My 5 Most Unique And Unusual Golf Courses On The Planet
Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world with approximately 400 million fans across the world. And why not? The courses are beautiful, walking makes for great cardiovascular exercise, and there's no better game where you can contemplate the parallels to life. Golf is also very popular as a venue for business dealing, with the friendly competition releasing adrenalin and endorphins, beautiful vistas to open the mind and most importantly plenty of time for conversation. Throw in the post-round drinks or dinner and you could have a six-hour sales call!
Life as a serious golfer can get very lonely, spending hours on the putting or chipping green, or just hitting balls into the sunset in the quest for perfection. With my penchant for travel, I like to break it up by playing courses across the world. Any avid gofer will attest to the fact that the flight of a good drive is pure poetry in motion, and the satisfaction of playing a great game, or a particularly memorable shot in a place that's equally unforgettable, will stay with you long after. Golf vacations are very popular and courses pop up in the most spectacular locations. If you're a thrill seeker, here's my list of 5 very unusual and exciting courses that you might want to include on your golf-travel list.
1. Uummannaq Greenland - Qaasuitsup, Greenland.
If you find the heat of the Indian Summer excruciating on the course, playing on icebergs in full winter gear with brightly orange balls for visibility could be a very enticing thought. Playing this course is great altitude training! Located in Northwestern Greenland, 500 km north of the Arctic Circle, Uummannaq is a hunting and fishing base with stone quarries where temperatures can drop below 15 degrees. The course is designed pretty much by the ocean and weather and Uummannaq is the host of the World Ice Golf Championships. The rules are similar to those of regular golf, except the holes a little shorter, the cups are larger, and since everything is frozen, the greens should probably be called the whites!
2. Legend Golf and Safari Resort, South Africa.
The 19th tee, the globes highest hole.
This lovely luxury-golf destination, has a beautiful 18-hole course and the added excitement of one of the most spectacular Par 3's in the world, 'The Extreme 19th'. The tee is perched on the sheer cliff face of Hangclip Mountain, Limpopo, at a height of 400m, making it the globe's highest hole. It's also 391 meters long, which means, it takes almost 30 seconds for any tee shot to reach the Africa-shaped green below. Challengers access the tee only by helicopter, and are given six balls, complete with tracking chips. The hole is set against the backdrop of a safari with wildlife roaming the landscape. A truly exciting golfing experience.
3. Merapi Golf Course, Indonesia.
If you like living on the edge, this beautifully designed course Golf Course, is located 800 meters above sea level, should be on your list. It has lovely weather and spectacular views of Mount Merapi. But if you're not an active volcanologist, you may not know that it is also at the base of one of the more active volcanoes in the world - within lava spewing distance of the first tee infact! You can see smoke emerging from Mount Merapi on most days of the year and a lava river flowing close by. So a word of caution if you're planning a trip - the volcano has had several small eruptions every 2-3 years and larger ones every ten to fifteen years.
4. Nullarbor Links, Nullarbor Plains, Australia.
Set aside two days if you plan on completing this one! It is an 18-hole par 72 golf course that spans 1,365 kilometers and two time zones, from Kalgoorlie in West Australia to Ceduna in South Australia, making it the world's longest golf course. You get in your car and drive to play each hole at various towns along the way. Each hole features a green, a tee and a fairway comprised of rugged Aussie outback. Golf equipment can be hired at each town.
5. Pebble Beach, California.
Widely considered one of the loveliest courses in the world, with many imitators but none that truly compare, Pebble Beach is also the venue of some of the sport's most historic moments. The spectacular views of cliffs and crashing waves intersecting with the club's iconic legacy of luxury and sporting history make Pebble Beach legendary. The course actually has as many as nine holes perched just above the crashing surf. The 7th hole in particular has the shortest par three in Major championship golf, and it is spectacular to watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean pounding onto the rocks behind. Definitely on my golf bucket-list!
This article was originally written for Burgundy Magazine by Axis Bank
The author is a Sports presenter, Olympian and an Arjuna Awardee. He is training for competitive golf, and travel writes as a passion. He blogs on travelwithrehan.com. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook