Imjelt Pitch and Putt, Drammen, Norway
From Drammen you drive for ten minutes through classic Norwegian farmlands until you see the sign with the two dark blue Swallows in the clear blue sky. You have arrived at Imjelt, a typical Norwegian farm for the last 500 years. This tradition was brought to a halt, when Jo Brand and his wife decided to develop Imjelt Pitch and Putt Centre and build Norway's first 18-hole Pitch and Putt course on the farmland in 2003. After a planning and construction period of four years, Imjelt Pitch and Putt was officially opened by the Mayor of Drammen on 9th September 2007. The Norway National Pitch and Putt Cup finals were played on the course on the following day.
More than 1500 players have played Pitch and Putt on Imjelt since the opening. At least 1200 of these players had never played Pitch and Putt before! There have been twelve "Holes-in-One" (and two holes-in-one in the same round!), and the current course record of 47 strokes is held by Cesilie Hagen, a 14 year old player on the Norwegian National Golf Junior Team. So far so good; the news is spreading that an interesting and well built 18 hole Pitch and Putt course has opened and that Pitch and Putt is a lot of fun to play, and at the same time a demanding and challenging sport!
Imjelt Pitch and Putt is situated 60 km south of Oslo near the city of Drammen. It's built to EPPA/FIPPA standards with lengths from 35 to 90 metres with a total length of 1,199 metres. The greens are built to USGA standards and have an average size of 180 square metres. There is a driving-range with 30 mats, a putting-green, a pitching green and a combined chipping/putting green in the large general training area.
Norway has long winters so for indoor training Imjelt has an undulating sand filled combined putting and chipping green of 150 square metres and a flat second green of 45 square metres for putting. There are also four Full Swing Simulators where one can interactively play fifty of the most popular golf courses in the world.
To serve both outdoor and indoor facilities, Imjelt has a 300 square metre modern restaurant and bar with one separate business launch/meeting room. The restaurant has panoramic views of the Pitch and Putt course, both from indoors through large windows and from the big terrace.
The Norwegian architect Arnstein Friling is responsible for the layout both of the course and the restaurant. Imjelt Pitch and Putt the has alternative hole lengths and the greens are not too small. Where it is possible the course has more than one tee mat to either make holes longer, or to make the hole easier for those who don't want to play over water, for instance. Thus it is possible to have a variable and demanding course for all categories of players. Imjelt will continue to build extra tee areas until there are at least two per hole. A slight larger tee mat than normal has been used. The tee mats at Imjelt measure 1.8 x 1.8m. They are made of the latest tee turf available, which requires no sand filler. It's possible to peg up all over the mat, and they have been a great success so far. Imjelt have built the Pitch and Putt course and all of the facilities to as high a standard as possible. They wanted (and have delivered) a course and facility that people talk about and a place that people will want to come back to.
The Pitch and Putt course itself varies from playing in narrow wooded area to open areas, over water, to elevated tee areas several metres higher than the green, with well shaped greens - from concave to two-elevations. Pop up irrigation waters all the greens and fairways. All bunkers have proper drainage systems. There are three water hazards on the course, circulating the water between them to keep it in good condition. Several families of ducks seem to appreciate their new home!
NPPF hopes to see an increasing number of Norwegian players at Opens in the years to come. NPPF also believes that Imjelt will create at lot of interest in and publicity for Pitch and Putt in Norway. Now when the season ends and the frost drives players indoors to play the simulators, they will be dreaming of the Spring and Summer of Pitch and Putt in Norway.
All at Imjelt Pitch and Putt are very thankful for the good advice and support they have received from the EPPA family!