Golf is a refined and sophisticated sport, with origins dating back as far as the Romans according to some historians. Played with precision and meticulous strategy, the prestigious sport of golf – whilst competitive – can be a quiet, reflective and gentle-paced game. But here at Golf Escapes, we always like to let loose and have a bit of fun. Because golf doesn’t always have to be conventional; here are 13 of the wackiest, toughest and craziest golf holes and golf courses in the world.
1| Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa (Hole 19)
Although designed to be on the crazy side, Legend Golf in the Entabeni Safari Conservancy is one of the most respected golf courses in the world. Winner of the ‘Europe & Africa Property Awards’ in 2010 and Trip Advisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’ in 2013, this unique “world in one” signature course is a must-visit destination for all true golf enthusiasts. Featuring 18 holes which have been individually designed by a different golf legend and featuring the “Extreme 19th” (the highest and longest Par 3 in the world), a visit to the Legend Golf & Safari is truly special. The list of golf legends who have designed a hole include Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington, Bernard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Justin Rose just to name a few. The resort also offers a spa, botanical gardens, shops, a wildlife centre and the opportunity to go on a safari tour.
2| Pacifico Golf Course at Four Seasons, Mexico (Hole 3B)
Set amongst white sandy beaches and palm trees, this uniquely designed golf course is a true representation of a golfing paradise. With the dramatic Sierra Madre Mountains as your backdrop and gloriously hot weather, a visit to the Pacifico Golf Course in Punta Mita’s Four Seasons resort is nothing short of luxurious. The 200 acre golf course is designed by American golfer Jack Nicklaus (AKA “Golden Bear”) and you can either play the standard third hole or attempt 3B which gives you the chance to swing at the world’s only natural island green, otherwise known as “Tail of the Whale”. The hole cannot play less than 170 yards so it’s a challenge that you won’t forget. But whether you take the 3B challenge or not, the rest of the course which borders much of the Pacific Ocean is sure to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience with such spectacular sea views.
3| Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, Idaho U.S (Hole 14)
This beautiful golf course and resort is located in the lakeside city of Coeur d’Alene in the state of Idaho. The plush green fairways are lined with large pines and the incredible Lake Coeur d’Alene makes the entire experience sublime. Cited as “America’s most beautiful resort golf course” by Golf Digest and with some of the most lavish rooms and facilities, Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Resort really does feel exclusive. Along this flawlessly manicured course, the hole to look out for is the 14th Par-3 hole where your target is the famous floating green. This signature floating hole is the world’s one and only moving green and it can only be accessed by boat.
4| Carbrook Golf Club, Australia (Hole 15)
Queensland is one of Australia’s most energetic regions. With its subtropical climate and lively cities, it makes a fantastic all year round destination. The young and refreshing Carbrook Golf Club can be found in Queensland’s Logan City, in a suburb called Loganholme, and it was voted ‘Queensland Metropolitan Golf Club of the Year’ back in 2006. Just 3 decades old, the club doesn’t attempt to compete with the more established gold courses in the world, but it does promise a thrilling experience for golfers with a little bit of gumption. In true Aussie style, the course offers something slightly on the wild side to give the game an exciting edge. And what once started off as just a rumour has now materialised to be 100% genuine – with video evidence to prove it. If you’re not afraid of predators, this course is highly recommended but watch out for Hole 15 – or more specifically – watch out for the sharks swimming around in the water.
5| Skukuza Golf Course, South Africa (Hole 1)
Golfing with spectators isn’t for everyone; but here at South Africa’s Skukuza Golf Course set in Kruger National Park, you could attract a rather eclectic crowd of warthogs, baboons or even hippos. The animals are not fenced off so are free to roam around and create a whole new dimension to the game. Skukuza Golf Course is the only golf course located in the park itself, so golfers will have to learn to share the space with the interesting four-legged residents. As soon as you tee off, you may find some unexpected obstacles of all shapes and sizes; it’s a truly fun and exciting experience.
6| The Elfego Baca Shootout, New Mexico
With just one hole in this tournament, there’s a very clear line of winners and losers – and it’s mainly going to be losers. The Elfego Baca Shootout in Socorro is a novelty shootout game at over 7,000 feet above sea level. Novelty it may be but it’s certainly a test of skill and accuracy (and sometimes sheer luck) and few have been able to go home with prize in hand. The target is a 50 foot patch of dirt which is not only 3 miles from Socorro Peak where you’ll be swinging from but also more than 2,000 feet downhill. It sounds impossible –because it is – and unsurprisingly, no-one is yet to achieve the 1 shot win. With the scorecard only going up to 75, it’s been impossible to keep track of the worst scores in history. But we do know that the best score is 9.
