So who says golf can’t be extreme? If you’ve seen our past 2 articles (and I’d better warn you that there are likely to be more in the pipeline) you, too, might be revising your opinion of golf and golfers… here’s the last 4 of the 8 most extreme golf courses in the world…
Ushuaia Golf Club, Argentina.
This is the world’s sourthernmost golf course and the tmeperatures reflect this. Ushuaia has a maritime subantarctic climate. Temperatures average 1 °C (33 °F) in the coldest month, and 9 °C (48 °F) in the warmest month. The record low is −20 °C (−4 °F) (July), and record high 31 °C (87.8 °F) (December). The record low ever recorded in summer is −6 °C (21 °F) (February). It is a short, difficult and windy 9-holes links course. From October to April, days are longer and one can play between 6 AM and 10 PM. It is not a championship course. It is different. Created in 1992, the first 9 holes of the Ushuaia Golf Course are located at the door of the Lapataia National Natural Park nearby the ancient convict train station on the steep hills along a mountain stream, el Rio Pipo. Between snow-topped mountains and the cold waters of the Beagle Channel, the course ambles from the steep slopes, over the small tumultuous river and back up and down the hill again. There is a touch of the wild Scottish Highlands here. The holes are short but not straight with narrow fairways, small greens near the stream and the ever-present winds. There is no sophistication, just a lovely natural place with a warm welcome at the club house.
North Cape Golf Club, Norway.
And once again from once extreme to the other – from the southern-most course to the northern-most one… this course is 280m north of the Arctic Circle. The typical golfing season in Norway ranges from early May until the snow comes (mid/late November). Golfing in many locations is possible twenty four hours a day between the middle of May until the end of July. A golfer’s paradise? or a non-golfer’s nightmare! This is not a challenging golf course, with its 6-hole course, 2 par 4’s and 4 par 3’s and quantities of mud, but it has one lovely oddity – with the Arctic Circle Norwegians having little sense of territory, and obviously a great sense of sportsmanship, if the ball lands in one of the unfenced gardens that border the course, you are allowed to lob it back into play! Although North Cape is on the list of 8 most extreme golf courses, it is now no longer the most northern -most. It has been superceded by Hammerfest Golf Course – also Norway.
Ko’olau Golf Club, Hawaii.
This is reputably the toughest golf course in the world. Carved out of the topical rainforest on the windward side of the 2,000-foot Ko’olau Ridge mountain range, Ko’olau encompasses three distinct climate zones and features winding ravines, extreme elevation changes, and breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls – all on one golf course!. Situated on eastern Oahu, the rugged landscape of this tropical jungle course uses ravines as the target for holes and boasts lush vegetation and huge sand bunkers. The course was built in 1991 as a private Country Club for the high rollers, located just over the Pali Highway from Honolulu. You can’t beat this golf course for beautz. It has breathtaking mountain views, spectacular fiarwazs surrounded by rainforest, and dramatic sights of the Pacific Ocean. The rule of thumb here is to bring the same number of balls as your handicap. The 18th hole has two carries over a giant ravine – both the drive and the approach shot… you have been warned!
And last, but not least, the world’s oldest and most famous course: Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland.
If there is a single course in the entire world that most golfers aspire to play just once in their lifetime, it is the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland – a course like no other and an experience like no other. Golf has been played on the Links at St Andrews since around 1400 AD and the Old Course is renowned throughout the world as the Home of Golf. Golf was clearly becoming popular in the middle ages, as the game was banned in 1457 by King James II of Scotland who felt it was distracting young men from archery practice. This ban was repeated by succeeding monarchs until James IV threw in the towel and in 1502 became a golfer himself. As the 600 year history of the Links has unfolded, one simple track hacked through the bushes and heather has developed into six, and now seven with the new Castle Course open, public golf courses, attracting hundreds of thousands of golfing pilgrims from around the globe. St Andrews Links is the largest golfing complex in Europe and all 18 hole courses can be booked in advance. In 1764 the Old Course consisted of 22 holes, 11 out and 11 back, with golfers playing to the same hole going out and in, except for the 11th and 22nd holes. The golfers decided that the first four holes, and therefore also the last four holes, were too short and that they should be made into two holes instead of four. This reduced the number of holes in the round from 22 to 18, and that is how today’s standard round of golf was created.