Snow golf: Driving off piste under the Northern Lights

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Story highlights

Ski resort in Swedish Lapland offers chance to play snow golf

Visitors can tee off during the day or at night on the nine-hole course in Börkliden

Intrepid night golfers can experience thrill of playing under the Northern Lights

Snow golf is proving popular across Europe, especially Switzerland

CNN  — 

The thought of it is enough to make fair-weather golfers shudder in horror.

But for hardier sporting souls, a sub-zero round in the Arctic snow could be the perfect off-piste adventure this winter.

Welcome to a world where greens are “whites,” where snowplows – not mowers – groom fairways, and players swap snazzy pants and Pringle sweaters for ski jackets and mittens.

Like normal golf, the goal remains frustratingly simple and the rules are largely the same as they are on grass. But the obstacles are somewhat different as players battle a strange playing surface and the cold.

At Björkliden, a ski resort in Swedish Lapland which started offering snow golf last year, players can expect a warm welcome but a decidedly chilly round.

“We are 250 kilometers to the north of the Arctic Circle. It can be anything from zero degrees Celsius down to -25, but usually the average is around -10,” says Merja Bergwall, marketing and sales manager for Lapland Resorts, the company which manages Björkliden’s facilities.

Thin a ball at those temperatures and your poor hands may never recover. But for most the experience is a happy one, Bergwall says, with players enjoying clean, crisp air under frequently blue skies while mastering the art of driving, chipping and putting on snow and ice.

Björkliden’s winter golfers tread the same path as summer guests, playing the route of a long-established grass course beneath.

“Summer golf has been here since the 1930s, but we wanted to do something for the wintertime,” explains Bergwall.

“We have nine holes and we use snowplows that we usually use on the slopes (to smooth the course).”

Visitors pay 350 Swedish Krona (around $50) for a round, which includes club hire and balls.

Tee times after dark are also available thanks to glowing golf balls – and night golf also lets players witness one of nature’s most magnificent spectacles up close.