7| Cape Kidnappers Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand (Hole 15)
New Zealand has some of the world’s most spectacular natural sights, and here at Hawke’s Bay on North Island’s east coast, golfers will feel at one with nature amidst the typical rugged landscapes. Although very well maintained, the raw and natural surroundings of Cape Kidnappers feel far from manicured. Designed by well-known golf architect Rom Doak, the Par 71 course stretches over 6,500 metres and proves a fantastic challenge for all golfers. The one to look out for along this incredible course is the Pirate’s Plank which is the 15th hole; be careful with the 140 metre cliff drop on your left and the deep cavern to your right. What’s more is the region itself is home to some of the country’s finest award winning wines, so you can treat yourself and your party to a wine tasting post-tournament.
8| Old Head Golf Links, Republic of Ireland (Hole 18)
The Par 4 18th hole on this picturesque golf course in Ireland has all the traits of a crazy miniature golf course; except it’s not miniature, and it is in fact a renowned course designed for some of the finest golfers and club members in the world. The lighthouse in the distance may resemble a life-size version of crazy golf but it’s very much a serious contest for those who are up to the challenge. From the tee, there are too many options and golfers can choose to play it safe by avoiding the cliff drop or take the hostile line and go over the gorge. All with the Celtic Sea as a backdrop, Old Head Links of Kinsale is set to be a scenic golf experience.
9| Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, Indiana U.S (Holes 7-10)
Designed by world famous architect Pete Dye, the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis in Indiana is one of the most bizarre courses on the planet. And it will certainly prove to be a unique challenge; not so much the difficulty of the holes themselves but more due to their outlandish locations. Whilst most of the holes run neatly along the Indianapolis Motor Racetrack, holes 7-10 go against all natural golf laws and are placed right in the middle of the speedway. As you have to actually step onto the track to play these holes, the course closing days have to coincide harmoniously with prestigious racing events to avoid any golf-meets-NASCAR disasters.
10| Nullarbor Links, Australia
Nullarbor Links is the longest golf course in the world, stretching over 800 miles across the Eyre Highway which links West Australia with South Australia across the Nullarbor Plain. The 18 hole 72 Par course is said to have an average of 40 miles between each hole, making it one of the wackiest courses on the planet. All the way from Kalgoorlie in Western Oz to the small town of Ceduna in Southern Oz, golfers will get to stop off at 18 different participating towns and cities. This ambitious course concept opened to the public in August 2009 and although surprising in every way – it is unsurprisingly Australian. If we can rely on anyone to be quirky, it’s definitely the Aussies. Worth a visit if you have the time to travel the 800+ miles. And quite the accolade to say you’ve played the world’s longest course. We’re talking crazy golf holes here of course, but you can take your pick here for one that would fit perfectly on the list!
11| Dunkerque Golf Course, France (Hole 3)
Dunkerque in Coudekerque Village of Northern France is an unusual golf course which attracts players of all levels and abilities. It’s renowned for being slightly bizarre due to its geometric shapes, which gives the course its rather curious and eccentric Nord-Pas-de-Calais style character. Much like the region itself which is home to a friendly people with eclectic influences from both France and Belgium, the course is somewhat outlandish. But this charm is all a part of the Northern French lifestyle, and the course is said to resemble a life-size version of a miniature crazy golf course. The entire golf course is a marvel to say the least – but perhaps the most interesting hole is the third which is placed onto a heart shaped green.
12| TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course, Florida U.S (Hole 17)
The Par 3 17th hole on the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Golf Course isn’t designed for sore losers. Claiming more 120,000 golf balls each year, the water surrounding this notoriously difficult hole doesn’t take any prisoners. In fact, it eats golf balls for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and your golf ball could be next. Home to the PLAYERS Championship and the prestigious Tournament Players Club, Sawgrass Stadium is one of the most famous courses in the world. Just 12 miles from Jacksonville, this challenging course is the creation of the one and only Pete Dye. And it’s purpose? To put pro golfers to the test like never before. The infamous 17th hole is said to have been the “maker or breaker” of pros who have frequented in the past. This course spells trouble for the inexperienced but if the water takes your ball hostage, you will still have the breath-taking Florida backdrop and hot weather as a consolation.
13| Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland
Carnoustie or “Car-nasty” as some may call it is a reputable golf course in Dundee, earning its nickname from the brutal North Sea coast which is a wild and rugged as you might expect in Scotland. During the 1999 Open Championship, world-renowned Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia was reduced to tears after a very, very tough play and finishing last. If it can make PGA players crumble, it sure will prove a challenge to the rest of us. Peppered with wretched pot punkers and hopelessly mired by the North Sea winds, there’s no hope once you hit the downhill spiral. The course is so outrageously tough in fact that any golfer suffering from miserable losses can be said to have the “Carnoustie effect”. Again, you can take your pick from the holes here for your portion of crazy, and you might just find a pro golfer huddled up in a bunker somewhere in tears suffering from the Carnoustie effect!
Here at Golf Escapes, we can help you book golf breaks in various world destinations including France, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Cyprus, Morocco, Bulgaria, the Canary Island or the UK. Use our quick golf holiday search online or call 01342 811 777.