competition, with a ‘more relaxed’ atmosphere, and a tee-off time of 18:00. More than six hours of golf, rounded off in the most Finnish way, with a sauna and a few drinks in the bar.
You can also hear Matias explain about his marathon, midnight golf session in 2014; 24 hours, 7 rounds of 18 holes, raising 2,000€ for the Club’s junior team!
Finnish Words in this Episode
- Perkele! – F***! (As exclaimed on every golf course around the world)
- Kuortane Golf Club http://www.kuortanegolf.fi/
- Episode 10 – Finland’s Olympic Training Centre
- Episode 16 – Apollo FC: The Pink Dogs’ Noble Goals
- Finnish Golf Association (Suomen Golfliitto) http://www.golf.fi/
- List of golf courses in Finland
Next Episode – The Film & Lights Film Festival