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Explore the Weirdest Golf Courses Around the World: A Top List of Unusual Greens

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Golfers in search of the weirdest golf courses around the world, look no further. Prepare for more than just sand traps and water hazards as we guide you through the most peculiarily challenging greens on the planet. From golfing below sea level to navigating courses amid wildlife or volcanic activity, this compilation delivers a captivating peek at where the sport takes its most unusual twists.

Teeing Off Below Sea Level

Our first stop takes us to the heart of Death Valley, California, where golfers face off against the elements at Furnace Creek Golf Course, the world’s lowest altitude golf course. The course sits a whopping 214 feet below sea level and is no stranger to summer temperatures reaching a scorching 130 degrees. The extreme heat not only poses risks such as heatstroke but also creates unique challenges, like altered ball flight. Imagine trying to nail that 573-yard, par 5, fifth hole flanked by tamarisk trees in such conditions!

The 18-hole, par 70 course was redesigned by the renowned Perry Dye in 1997. This course is not your typical walk in the park. With strategic mounds, water hazards, and undulating greens, it’s more like a trek through a picturesque desert framed by the beautiful tamarisk trees.

Interestingly, to mitigate the dangers of heat, the course provides golf carts with the greens fee and early tournament start times during the scorching summers. And if you’re feeling a bit rusty, don’t fret. You can always take lessons with a PGA Golf Pro, making Furnace Creek Golf Course and Carbrook Golf Club truly unique experiences among golf courses.

The Arctic Adventure

From the scorching sands of Death Valley, we head to the icy expanses of Greenland. The Uummannaq Golf Course, hosting the World Ice Golf Championship, is not your ordinary golf club. This golf course is literally carved into the fjord’s ice each year, with the surrounding icebergs providing a unique frozen landscape. Now, that’s what we call a real ‘ice breaker’!

This icy adventure comes with its own set of challenges. With temperatures dropping to -45 degrees Celsius, the holes are shorter and the cups are larger. And forget about the traditional ‘white golf balls’. Here, they use orange balls, known as ‘red golf balls’, for visibility against the snow. And remember, steel shaft clubs are the way to go here, as graphite shafts may shatter in the extreme cold.

What adds to the charm of Uummannaq Golf Course is its ever-changing conditions. Due to the shifting ice, course records are not maintained as usual. This requires players to adapt every year and every event, making each game a unique experience in its own right.

So, are you ready to tackle this Arctic adventure?

Safari on the Fairways

From the icy landscapes of Greenland, we now take a leap into the heart of Africa. The Hans Merensky Golf Club in South Africa offers a unique golfing experience where the wild side of Africa meets the fairways. Imagine your game being interrupted by a herd of elephants, or having a leopard eyeing your golf balls!

The 18-hole, par-72 Skukuza golf course offers:

  • Scenic views along its rolling fairways
  • Located in Phalaborwa, the gateway to the Kruger National Park
  • Proximity to one of Africa’s most famous wildlife preserves

The thrill of playing here isn’t just about the game; it’s about sharing the fairways with:

  • leopards
  • elephants
  • hippos
  • crocodiles

So, if you’re a golfer with a love for wildlife, this only golf course will take you on a safari like no other, making it one of the most bizarre golf courses in the world. Just remember to keep your eyes on the ball and the wildlife!

From Runways to Fairways

Next, let’s fly over to Bangkok, Thailand. Here, we find the Kantarat Golf Course, uniquely built between the runways of Don Muang Airport. Imagine teeing off as a Boeing 747 lands next to you with an earth-shaking roar. It’s a fusion of the tranquility of golf and the dynamic nature of aviation that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Now, playing at Kantarat isn’t for the faint-hearted. To reach the back nine, golfers must cross a busy taxiway. And there’s a strict ‘stop and go’ policy to ensure safety. Play is paused for takeoffs and landings, and golfers must be attentive to air traffic control signals.

But don’t let the planes flying overhead deter you. In between the hustle and bustle of an active airport, Kantarat offers moments of quiet when the planes are not in operation. It’s this unusual combination of peace and thrill that guests love about Kantarat.

So, are you ready to take off on this unique golfing adventure?

Nullarbor’s Epic Journey

From the runways of Bangkok, we travel to the vast expanses of Australia, where we find one of the world’s strangest golf courses, Nullarbor Links. This 18-hole par 72 golf course stretches over 848 miles along the Eyre Highway, from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. That’s more than 14 times the length of the average golf course!

The course is a true reflection of Australia’s diverse and rugged landscape. It features:

  • A hole situated within a sheep station
  • Another hole in the surrounds of the Kalgoorlie Golf Club’s forest
  • Players also have to navigate through a variety of natural hazards such as crows, emus, kangaroos, wedge-tailed eagles, and even deadly snakes.

