May 13, 2011

Finnish Golfer Wins 2011 North Korean Open

The 2011 DPRK Amateur Golf Open is in the books… and by all accounts it was a stellar success.

The awesome event took place on the 29th April 2011 and was covered by journalists from the Associated Press and by Japanese and Korean media.  And how’s this for global golf: there were 17 competitors, from 8 different countries.  The nationalities included UK, South Africa, Finland, France, Germany, Australia, Luxembourg and DPRK.  --->

The tournament was played in Callaway format and the winning team, with a joint score of 72, was 25 year old Olli Lehtonen (hcp 1.1) and 31 year old Johannes Raitio (hcp 9.4), both from Finland. With the top gross score of 84, Olli was crowned the overall winner. I hope to be talking to Mr. Raitio in the coming days about his experience at the tournment and about what it's like to travel in North Korea.

North Korea is considered the world’s most isolated country and travel to what some call “the hermit kingdom” is quite controversial, particularly for US citizens. There are those who feel that anyone who travels to DPRK is supporting an enemy regime, others simply feel see it as a dark and dangerous place that should be avoided for safety’s sake.  I must say it doesn’t look particularly threatening on the tournament’s slide show.

Plans are already underway for next year’s event.  It’ll take place over 3 days in Pyongyang, from May 19th to 21st.  Additional information and reservations are available through Lupine Travel.


  1. The golfers must have been on their best behavior if they were invited back. I'd like to think we'd get more photos but I get the impression photography is highly controlled over there.

  2. Any aces made in that tournamnt? I ask cause I think that's the course where Kim Jong Il had 11 holes in one — in his first round? ;)

  3. With so many wonderful places to play golf why go to North Korea? I wouldn't even want to acknowledge that repressive regime.

  4. Canadian friends of our went to the Mass Games and said it was incredible. They said they never felt the least bit uncomfortable, though it was obligatory to travel with a guide. I think it would be a fascinating place to visit, and play golf, why not?

  5. You better not take the Supreme Leader's tee time. ;)


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