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Wednesday, 02 January 2019
Gösta Carlsson - Image credit: Ulf Berglund ()
Gösta Carlsson - Image credit: Ulf Berglund ()

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  • Gösta Carlsson

Gösta Carlsson, the owner of Barsebäck Golf & Country Club and one of Swedish golf’s foremost leaders, has passed away aged 99.

The Swede was awarded the Erik Runfelt Medal in 2012 for his services to the sport, an accolade that saw him join an illustrious list of Swedish golfing greats, in recognition of his work in bringing the Solheim Cup, Scandinavian Masters (later Nordea Masters) and Scandinavian TPC to his beloved Barsebäck in southern Sweden since he acquired the venue in 1974. 

The Scandinavian Masters was first played at Barsebäck in 1992 with Sir Nick Faldo crowned champion and again in 1995 when Jesper Parnevik became the first Swedish male golfer to win a European Tour event on home soil. The latest world class event held at Barsebäck was the Nordea Masters in 2017, when Italy’s Renato Paratore claimed his maiden European Tour title. 

Carlsson's commitment to hosting elite tournaments has also helped in the development of professional golf in his home country. The Swedish Golf Tour has visited Barsebäck on numerous occasions and the course has also staged the Swedish Club Team Championships for the past nine years from 2010. Amateur competitions such as the St Andrews Trophy and the Jacques Léglise Trophy have also been staged at the well know Swedish venue.

Born in Nyköping, the young Swede worked in Plymouth's car factory but it was his interest in motor racing that took him to Scania in southern Sweden and to Saxtorp in 1939 where he remained when the Second World War broke out to build tanks instead of cars. In 1945 he founded the company Järnkonst, which made lamps in a basement room in Landskrona, and in 1948 the company's own factory was built. In 1969, Järnkonst, then with 1,000 employees, was sold to Asea.

In 1974, he took over Barsebäck's facility to start a new chapter in his life. He built Järavallens conference centre at the golf facility and also founded St Ibb’s Golf Course on the nearby island of Ven. In 2014, the Swedish leadership and management magazine Chef listed the then 95 year old entrepreneur as Sweden's oldest active director.

Fellow Swede Henrik Stenson, said: "Gösta loved golf and of course his own “pearl” Barsebäck Golf & Country Club. A venue to host many big Professional and Amateur events over the years and the place where Gösta spent most of his time. I thank him for his support of myself but also on behalf of many others that he helped over the years, we will always remember Mr Barsebäck!"

Swedish Golf Federation chairman Maria Möller, said: “It was a very sad message to receive as we had looked forward to celebrating Gösta's 100th birthday and Barsebäck's 50th in 2019.

“Gösta was a unique entrepreneur and leader in Swedish golf. With great commitment and skill, he made Barsebäck Golf & Country Club one of the country's premier golf facilities with international competitions on both the women's and men's sides.”

The Erik Runfelt Medal has only been awarded to eight people: Annika Sörenstam, Sven Tumba, Göran Zachrisson, Prince Bertil, Bengt Lorichs, Henrik Stenson, Pia Nilsson and the late, Gösta Carlsson.

He is survived by a son, a daughter and grandchildren.

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