I have spent a few days on an Åland disc tour and thought I would summarize impressions and reflections for those who may be thinking about their own journey eventually.
A few weeks ago, a detailed and very rewarding travelogue from an Åland discourse was published in this group, a post I had a great exchange of and really appreciated.
So it can not hurt that I also share my experiences from the disc paradise Åland.
I traveled solo by bike and the itinerary was set up as below:
Day 1: Arrival Mariehamn 14.10. Check-in cottage in Lemland, a mile east of Mariehamn. Then cycling T-O-R Svinö DiscgolfPark.
Day 2: T-O-R Skag DiscgolfPark, games also at Västerkalmare on the way home.
Day 3: Cycling to Stallhagen for lunch disc, check-in Stalldalen, T-O-R Soltuna DiscgolfPark.
Day 4: Morning disc Kastelholms DiscgolfPark, afternoon disc Sandösunds DiscgolfPark, evening ferry to Lappo in the eastern archipelago, check-in at Pellas.
Day 5: Full day at Lappo DiscgolfPark, afternoon ferry back to Hummelvik, overnight stay at Kastelholms Gästhem.
Day 6: Cycling to Mariehamn, play at Lions (Mariehamn) DiscgolfPark before the ferry home to Stockholm.
Managed to score a week with constant strong winds, which became especially noticeable at courses with wide open holes right on the coastline…
But my game in the wind has REALLY developed during this trip, and from what I understand I was just unlucky enough to dot exactly the days when the wind blew…
What particularly attracted Åland was games on courses in a marine environment. Baskets on cliffs, sea views, views of the horizon, etc. This is based on various images seen in their feeds.
But a beautifully placed basket does not have to mean that the hole or the course for that matter is particularly fun to play. Can you really get BOTH beautiful environments AND fun courses, which have also been built in a short time?
Nine-hole course at a cottage village that was barricaded and spooky at my visit.
Demanding forest course with rough ruff and dense fairways. Several of the holes were played blindly where exact basket placement and fairfay design had to be discovered in step with progress.
Recommended to go on a warm-up round to explore the course and get to know it; it was more fun round two, when landing zones and lines were a little clearer (hard to know round 1).
No course I would take detours to play again; it offers nothing directly unique. But if you want to check off as many courses as possible, or take a ferry to / from Långnäs, you of course stop and play.
High scores on udisc and from previous travelogues named the finest course on Åland meant high expectations.
And of course, directly at hole 1 you are met by a fairway consisting of a lovely Åland rock, which later characterizes most of the course. Finally that marine environment I came to Åland for, the reddish cliffs, the Bohuslän feeling. Exactly what you want.
Very nice track, but purely sporting not the most stimulating.
Predominantly "throw straight ahead for 85 meters with slightly different variations".
Clear and sympathetic course, certainly absolutely superb for those who are a little fresh in the sport.
Personally, I had hoped for a little more imagination and variety on the holes, such as. the challenging and fun hole 15.
Nice environment and very nice course, but without that little extra in terms of layout.
Nine-hole course on the outskirts of Mariehamn, which really exceeded expectations.
When I turned into the parking lot, I got the impression of a highly obligatory track with "a few baskets in a field". Thought it's probably just grazing and moving on with life.
But this course really grew for every hole. Good variety and really fun game on holes 6-9 (the baskets on the field!), Where you created nice and fun holes with ob-lines, obstacles, etc.
Played at dusk, so only had time to go one lap, but the feeling immediately afterwards was that I immediately wanted to take a second lap.
Really hope they can develop this into an 18-hole in the same spirit, then it can be really fun.
Looking forward to returning!
It is not for the disc golf course I hope to return to Stallhagen, but for the brewery / restaurant.
The nine holes do not offer any special challenges, but they have done a great job with some spectacular / futuristic obstacles so that the round almost feels a bit like an art walk sometimes.
Hole 7 feels like a baby replica of the water tower hole at Eureka Lake, it also cheered up.
The course is really just "a few baskets in a field", but they have done it clearly well to enhance the experience as best they can.
That it blew so hell was only positive, then there were still some challenges to deal with.
Anyway, it's really cannon fodder in the restaurant.
Incredibly nice course located high up on a hill with fantastic views of the Bothnian Sea.
A handful of unforgettable signature holes and straight through a fantastic experience.
F9 is described as an amateur and B9 as a professional, but personally I do not think that is true at all.
Sure, B9 has two tough pair fours, which are clearly more difficult than any hole on F9, but otherwise the degree of difficulty was more or less the same on B9 as on F9.
But! When you have read that B9 is going to be so much tougher, and you come to the completely epic hole 10 - well then you start to wonder if it is the large disk cemetery you have come to (especially when it blows 15 seconds of headwind on the tee ).
