Located 20 minutes outside Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn, the ANNIKA Course is part of the seaside family-leisure resort and spa. Annika is currently drafting course plans with European Golf Design (EGD), the golf course design company of the European Tour and IMG. Ground-breaking began in 2016; plans call for the course to open in concert with the resort’s first 50 rooms in 2019.
Annika was selected both for the caliber of her design work – she has designed ninth courses worldwide to date – and her appreciation of a project targeting families and golf tourists from Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
“It’s exciting to be designing my first golf course in Europe, especially one that is close to home,” says Annika, a native of Sweden and 10-time major champion. “The golf industry has been talking a lot about the need to develop golf facilities that are more flexible and family friendly, and Estonian Golf & Country Club is actually making it happen.
“My objective is to create a course that good golfers will find strategic, competitive and visually appealing, while the design will utilize a variety of forward tees to make it equally enjoyable and engaging for newer golfers and young players. Ultimately, the layout will offer great versatility, from tournament play to resort golf, giving all golfers, no matter how far they hit the ball, a world-class experience.”
The new 18-hole course will replace the club’s existing nine-hole Stone Course, and will complement its 18-hole Sea Course, host of European qualifying for the 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup. The Sea Course has been ranked among the Top 100 courses in Continental Europe by Golf World (U.K.).
Sited on gently rolling terrain above a limestone escarpment that drops down to a pine forest and the Sea Course, the new ANNIKA layout will command outstanding views over the Rebala National Heritage Area.
Featuring long, native grasses and firm turf, the course will have a links-like look and feel. Tees will be strategically situated with the tournament course measuring approximately 7,050 yards. Forward tees will create an enjoyable 4,375-yard course for juniors and new golfers.
“I first met Annika in 2011 to discuss designing our second course and she immediately understood and empathized with our vision to further develop Estonian Golf & Country Club into an international leisure resort and spa,” says Hanno Kross, Estonian Golf & Country Club Chief Executive.
“As well as being one of the most successful golfers of all time, she is family oriented and coaches young people, so she brings a contemporary perspective to the needs of a modern resort and the type of golf course and facilities that are required.
“When I first showed her pictures of the landscape overlooking the Gulf of Finland and the Jägala River Delta, it reminded her of where she grew up and so I think she immediately felt at home with this project.”
Estonian Golf & Country Club is part of the European Tour Properties network of world-class golf venues. Already home to a successful real estate development, it plans to construct a 150-room hotel in three phases and develop leisure amenities including a spa and tennis academy.