Golf courses, unlike swimming pools and basketball courts, are like snowflakes – no two are the same. Golf is a refined and sophisticated sport, and the golf course is prestigious and unique. And while many golf courses have similar holes, similar features, and trademark designs, some beg to differ.
Here are some of the golf courses with unique golf holes and unusual features:
1. Legend Golf & Safari Resort (Hole 19) – Limpopo, South Africa
Simply put, the extreme 19th hole in South Africa’s Legend Gold & Safari Resort isn’t for the faint of heart. To get to the tee box, you have to stand atop Hangklip Mountain by riding a helicopter. This golf resort is one of the most respected golf courses in the world. Hole 19 is the highest and the longest par 3 in the world. The tee shot is 400 meters above the ground, and on some 1,200 feet above your target is a green shaped like the African continent. The insane shot relates to the laws of physics and how the ball will travel on quite an extreme arc. The cost to play is steep, but the perks are real. Besides a helicopter ride back and forth, you can also get balls with tracking devices, since losing sight of golf balls in this height is pretty likely. Plus, the players who make a hole in one gets a prize worth over $1 million.
2. Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course (Hole 14) – Idaho, USA
This beautiful golf course and resort located in Idaho offers some of the prettiest mountain views you’ll ever see in a golf course. The whole golf course has a pretty traditional park-like fell, but the Par-3 14th hole is quite unique – it’s on an actual island green that can be moved as far as 218 yards through cables and winches. The golfers are brought to the putting surface through a ferry called “Putter.” The hole 14 is where your target is in this famous floating green. This floating hole is the world’s one and only moving green.
3. Brickyard Crossing Golf Course (Hole 7-10) – Indiana, USA
Designed by world-famous architect Pete Dye, the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course is one of the most bizarre golf courses on the planet. It features four holes inside the oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the hole of the Indy 500. While there are no cliffs or water involved, the design is pretty extreme. Its other regular holes are placed outside the track, along the backstretch. The holes 7 to 10 go against natural golf laws, as you actually need to step onto the track to play these holes.
4. TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course (Hole 17) – Florida, USA
Just 12 miles from Jacksonville, the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course is a challenging creation of Pete Dye. The famous par-3 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass is as extreme as the holes you can find on the PGA Tour. It’s basically do or die. It claims more than 120,000 golf balls a year, as the water surrounding this difficult hole doesn’t take any prisoners. The purpose of this notoriously tricky 17th hole is to put pro golfers to the test like never before. Even Tiger Woods says that this hole should not be one of the finishing holes in the PGA Tour because too much is left for chance. But even if the water takes your golf ball hostage, you will still have the breath-taking Florida backdrop to admire.
5. Pacifico Golf Course (Hole 3B) – Punta Mita, Mexico
Looking for a golf course set in paradise? The Pacifico Golf Course will stun you. Set among white sandy beaches and palm trees with the dramatic Sierra Madre mountains as your backdrop, this golf course is nothing but glamorous. American golfer Jack Nicklaus designed this course on the west coast of Mexico and laid out 19 holes. In this resort, you can either play in the regular third hole or go for hole 3B, which features the world’s only natural island green sitting in the Pacific Ocean. It’s also known as “Tail of the Whale.” During low tide, golfers can walk through a sandy path to get to the greens, but at high tides, it’s only accessible through an amphibious golf cart.
6. Cartbrook Golf Club (Hole 15) – Queensland, Australia
The refreshing Cartbrook Golf Club, found in Queensland’s Logan City, is voted as Queensland Metropolitan Golf Club of the Year in 2006. While it doesn’t compete with the more luxurious and established golf courses in the world, it promises golfers a thrilling experience. This course offers one of the wildest golf holes that give the game an exciting edge. If you ever get to play in this course, you might as well avoid Hole 15 because the green is surrounded by sharks swimming around in the lake. If you happen to lose your ball in the water, don’t bother to search for it.
7. Skukuza Golf Course (Hole 1) – Skukuza, South Africa
The Skukuza Golf Course is set right in the heart of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. This means you are playing in a safari full of warthogs, hippos, giraffes, baboons, and big cats. The animals aren’t fenced off, so they are free to roam around wherever they choose, adding some challenge to the game. As soon as you tee off, you can find some unexpected obstacles of all shapes. The Hole 1 has a difficult opening par 4 that’s going slightly downhill on the left. You have to create a good tee shot to approach the water hazard-surrounded green.
8. Old Head Golf Links (Hole 18) – Munster, Ireland
The par 4 18th hole in the picturesque Old Head Golf Links in Ireland doesn’t have the same wild features as some holes in this list, but it has all the traits of a crazy miniature golf course – except that it’s not miniature. Standing on the tee, it looks like a full-size mini golf hole with a view of a massive gorge, iconic lighthouse, and undulating topography. From the tee, golfers can choose to play it safe by avoiding the cliff drop or take the challenging option to go over the gorge. With your Celtic Sea as the backdrop, this golf course brings you a scenic and serene golf experience.
9. Dunkerque Golf Course (Hole 3) – Dunkerque, France
Located in Northern France, the Dunkerque Golf Course is an unusual golf course that attracts golfers of all levels and abilities. It’s famous for being slightly bizarre because of its geometric shapes, giving the course an eccentric character. It features walls of stones and wood, plus green walls and honeycomb turf partitions designed to evoke the Fort Vallières architecture. The entire course is said to resemble a life-sized mini-golf course. The most unique is the third green that is shaped like a heart and is surrounded by a blue lake.
10. El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Course (Hole 1) – Quintana Roa, Mexico
A bunker is one thing, but imagine hitting your golf ball into a cenote. A cenote is a deep natural well or sinkhole that’s formed by the collapse of surface limestone. The ancient Mayans sometimes used it for their sacrificial offerings. The name of the golf course came from chameleon because of its ever-changing challenges. Besides the cenotes, this golf course is filled with other hazards like sand dunes and mangroves that line the fairways. The very first hole can be found in the middle of the fairway.