Wow – reading this list over at CNN.com almost had this Caveman reachin’ for a golf travel case! But since I’m up to my elbows in holiday golf gifts, I figured I’d just pass it along to my Rock Heads – enjoy!
The best golfers on the planet can expect beautifully manicured greens and perfect fairways when they take to the Hazeltine National Golf Club course in Minnesota for the U.S. PGA Championship next month.
But the increasing popularity of the sport has seen golf courses spring up in some unlikely places.
Here Living Golf takes a look at some of the weird and wonderful golf courses which will not be found in the average guidebook:
The average round of golf usually lasts a few hours, but prospective players on the Nullarbor Links Course in southern Australia can expect to complete the course in closer to four days. Measuring 848 miles in length the course is the longest in the world and spans two time zones with holes situated at 18 towns and service stations aimed along the Nullarbor Plain. Check out the Caveman’s take on this course!
Situated on the rim of the active Mount Merapi in Indonesia, the Merapi Golf Course is one of the most unusual courses in the world. The course has breathtaking views and is one of only a handful of courses where golf is played next to an active volcano – although the course architects are yet to include lava hazards.
Uummannaq in Greenland is home to the World Ice Golf Championships where the entire course is laid on gigantic icebergs and rounds of golf are played in subzero temperatures. The rules remain the same as regular golf although the course is a little shorter, the holes a little larger, the ball is orange and the green is white.
4. Most dangerous
Camp Bonifas is the closest military base to North Korea on the border in Panmunjom and is also home to what has been dubbed the world’s most dangerous golf course. The ‘course’ is a single hole, par three which stretches 192 yards and is close to the most heavily fortified border in the world. And it is no place for a stroll in the rough either – the fairway is ringed by landmines. Check out the Caveman’s take on this course!
5. Back to nature
Established in 1993 the golf course of La Jenny in France is one of the few places in the world which caters especially for golfers who prefer to hone their skills au natural. The only naturist course in Europe, La Jenny even has its own professional and stages numerous tournaments throughout the year.
If you are struggling to get distance on your drives then head to the Government Golf Course found in Gulmarg, India where the course is the highest in the world at over 8,500 feet. Established by British residents in 1904 the air is thinner on the course because of the altitude which means that the ball will travel further to increase the distance of a drive.
7. Unluckiest hole
Jean Van de Velde infamously pondered a chip out of the water at The British Open at Carnoustie in 1999 but he would be well advised to not try the same at the Lost City Golf Course in Sun City, South Africa. The water trap at the 13th hole houses 38 hungry crocodiles which is a graveyard for the balls of hundreds of sliced shots.
8 Full steam ahead
Located in a picturesque suburb of the city the Royal Colombo Golf Club in Sri Lanka has the distinguishing feature of the Kelani Valley steam railroad running through the course. Four of the holes are traversed by the trains which run past packed full of people ensuring the golfer will often have a audience, although a drop is permitted if your drive lands on the tracks.
There is barely a blade of grass in sight in the small opal mining town of Coober Pedy in the Australian outback but that does not hinder the interest in golf. The Opal Fields Golf Club is a giant sand trap while the ‘greens’ must be oiled with grease to prevent the dirt being blown away by the dry desert winds.
10. Out of this world
Astronaut Alan Shepard is the only person to actually hit a golf ball on the moon when he did during 1971’s lunar visit, but plans for a course on the cratered satellite are already on the drawing board. Japanese company Shimizu Construction revealed a blueprint for the development of a course for the future, although an intergalactic open championship is probably quite a few years off yet.
Scratch here again with a quick question: If money were no object, would you rather play one of these crazy courses, or opt for a round at a “traditional” beauty like Pebble Beach?