25 Unconventional, Different & Strange Golf Courses
Anyone who loves and appreciates the game of golf has created a bucket list of courses they want to play. Many have courses like Pebble Beach, Augusta, or Pinehurst #2, but here are some unconventionally awesome courses to add to the list.
25. Bay Harbor (Quarry)
One of three courses at Bay Harbor, Quarry’s 40 foot gorges and stone cliffs, makes this one of the world’s most unique 9-hole courses. Golfweek Magazine says, “Bay Harbor Golf Club is one of the most picturesque golf sites in the country … it may be America’s most diverse collection of holes.”
24. Chambers Bay Golf Course
Primed to be the venue for the 2015 US Open, this course is filled with many distinct features including the shared fairway between 1 & 18. Definitely want to try “Free Fall”, the par 4 with a 80 foot drop that offers two possible greens. Finally, the 18th that plays along a wall of concrete structures, which remain from its time as a gravel mine.
23. Whistling Straits
Designed to look like Ireland, Pete Dye had quite the project considering the canvas he had to work with – a former army base. Dye had to remove concrete bunkers, an airstrip as well as underground fuel storage tanks to make the course playable. Boom goes the dynamite! Since then, the course successfully hosted two PGA Championships and one US Senior Open. It is set to host the PGA Championship in 2015 and Ryder Cup in 2020.
22. Shadow Creek Golf Course
One of the most luxurious golfing experiences available, this is a highly rated course designed by Tom Fazio. This course is unconventional because it started out as a desert wasteland. At the time Shadow Creek was built, it was the most expensive course ever built. To make this possible, over 20,000 mature trees had to be transplanted, elevation had to be changed by over 200 feet and streams and other water features needed to be created.
21. El Camaleón at the Fairmont Mayakoba
Time to take a drop if your ball goes in there. This course gets its name from the chameleon because of its ever-changing challenges. This course is filled with hazards like sand dunes and mangroves that line the fairways, cenotes (subterranean caves) with names like “The Devil’s Mouth”, and beautiful lagoons.
Forget your typical Florida golf course. Streamsong was built on an old phosphate mining operation that produced a 2,000 acre pile of sand. Over time, dunes were formed and grass began to grow, making this course feel like a piece of the Scottish coast.
19. Old Works Golf Club
The track is built on the old Anaconda Copper Mine, which was one of the EPA’s largest Superfund cleanup sites. Jack Nicklaus incorporated elements from the mine. He used a byproduct of copper smelting to frame the bunkers and included the smelter, oven, and flue into the design.
18. Fossil Trace
Make sure you can clear those boulders. Designer Jim Engh left old rusty pieces of equipment alongside many of the holes. Footprints left by dinosaurs on holes 11 through 15, make this former clay mine quite unusual.
17. Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort
Pack extra balls for this one. Overall, this course has a pretty traditional park-like feel. That is until you get to the par-3 14th hole, which is one of the most unforgettable par-3s on the planet. It is an actual island green that can be moved as far as 218 yards through a system of cables and winches. Golfers head over to the 15,000 square-foot putting surface by ferry.
16. Le Touessrok Golf Course
If you have ever dreamed of playing in paradise, Le Touessrok is probably exactly what you pictured. Golf World Magazine calls it “A Top 10 Golf Course in the World”. Le Touessrok is an 18-hole course on its own island, across the water from the mainland resort.
15. La Jenny
Naturist golfers can feel free with a round at La Jenny. Said to be the only place in Europe where the sport is practiced in a naturist setting, golfers play the 6-hole course (4 par 3, 2 par 4). Would be concerned about a full body sun burn.
14. Furnace Creek Golf Course
Located in Death Valley, Furnace Creek is 214 feet below sea level, making it the lowest altitude golf course in the world. In the peak of summer, temperatures can reach 130 degrees. A course to be played in winter, unless you want the full experience of dangerously hot temperatures.
13. Royal Colombo Golf Club
For the most part, this is a typical golf course located in a beautiful suburb outside the city of Colombo. This course is unique in the fact that it has train tracks that cross over four holes. Some golfers may not enjoy loud trains, packed with a screaming audience, as they try and make an important putt.
12. Palmetto Hall Plantation (Robert Cupp Course)
The first geometric golf course of its kind, featuring trapezoidal-based bunkers and fairways, along with square/rectangular tees and greens. Originally designed on the computer, the results make a unique golfing experience.
11. Brickyard Crossing
Nothing can be said other than that this course plays in and around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. ‘Murica!
10. Don Mueang International Airport Golf Course
Noise cancelling headphones? Check. The owners of this airport decided to capitalize on the extra space and place an 18-hole course right beside the tarmac. Can only imagine how loud it would be to play on this course, but guests seem to love the unique placement.
9. Prison View Golf Club
This is probably the only golf course where a background check is needed in order to book a tee time. The Louisiana State Penitentiary Employee Recreation Committee operates this 9-hole golf course. Before starting a round, it should be noted that play may be suspended at any time, due to institutional need or at the Warden’s discretion. Confusion arises when you talk about “shanking” with the guards.
8. The Opal Fields Golf Club
Well, this course doesn’t have the outrageous costs one would expect to have to keep a desert course green. That is because they don’t keep it green. This famous 18-hole par-72 course is one big sand trap. The grassless fairways create a lot of roll and the oiled sand greens create a surprisingly smooth putt.
7. Nullarbor Links
Golf for days! Meet the world’s longest golf course. An average round of golf on your typical course will last about four hours, a round on Nullarbor lasts about four days. Measured to be 848 miles long, the course spans two time zones with plenty of service stations and accommodations along the way.
6. Himalayan Golf Club
One of the most unique golf courses based on its mountainous view. Along with that golfers can expect plenty of wildlife as they play off 70 foot elevated hillside tees, an island fairway, and a canyon amphitheater layout.
5. Firestone Overseas Golf Club
This 9-hole course is on the Firestone Rubber Plantation, just outside Monrovia, Liberia. It costs way too much to maintain a course you’d find in North America, so their fairways are treated like roughs and they do not have greens. The greens are actually called “browns” at this course, a combination of sand, oil and iron ore.
4. Merapi Golf Course
Ever dream of playing a round at the base of an active volcano? Well now you can! Smoke can be seen emerging from Mount Merapi three hundred plus days a year. Smaller eruptions happen approximately every two to three years, and larger ones about ten to fifteen years. With eruptions happening in 2006 and 2010, we won’t be visiting very soon.
3. Uummannaq Greenland
If you find yourself getting a lot of back sweat from the heat on the course, playing on a giant iceberg with an orange ball could be better suited for you. Uummannaq is actually the home of the World Ice Golf Championships, its a thing. The rules are pretty much the same as your standard game of golf, except you the holes are a little shorter, the cups are larger, and everything is frozen.
2. Camp Bonifas
The most dangerous course on the planet has to be Camp Bonifas. This single-hole course, near a military base in North Korea, is a 192 yard par-3 beside one of the most fortified borders in the world. Did we mention that the green is surrounded on three sides by minefields?
1. Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort
The picture says it all. Accessible by helicopter, the tee shot 400m above the ground on Hanglip Mountain is breathtaking. Pro golfers and celebrities come from around the world for a chance at making the toughest par-3 on the planet. Padraig Harrington was the first to get par, many others have since followed.
Any unusually awesome courses on your bucket list?