But don’t let these challenges intimidate you. Nullarbor Links is a journey through significant regional landmarks and cultural elements of the region. So, if you’re up for an epic golfing journey that combines the thrill of the game with the beauty of Australia’s landscape, Nullarbor Links is the place to be.

Volcanic Hazards

From the vast Australian landscape, we take a leap into the volcanic terrains of Indonesia. The Merapi Golf Course, nestled between the active Mount Merapi and the city of Yogyakarta, offers a golfing experience that’s quite literally ‘explosive’.

This course has had its fair share of volcanic eruptions. In 2010, holes 9, 10, and 17 were covered in ash, and in 2013, the entire course was blanketed in ash. But don’t worry, safety is a priority here. Players are informed about emergency procedures and play is restricted to certain times to minimize hazards.

But it’s not just the volcano that players have to contend with. The course, sculpted by ancient lava flows, presents other challenges such as dog legs, blind shots, and sand traps guarding the bunkers. So, if you’re ready to face the ‘heat’, Merapi Golf Course offers a golfing experience like no other.

Golf Amongst the Stars

Our next stop takes us to new heights, quite literally. The Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa features the Extreme 19th hole, the world’s longest and highest Par 3, accessible only by helicopter. Now, that’s what we call ‘soaring’ to new levels!

The tee box for the Extreme 19th hole is perched on the edge of a cliff on Hanglip Mountain, 1,200 feet above the green. With a challenging tee shot over a distance of 361 meters, this hole is not for the faint-hearted.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. The thrill of the Extreme 19th is heightened by a 400-meter elevation drop from the tee to the green. The green itself is innovatively contoured to resemble the African continent, adding to the unique experience.

So, are you ready to take your golfing skills to new heights?

The Danger Zone

From the dizzying heights of South Africa, we now head into the ‘Danger Zone’. Camp Bonifas, near the Korean Demilitarized Zone, is known as the most dangerous golf hole in the world. This single 192-yard par-3 hole is surrounded by:

  • a high security fence
  • a trench
  • an empty machine-gun nest
  • live minefields

Talk about a ‘blast’ of a golfing experience!

Playing on this course is no walk in the park. The tee box, elevated 50 feet above the fairway, is on top of an empty machine-gun nest. And the course is made entirely of artificial turf. But despite the underlying threat from North Korea, the course serves as a recreational outlet for American and South Korean soldiers stationed at the base.

And don’t forget about the strict policies in place. From submitting personal details for a comprehensive background check to the possibility of vehicle, belongings, or self searches without warning, this course takes golfing security to a whole new level.

So, are you bold enough to step into the ‘Danger Zone’?

Naturism Meets Nine Irons

After the adrenaline rush at Camp Bonifas, let’s head to a more ‘liberating’ golfing experience. Welcome to La Jenny in France, the only naturist golf course in Europe. Here, playing in your birthday suit isn’t just allowed, it’s mandatory!

La Jenny, officially recognized by the French Golf Federation, offers an unparalleled golfing experience. The course features six holes nestled among dunes and pine trees, with a mix of Par 3 and Par 4 holes. But remember, this course is exclusively for vacationers staying in La Jenny’s village. So, if you’re all about ‘freeing the swing’, La Jenny is the place for you.

To make the experience even better, La Jenny encourages golfing engagement by hosting individual and team competitions, offering complimentary golf introduction sessions, and providing rental equipment for those without. And the clubhouse serves as a social hub, offering a scenic terrace view, a variety of refreshments, and themed meals. So, if you’re ready to take your love for golf to a whole new ‘naked’ level, La Jenny awaits!

Playing Golf in Prison’s Shadow

Our last stop on this unusual golfing journey takes us to Louisiana. Here, we find the Prison View Golf Course, located next to a prison. This course was established to offer recreational opportunities to prison employees and their families living on site. And yes, the name ‘Prison View’ is quite literal!

The course, designed by Dr. John Ory and constructed with inmate labor, features nine holes with tee locations named after tree varieties. But playing here comes with a set of unique constraints. From a comprehensive background check 48 hours prior to tee time to the possibility of play being suspended without notice due to prison needs, it’s a golfing experience that’s as unique as it gets.

But don’t let the strict security measures deter you. The course maintains affordability with a fee of just $10 per round. And the proximity of the seventh tee to the high-security fences of Camp J adds a distinctive backdrop and atmosphere to your game. So, if you’re ready to play in the shadow of a prison, Prison View Golf Course offers a unique golfing experience like no other.

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AUTHOR

Tommy is a confirmed golf fanatic. He's been playing golf for 20 years and just loves everything about the game. His dad used to play golf a lot and watch the PGA and European Tours, so Tommy started watching too. Now he knows a lot about golf and loves to coach people and help them play better.

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