Right there and then (at hole 10) it felt like the first time I went from Ale Gul ("I'm pretty good at this with disc golf!") To Ale Vit ("should I even own a disc?") .
But - hole 10 was not representative of the rest of B9.
Absolutely wonderful environment to play in and a varied and challenging course that was fun to play from first to last hole.
After hole 18 I just wanted to rush to the tee for hole 1 for a second round, but then I was in a hurry back to Stallhagen to have time to have dinner before they closed.
One of the most stimulating courses I have ever played.
I long to return here, and I was completely convinced when I cycled from there that I undoubtedly played Åland's best course. But that perception would change…
Cozy little nine-hole, but just like with Stallhagen, it will not be for the disc golf course itself that I will return in the first place, but for the food (Smakbyn in this case).
Sympathetic small course in a nice forest environment without particularly big challenges. Beginner-friendly but thus not boring to play for someone more a little more experience. Absolutely ok variation on the holes.
Felt a bit like a more glorious version of Kaknäs nine holes.
Course that, as far as I understand, has grown from nine to 18 holes quite recently (and that did not feel 100% complete yet).
And it will surely get better when it is a little more recorded (trampled, cleaned, groomed, etc.).
Will feel good from extended / improved signage between the holes (which are a bit of holes about noise sometimes).
Through forest holes, often difficult to tighten.
Rough ruff and there was some cleaning left to do even on the fairways.
A narrow and winding par-five that felt a bit "Northwood Blackig" (although it must have been a par-four on the said course).
Quite often you felt that a drive should be parked for birdie, but even if the disc was kind of within the circle, you had a bushy teddy bear tree between yourself and the well-protected basket…
With a little time and love, this will surely be a super nice forest course, but right now no course I would prioritize on a return visit to Åland.
All courses were exemplary well maintained, with fantastic tees, generally very well signposted between the holes and so on.
For those who are considering cycling on Åland, the infrastructure for cycling is generally excellent. Separate cycle paths on most stretches, also well signposted.
It was just the stretch along the 4th Godby - Geta where you basically only had to share the road with the cars.
Neighbor to Stallhagen Brewery and Disc Golf Course.
Very nice and affordable accommodation with nice and well-equipped rooms.
Bakery on the ground floor, so often a smell of freshly baked in the corridors and oven-warm rolls for breakfast. Super nice place.
Family-friendly and cozy, some better ones are driven away from Smakbyn and Kastelholm's disc golf course.
Good rooms and the couple who ran the place were super nice.
Pellas at Lappo
Guest apartments and cottages, just 200 meters from the tee for hole 1.
Affordable and super nice reception.
I had e.g. no TV in my apartment, but wanted to watch the World Cup qualifier between Sweden-Spain. Then I got without hesitation access to another apartment where there was a TV (and I am incredibly grateful for that, considering what match it was).
After a round or two on Skag, it can definitely be worth a visit to Mojjen in Kattby. Incredibly lovely burger place with cannon jaws and super nice owner.
Both Smakbyn and Stallhagen were well worth their visits.
Tested both lunch and dinner in both places and there was a constant high level of food.
A little more fine dining feeling at Smakbyn and rustic brasserie at Stallhagen.
If you are up and throwing on Sandösund, you should try to have a meal at Kallas Skärgårdsrestaurang, a wonderful place with a large garden but also a wonderful indoor environment. Really good jaw too.
Generous for all restaurants are generous portions, which of course you love.
Lappo & Soltuna were two of the funniest and finest courses I played (out of a total of 70).
Excellent track layouts in a fabulous environment.
World class, in my book.
Skag straight off comfortable, both in terms of environment and layout, but without real x-factor. Still a clear bronze medalist for me.
Västerkalmare no special nature experience to speak of, but track layout that cheers up. Can ev. challenge for the bronze to be expanded to 18 holes, despite the lack of a marine environment.
Svinö & Sandösund challenging forest courses, where above all the latter can become a real forest classic over time. Maybe I'm a little unfairly hard on these two courses because it was not directly forest courses I longed for when I traveled to Åland.
Kastelholm & Stallhagen play the second violin for the dining experiences at each location, but Kastelholm is more of a "real" disc golf course (but kudos to Stallhagen for what they actually managed to create with a little creativity in a regular field).
Mariehamn you can play a few rounds if you want to chase ace, or need to kill time waiting for the ferry.
Would have liked to have had time with Seglinge, Kökar, Sottunga and Föglö as well.
But I will definitely try to pinch these on the next trip to Åland, with even more Archipelago focus.
REALLY recommend Åland as a destination for a discourse!