The World’s Wildest Golf Courses
Since the dawn of organized assembly, meeting planners have set about their task by first asking a question more suited to F&B: Will that be with or without golf?
So widespread and synonymous has Scotland’s addictive “good walk spoilt” become with conference and convention-goers that the presence of nearby links is now considered pro forma. Family-friendly attractions in well-known meeting mainstays may take center stage, but we know where we’ll find senior management once business is concluded.
Which is kind of amazing considering that, with rare exceptions (the 2015 U.S. Open at the decidedly rustic Chambers Bay Golf Course in Tacoma, WA comes to mind), most destination golf courses are as buttoned-up, tidy and uniform as the (mostly) white collar gentlemen who play them.
Want to chip your next golf incentive trip out of the sand trap of the predictable? Here are seven one-of-a-kind courses you’ve got to tee to believe!
Royal Thimphu Golf Course, Bhutan
Located at 7,700 feet in the Himalayas, this 9-hole wonder, the only public golf course in this tiny country nestled between India and China, is arguably the world’s most remote course. Although your ball travels 8 percent farther at this altitude, the bent grass fairways and jaw-dropping mountain views make your chances of reaching par slim at best.
Kantarat Golf Course, Bangkok, Thailand
Most golfers have felt backed up like planes on a runway at one time or another. The difference at Kantarat? The runway is real. This 18-hole, par 72 beauty sits precariously between the busy east and west runways of Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, where the roar of takeoffs and landings provide ample excuses for duffed drives and fudged putts.
Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Limpopo, South Africa
Sightseers love Legend for the safaris, but golfers include it on their bucket list specifically to take on its Extreme 19th Hole, the longest par-3 on earth. Get this: you take a helicopter to reach the tee, some 1,300 feet up Hanglip Mountain. It’s so high that it takes 20 seconds for your drive to hit the postage-stamp green shaped like the African continent. Irish pro and two-time British Open champion Padraig Harrington became the first person to par this monster in 2008. See it here.
La Jenny Golf Course, Le Porge, France
You can safely forget more than your golf towel at La Jenny, which features golf without the game-stifling encumbrance of clothing. That’s right: this naturist resort on the Atlantic features four par 3s and two par 4s, an expansive driving range and private lessons for individuals and groups, all clothing optional.
You’ll be forgiven if you freeze up on your backswing at Uummannaq in northwestern Greenland, home to the world’s only golf course located on an iceberg. After all, with temperatures that plunge to -20 degrees F, the only hole you’re likely to par here is the 19th.
Merapi Golf Course, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
How often do you get a chance to golf at the foot of an active volcano, right? This popular, well-groomed course with its rugged volcanic accents and ideal climate offers one of the most scenic, albeit potentially explosive, rounds of golf on the planet.
Nullarbor Links, Kalgoorie, Australia
Nullarbor bills itself as the world’s longest golf course for good reason. This 18-hole, par 72 journey spans nearly 850 miles and includes holes in 15 participating towns and roadhouses along Eyre Highway between Kalgoorie in western Australia to Ceduna in the south. I’d go with a driver. Really.
Photo credits: Uummannaq, Greenland by Gary M Prior/Allsport. Courtesy Legend Golf & Safari Resort. Australia’s Nullarbor Links, Flickr.