If you get a chance to play a round or two on these courses, you’ll have seen it all. Here are our top picks for the 20 weirdest golf courses around the globe.
1. Arctic Links
This is an 18-hole, par 71 course in the Arctic Circle region of northern Finland. Large changes in altitude will surprise you. Strangest of all? The 24-hour summer daylight affords golfers to play all day and night.
2. Michael Hills Course
This is a highly-ranked members course located in Arrowtown, New Zealand. It doubles-up as an impressive sculpture park, with a phenomenal collection of permanent works scattered throughout the course, including the expansive “Wolves Are Coming,” a three-ton cast-iron sculpture near the 18th hole consisting of a warrior battling off 110 over-sized wolves. Unusual? Yes! Your camera won’t stay in your bag for long.
3. St Andrews Ladies Putting Club
This club is host to one of the weirdest “golf” experiences in the world. Founded in 1867, it oversees a nine-hole flat layout (for the inexperienced) and the revered 18-hole challenge, the “Himalayas Course,” which sits alongside the 2nd fairway of The Old Course.
4. Nullarbor Links
The course is renowned for being the longest in the world. Its weirdness stems from its location in the vast Nullarbor Desert, which links western and eastern Australia. You’ll need more than a range finder to assist you here – more like a vehicle GPS!
5. Himalayan Golf Course
This course at the foot of the Himalayas in Nepal boasts the most spectacular views. Playing on top of the world may require altitude sickness medication just to survive the conditions and play amongst the clouds.
6. Rio Olympic Course
This course hosted the first Olympic golf event in 112 years, with players constantly surprised by the on-course residents. The capybaras are large munching rodents (the size of small Labradors) that burrow underground and make cameo appearances all over the course. Boa constrictors and three-toed sloths also frequent this course.
7. Davis Golf Links
This course in Antarctica is probably the most extreme of all. Situated at the Davis Base Station, the layout demands the use of brightly colored balls for this pristine environment.
8. Kingarrock Hickory Golf
This course is right “out there.” Patrons have the option of donning Plus Fours from their extensive costume collection and must conquer the nine-hole Scottish course with replica hickory clubs. Boasting its own professional, this is an authentic golfing time warp.
9. Dent Island
This course adjoins Hamilton Island resort, located on the edge of The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This island is just the golf course and nothing more. You need to grab your clubs and catch a ferry there and back. Enjoy the 360-degree views from this picturesque, if isolated, golf course.
10. Camp Bonifas
This is a curious Par 3 hole located in the UN Joint Security Area between North and South Korea. The AstroTurf green is entirely surrounded by land mines. It is considered to be the most hazardous hole in the world — mishit your shot onto a land mine and you’ll be left with an explosive response!
11. Denarau Golf Club
This club in Fiji boasts weird tidal hazards. It can be a challenge to play this course regularly, to correct earlier mistakes or play a hole differently. The shifting tide can have you playing out of a bunker one day and then taking relief from water the next — from the same spot!
12. Lost City
This course is one of many South African courses that combine a safari expedition with golf. Zebras, crocodiles, impala and giraffes may cross your path at any given time.
13. The Lost Farm
This course in the remote northeast corner of Tasmania, Australia. It is the only “Top 100” course in the world that has 20 holes — all playable in the one round! Holes 13a and 18a are two exciting Par 3s that no sane golfer would ever walk past. Ranked #23 in the world by U.S. Golf Digest and #72 in the world by U.S. Golf Magazine, this Coore and Crenshaw-designed course attains the “weird” badge for its extra holes in play.
14. Streamsong Resort
This course in Florida is a refreshingly odd experience. It is difficult to find — so remote, in fact, that you’ll triple-check the map to believe that the course is really located where it is. Upon arrival, the moonscape is a stunning, regenerated mining operation, which you are reminded of at every turn. Its two courses are rated the best public access complex in Florida, and Golf Magazine ranks the Red Course 10th in the U.S.
15. The Amazon Golf Course
This course located in Peru needs little explanation. The remote nine-hole course is surrounded by terrifying “locals” in the Amazonian jungle, so get your Tarzan suit on and add this to your “whacky” course list. There’s no need to bring your own machete, as the starter supplies one!
16. Formby Ladies’ Golf Club
This ladies-only club and course, founded in 1896, is not far from the grand Open courses of Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, and Royal Liverpool. While visitors are welcome, this links course staunchly remains an all-female club.
17. Whistling Straights
This course, home to PGA Championships, U.S. Opens and host for the 2020 Ryder Cup would be a sensational experience for all of us… but be prepared for the sand traps. Surely a course with 1,000 bunkers qualifies as weird!
18. Shillong Course
This course in India is the wettest golf course in the world. Water and golf are not great bedfellows — so if you’re keen on playing here, then pack an umbrella. The 18-hole course, originally a colonial outpost, is located in the world’s highest rainfall region.
19. La Jenny
This course in Bordeaux, France is one of a kind. This nudist (or “naturalist”) golf course has a teaching pro so you can buff up your game. It also has practice facilities for your long game with complimentary sun cream!
20. Faldo Course
Finally, if you’re still hankering for more weird, get yourself to Dubai and play the Faldo Course. This championship course is open everyday until midnight, with the floodlit experience enabling you to escape blistering daytime temperatures.
— Nancy Incoll