World's Best Disc Golf Courses is a 10-part series. You can find each article plus a list of the top 50 courses here.
The rankings for World's Best Disc Golf Courses are based on the over 1 million ratings of courses all over the planet by disc golfers using UDisc. However, we have done work to account for how regions and cultures tend to rate courses differently, helping to assure the courses that made and missed this list did not do so as a result of regional hype or hypercriticism. That said, the courses on this list earned their spots purely from their stats and not due to the opinions of UDisc's staff. Honestly, we were just as surprised and interested in the results as our readers.
The course grades are relative to how close each course was to a perfect five-star rating. No course on the list achieved a 100.
In Oslo, there are various disc golf clubs all based around particular courses. Muselunden Disc Golf Course has, naturally, Muselunden Frisbeeklubb. Krokhol owes its existence to a problem that club faced in the late 2010s when its 18-hole course was forced to drop six holes.
The reduction occurred because the Muselunden course is in a busy park, and the 18-hole layout often called for throws over or near paved paths used by a steady stream of bicyclists, pedestrians, and people on roller skis (it is Norway, after all). Additionally, more and more people were using the open areas that made up the course's fairways for sports like soccer.
When it lost the holes, the club began talking with the city about where it could build a new 18-hole course.
"We looked at a couple of places, but none of them were good or we couldn't get permission to use them," said Lars Somby, Muselunden Frisbeeklubb member and Krokhol's eventual head designer. "Finally, the city told us they had a place we could use in one of the city's forests, and for almost a year we tried to figure out how to build 18 quality holes there before we realized it was impossible. We were really bummed out."
And at this point it wasn't just Muselundeners who were bummed. Another Oslo disc golf club, the Ekeberg Sendeplateklubb, had joined Muselunden in their efforts to turn the less-than-ideal wooded area into a quality course. Luckily for both clubs, a new hope was just a Google search away.
One day, a Muselunden member was scanning Google Maps for a better spot to build a course near the area the clubs had given up on. He got curious when he scrolled across land that looked like it might be an abandoned ball golf course and told everyone about it. Shortly thereafter, Somby and fellow Muselundener Morten Falk drove to the spot to scope it out.
"When we got to it, we were blown away; it was amazing," Somby recalled. "A couple of days later we took some more people up there, and they were blown away too."
The land they had discovered was, indeed, the former back nine of a ball golf course that the owner had removed to reduce maintenance costs as ball golf's popularity continued to slip. Along with the benefit of having many potential fairways already cleared, the area offered up thickly forested areas, drastic elevation changes, bodies of water, and protruding rock walls that created both extraordinarily picturesque scenery and all the elements needed for world class disc golf.
To the clubs' delight, neither the course owner nor the local municipality that owned part of the land the groups wanted to use had a problem with them molding the area into a disc golf course. In fact, the course owner saw plenty of benefits to it: the land would continue to be maintained, get used, and the course's cafe would have more potential traffic. He even gave the group permission to use some of his equipment for building and maintaining the course.
Given the quality of the property, the clubs knew they had no choice but to create something magnificent. To cover the costs of course building, a very successful crowdfunding campaign was launched that earned over 90,000 Norwegian krone (around $10,100 USD/€9,000). Beyond that, the story of Krokhol is a simple one: a disc golf community putting in long hours to design and build a place any disc golfer is welcome to play. The thing that makes the story truly special is that the product of their labors happens to be one of the best disc golf courses in the world, with no bicyclists or soccer players in sight.
Somby said that he and the others who helped build and design the course had one very clear goal for their efforts.
"We want to build up the area's players to be able to compete on a higher level," he said.
And, really, though players need thousands of hours of practice to master them, the skills needed most for high-level play are easy to pinpoint: distance and accuracy. Thus, scoring well at Krokhol requires both power and control. For example, take a look at hole 2 as seen in a flyover from SM Disc Golf Productions' coverage of the 2019 Norwegian Championship (and, yes, that's Nate Sexton you hear in the commentary):
The hole is a true par 4, taking two excellent shots to get even a chance at birdie. You're first asked for a strong, uphill, right-turning shot that most right-handed players would attack with an anhyzer. But with out-of-bounds (OB) all along the right side and forest all along the left, getting enough power while also landing in the fairway will be a huge challenge for the majority of people. And even if you accomplish that, your second shot has to land safely on a dangerously sloped green with tight OB lines. Even one of the best players in the world, Eagle McMahon, didn't manage a birdie after a great first drive. See for yourself here.
Holes like hole 2 are what to expect when you play Krokhol. Elevation, both downhill and uphill, are constants. Though there are some shorter holes featuring tight woods, distance is a must in most places. But distance without accuracy will rack up strokes via OB penalties or fighting through thick rough.
No matter how hard the course is, though, its beauty is always there to give your spirits a boost. When we featured Krokhol in our article naming Oslo the #2 international city for disc golf in the world, one of our local sources emphasized that aspect of the course, saying, "I'd say that 18 holes at Krokhol feels like an adventure where you explore and unlock more and more of the forest as you go, and you keep feeling amazed."
Essentially, when you go to Krokhol, expect every part of your game to be challenged, and if you start feeling overwhelmed by the numbers on your scorecard, take a minute to admire the scenery.
There was no hesitation from Somby when asked what Krokhol's signature hole is. To him, it's unquestionably the par 4 hole 12—all 267 meters/876 feet of it. From the tee, the fairway is straight ahead, leading up to a basket in the shadows of the forest tightly surrounding it. There is also OB that comes in on the right side, forcing shots over a pond that is a little over halfway down the fairway. At any point, it looks like a badly-thrown shot could send your disc into endless wilderness.
But why talk about it when you can see it for yourself? Again, here's footage from SM Disc Golf Productions:
Krokhol Disc Golf Course is on the property of Krokhol Golf Course, and here are some of the amenities players can enjoy:
Events: The biggest events planned for 2020 so far that will be played at least in part at Krokhol are the Oslo Disc Golf Classic and Oslo Tour.
Leagues: There's a flex-start league on Sundays that starts at 8am and goes until dark (which in the Norwegian summer can be really, really late). This goes from spring to October or November depending on when the first heavy snows come.
Being outside the city, Krokhol currently has pretty light traffic Monday-Friday according to UDisc data, so a relatively relaxed round is possible any weekday at any time. Saturday and Sunday are busy, with most players starting their rounds between 9am and 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, along with an extra rush around 2pm on Sundays. Avoid those days and times if you're looking to beat the crowds.
An average round at Krokhol takes just under three hours.
Three real, unedited reviews from UDisc users. To see Krokhol's latest reviews, visit its page on the UDisc Courses website.
Want to find out what course is #8? Click here.