Backpacking in so many obscure countries, it never fails to amaze me how often I see places advertised to play golf. Even bang in the city centre of Bangkok there’s a huge golf course, but it gets a lot more obscure than that. I was trying to sort out a visa for Iran and what do I see, bloody google ads for golf in Iran. So I decided to choose the 5 weirdest places you can play golf:
1) Kabul, Afghanistan.: Probably not high on the list of peoples countries they want to visit, but a golfing opportunity no less. The Kabul Golf Club is up by the Karga Dam and their 18 holes require you to play 9 wholes but twice! They have a grand total of 2 sets of clubs available for hire but in fairness, demand isn’t great so you’re luck will most likely be in.
Highlights of the course, after teeing off on the first hole, include a bombed-out army barracks, the lack of any fairways, greens that are actually black (made from a mixture of sand and oil) and a collapsing clubhouse with no walls. Green fees are about $10.
2) Pyongyang, North Korea: Never one to let their southern, golf-mad brothers out do them, the North Koreans have a full 18 hole golf course outside their capital. Amazingly, Kim Jong Il opened the course by shooting a ‘world record 38 under par on his first ever round of golf, including 11 hole-in-ones. Almost unbelievable. Almost.
3) Ushuaia, Argentina: The southernmost course in the world at 54.8 degrees south, just above Antarctica, this should have the title of coldest golf course in the world. It’s not exactly pretty but it will give you bragging rights over your golfing friends, that’s guaranteed. And while their tagline might have lost a bit in translation, it’s probably pretty apt “No sophistication, just nature!”
4) Uummannaq, Greenland: Home to the World Ice Golf Championships, the entire course is laid on gigantic icebergs and rounds of golf are played in subzero temperatures. The rules remain the same as regular golf although the course is a little shorter, the holes a little larger, the ball is orange and the green is white.
5) Mount Merapi, Indonesia: he Merapi Golf Course is one of the most unusual courses in the world. The course has breathtaking views and is one of only a handful of courses where golf is played next to an active volcano – although the course architects are yet to include lava hazards.
For any golfing fanatic, these 5 places should take up the next 5 to 10 years of your life planning a safe trip to. Should they be a little out of your comfort zone, check out http://www.golfnow.com for a few more accesible courses! Happy travels!