Golf is not simply a game, it’s a passion, and once drawn in by the pursuit of the perfect shot, it becomes a lifelong quest. Intrinsically linked to the enjoyment of the sport are the beautiful courses on which the game is played. Attempting to compile a definitive list of the top 10 courses in the world would be futile, as the opinions of their advocates would be as varied as their plus fours. However, a list of the top quirkiest courses may be a little easier to peg. So here are some venues that will make you smile and earn you bragging rights at the 19th hole if you chose to traverse their fairways.
Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort South Africa
Located in Limpopo, a 4-hour drive from the capital city of Pretoria, South Africa, is the Extreme 19th at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort. It boasts the highest and longest par three golf hole in the world. It is perched on top of Hangklip Mountain, accessible only by helicopter. The tee box is 430 metres above the green, and you may struggle to focus when you see the stunning panoramic views competing for your attention. If you are a reasonable golfer, your ball may remain airborne for up to 30 seconds, and you don’t have to worry about losing it, the balls are fitted with tracking devices. If you happen to land a hole-in-one, you will leave around $48,000 richer, but even if you hit a triple bogey, the experience will more than make up for a sub-par round.
Furnace Creek Golf Course USA
If you want to move from the highest tee to the lowest green, head over to the Furnace Creek Golf Course in California. Located in infamous Death Valley, this desert golf course can provide a unique golf vacation at 214 feet below sea level. With 18 holes and a par 70 course, it’s the world’s lowest elevation golf course. Playing there is not for the faint hearted, Golf Digest rated it as one of America’s 50 Toughest Courses. Our guess is that the heat would be a major factor in earning this ranking. The presence of a large thermometer conspicuously placed at the entrance to the pro shop. It is an ominous warning that the threat of heatstroke is real. The thermometer dial ends at 130 degrees, and often hits the threshold. Did anyone say hydration?
Baikal Ice Golf Russia
On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, we have the snowy Baikal Ice Golf course, located in Eastern Siberia, it sits atop the world’s deepest freshwater lake (over 5000 ft deep to be exact) but no need to worry about falling into the frigid depths, the surface is completely frozen and perfectly safe to traverse. Although set in the unusual glacial landscape of Lake Baikal this course is fully approved by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, one of the oldest golf clubs in the world and the foremost golfing authority. This course is sure to meet the standards of the most discerning golfer. Luminous orange and red colored golf balls are used to stand out against the white ice and snow. If you do survive the arctic temperatures to complete the course, you will have an interesting tale to tell around the campfire for years to come.
Kingarrock Hickory Golf Scotland
If the idea of time travel appeals to you then Kingarrock Hickory Golf in Fife Scotland, should tick all the boxes. Dress up in retro gear and sink a few puts with a replica hickory golf club. Forget about high-tech equipment, instead you’ll be whacking soft rubber-wound balls, crafted as they were in the early 1900’s. As member of the National Trust for Scotland, you will be treated to views of the beautiful countryside, and you may even spot a wild haggis or two.
La Jenny Golf Course France
If you really want to occupy the top spot on the podium for having played at the world’s quirkiest course, then look no further than La Jenny in Bordeaux France. It is the only naturist golf course in the world. Nudity is mandatory if the weather is kind. You can play all year round on this 6-hole course, which is surrounded by rolling dunes and majestic pine trees. You don’t need to take your own equipment as you will find balls, tees, gloves and caps available for rent at the club house. Sun block is highly recommended and perhaps cameras should be left at the club house.
While these courses may not go head to head with the opulence offered by likes of St Andrews or Pebble Beach, as a talking point, they score top marks.