Top Swedish female golf players of all time
By Signe Hansen | Photos: Pexels
As the birthplace of Annika Sörenstam, one of the greatest female golfers of all time, it is no wonder that Sweden has gained a reputation as a strong female golf nation. Here, we take a look at some of the best Swedish female golf players throughout time, from past legends to present stars.
Believed to have first originated in Scotland in the 15th century, organised golf did not make its way to Sweden until 1891, when the country’s first golf course was established at the Royal Haga Park in Stockholm. But, though Sweden may not have the same historical golf tradition as other countries, the country has developed a strong golf culture with a well-established junior golf system, and numerous golf courses across the country. The country has also hosted prestigious golf events, such as the Scandinavian Masters, contributing to the growth and popularity of the sport among men as well as women. Thus, today, approximately a century after its first introduction to golf, Sweden is considered among the ten leading golf nations in the world, with Swedish female golf players leading the way.
As one of the few sports, golf has been inclusive of women since it first took an organised form in the late 19th century. In 1893, the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) was founded in the United Kingdom, playing a crucial role in organising women’s golf events and advocating for the rights of female golfers. The early 20th century saw the emergence of women’s golf competitions and the formation of women’s golf clubs. Step by step, the status of female golf has continued to grow especially gaining momentum throughout the latter half of the 20th century when Swedish female golf players also began to make their mark globally. The Swedes continued to excel in the following decades, with Annika Sörenstam as one of the key figures who put Sweden on the map in women’s golf. Hence, as we embark on an exploration of some of the greatest female golf talents of Sweden from the past to the present, we shall begin with a look at some of her greatest achievements.
Annika Sörenstam, born 1970
Born in Bro near Stockholm in 1970, Annika Sörenstam is one of the absolute top names in the world of female golf. When she stepped away from competitive golf at the end of the 2008 season, she had won no less than 90 international tournaments, including ten major championships. Remarkably, however, one of her greatest achievements in golf was not a win. In 2003, Sörenstam accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play in the PGA Tour’s Bank of America Colonial, making her the first woman in 58 years to compete in a PGA Tour event. The decision generated significant attention and scrutiny, but despite the pressure and the historical nature of the moment, Sörenstam displayed great skill and composure. Thus, while she did not make the cut to play on the weekend, her participation at the high-level male-dominated tournament was a groundbreaking moment for women’s golf. Sörenstam spent a significant portion of her career as the world’s No. 1-ranked female golfer.
Helen Christine Alfredsson, born 1965
Born in Gothenburg, Helen Christine Alfredsson’s golfing journey began at the age of 11 at Gullbringa Golf & Country Club. Throughout her career, she secured victories in prestigious events, including the LPGA major Nabisco Dinah Shore, the Women’s British Open, and the Evian Masters three times. Notably, she achieved a “senior slam” in 2019 by triumphing in both senior women’s major championships. But Alfredsson is not just recognised for her golf talent, but also for her spirited on-course demeanour and has been known to curse long and loudly in Swedish when under pressure on the court. Helen Alfredsson’s prime competitive years were before the establishment of the Women’s World Golf Rankings in 2006.
Liselotte Maria Neumann, born 1966
Having been nominated Swedish Golfer of the Year three times, Liselotte Maria Neumann sport has solidified her status as one of Sweden’s golfing legends. Born in Finspång, Neumann began playing golf at the local 9-hole course at Finspång Golf Club and won the unofficial national youth championships as a 12, 14, and 16-year-old. As a professional, she claimed her first major victory at the 1988 U.S. Women’s Open, making her the first Swedish golfer, male or female, to win a major championship. Strongly dedicated to her first golf club, during the peak of her career, she invited some of the world’s greatest female golf stars to participate in exhibition matches in Finspån. Retiring from professional golf in 2008, Neumann transitioned to coaching and golf course design and continues to inspire future generations of golfers in her home country and abroad.
Pernilla Lindberg, born 1986
Born in Bollnäs, Pernilla Lindberg is one of Sweden’s most distinguished currently playing Swedish professional golfers renowned for her remarkable achievements in the sport. Lindberg’s golfing journey began at a young age, and, in 2006, she was a member of the winning Swedish team at the 2006 European Lady Juniors’ Team Championship. Her standout moment came in 2018 when she secured victory at the ANA Inspiration, one of golf’s major championships. This triumph was particularly noteworthy as Lindberg prevailed after an eight-hole playoff, showcasing her resilience and mental fortitude. Lindberg’s dedication to the sport and her historic win elevated her status in the golfing world. With a career-best 34th world ranking in 2018, Lindberg continues to be an inspiration for aspiring golfers and a source of pride for her homeland.
Anna Maria Nordqvist, born 1987
Originating from Eskilstuna, Sweden, Anna Maria Nordqvist emerged as a successful amateur golfer in Europe and the United States before turning professional in December 2008. Notably, Nordqvist secured her first major victory at the LPGA Championship in Maryland in June 2009, just in her fifth LPGA Tour start. Throughout her career, the remarkable Swede has secured three major championships, including the 2009 LPGA Championship, the 2017 Evian Championship, and the 2021 Women’s British Open. Another extraordinary accomplishment is that she is the sole non-American woman to have won major championships spanning three different decades – the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. In November 2023, the player announced that she was taking a prolonged break from professional golf due to the mental stress caused by the death of her just 39-year-old ex-husband. Nordqvist has been ranked inside the top 10 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings at various points in her career.
Caroline Hedwall, born 1989
Caroline Hedwall’s golf journey commenced at the age of eight in Täby, Sweden. Excelling in her amateur career, at 17, she made history by winning both the Swedish Junior Stroke-play Championship and the Swedish Junior Match-play Championship in the same season, a particularly remarkable feat for a 17-year-old player in a tournament for Swedish female golf players up to 21. In 2007, at 18 years old, she finished 7th at her Ladies European Tour debut, outshining tournament host Annika Sörenstam. Despite being an amateur, from 2006 to 2008, Hedwall secured six victories on the professional Swedish Golf Tour but was unable to claim her prize money due to her amateur status. Transitioning to the professional stage in 2011, Hedwall secured the New South Wales Open in Australia and was named the 2011 Swedish Golfer of the Year. Notably, in September 2018, she claimed her first professional victory in three years at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France. In 2022, focusing on the Ladies European Tour, she triumphed at the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De España, concluding the season with an impressive 8th position on the Order of Merit and a notable rise to 137th in the world rankings. Her career-best world ranking was 22nd in 2013.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email