Everyone enjoys a tranquil round of golf on the rolling hills of a pristine green. But what about the times where you want more of a challenge? Where’s the thrill? Here are five courses to consider when your average day of golf just won’t cut it.
1. Legend Golf Course, Pretoria, South Africa
With each hole designed by a different golf champion, you’re in for a real treat at Legend Golf Course. Weave through different eco systems and tricky elevations, all while facing the very real possibility of having a giraffe, zebra, hippo or other indigenous wildlife lumber into your path.
This all leads up to the famed 19th hole. A Par-3 hole with a vertical drop of over 1300 meters, it requires a helicopter just to reach it. The reward is worth the risk if you like a challenge: there is a 1 million dollar prize for the first player to make a hole in one. Good luck!
2. Uummannaq, Greenland
Home to the annual World Ice Golf Championships, Uummannaq doesn’t have a green so much as it has a white. To complete this course, you will have to navigate snow, ice and freezing temperatures, playing with a red ball rather than a white one – for obvious reasons. Don’t worry, they train you on how to mitigate snow blindness and spot frostbite before you start.
3. Kabul Golf Club, Afghanistan
If you’re someone who likes courting danger, Kabul could be for you. Famous for being the world’s most dangerous golf club and seated in the midst of political turmoil, just getting to the club is no mean feat.
You will require the services of a private company to fly you in and out. You will also need armed guards and a helicopter on standby in case things get hairy. While not the most relaxing game you’ll ever play, it is certainly a story very few people get to tell.
4. Nullarbor Links, Australia
This course isn’t just a cheeky day out: it’s a whole road trip. The world’s longest golf course, it spans 1365 km, with the average distance between holes being 65 km.
Each hole is in a different participating town or roadhouse along the famously desolate Eyre Highway. This is a full-blown experience in an oft-forgotten part of Australia disguised as a golf course and it is not to be missed.
5. Elfego Baca Shootout, Socorro, New Mexico
While this isn’t technically a full golf course, it is the biggest challenge you may ever face with a golf club in your hand. It’s as fun as Aussie betting, but far scarier. The shootout on this one-hold course begins from Socorro peak, 2208 meters above sea level with a vertical drop of 777 vertical meters. To score points, you must finish with at least one of the 10 balls you started with.
In completing this shootout, you don’t just have the elevation and rocky terrain to think about. Hot temperatures, rattle snakes, hidden canyons, scorpions, old mine shafts, cliffs and cacti are just some of the obstacles you can expect to encounter. The record is nine strokes – why don’t you see if you can beat it?