However, Alex Cawley and his greenkeeping staff put in a monumental effort in the hope of turning things around. Not only have they done that, they have presented a championship course in a condition which is drawing huge praise from the players and the tournament staff, including the Challenge Tour’s Tournament Director Kevin Feeney.
“The course is in amazing condition,” said Feeney. “We have to thank Alex and his staff for the incredible efforts and the long hours of hard work they have put in to turn this course around. The conditions they had to deal with during the winter and spring were extremely rare and would test the best courses in the world.
“The fact that numerous players have come up to me and told me the course is beautiful and they wouldn’t have noticed it had such difficulties is a testament to the minor miracle that has taken place over the past number of weeks.”
The venue’s Welsh greenkeeper Cawley has vast experience of Scandinavian golf courses having previously worked at the host venue of The European Tour’s Nordea Masters, Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Sweden, but he had never seen such difficult conditions in his long career.
“It was a very, very long winter,” he said. “The course was encased in snow and ice from the last week of November until the 25th of March.
“We had bad conditions then after that, very cold nights and only about plus five degrees during the day so it was a slow melting period. There was a lot of cold temperature damage and the cold weather in spring was not ideal to establish (grass) from seed.
“So 3,000 square metres of turf was used to turf the worst areas, at a cost of about £40,000 to our club, and lots and lots of man hours too, from early in the morning until the evening.
“We have some of the largest greens in Europe so it’s a big area to maintain and of course we had to keep the course open for the members so it was a very difficult process.
“I came to Sweden in 2004 and I have been in Scandinavia since, so I'm used to cold winters but this the worst winter I've had since I have been here.”
Cawley admits that the result of all that hard work, a successful Challenge Tour tournament and widespread praise, is one of the great rewards of his job and he is both delighted and relieved with how the course has turned out.
“”It was a relief last week ago when we knew that everything was good enough for the tournament with a week to spare.
“It is a big reward for me. It’s a difficult country to have a tournament like this because of the weather. It’s very pleasing to hear the feedback from the players and we just hope the weather continues to behave.”