Of all the hobbies that travelers can avidly enjoy (besides traveling), golf is a pretty good fit. Sure, it can be kind of a hassle to lug your clubs on trips (as well as a little pricey), but it’s not unusual and it’s a lot easier than checking a kayak or bringing woodworking tools on your vacation.
If you think about it, hitting the links is also a great way to experience a destination: you’re outside, taking in the surroundings; meeting and playing with others who are passionate about the same sport as you are (if you’re feeling social); and partaking in a local version of what golfer Arnold Palmer once described as “deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.”
It’s kind of why the concept of a “golf trip” exists. So with that in mind, here are five of the coolest and most unique golf courses that you can travel to and play around the world.
If you’re a fan of golfing and auto racing, then playing a round at Indianapolis
‘s Brickyard Crossing
should be on your bucket list. That’s because it shares space with the most famous auto race track in the world — the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — with four holes actually located within the tracks’ oval. Unfortunately, you can’t play during the major races, like the Indy 500, but the track will still be used plenty for practice and tourists while you fit in 18 holes. So be prepared to play to sounds of revving engines and screeching tires.
Prison View Golf Course
Possibly a little divisive among golfing fans, depending on their views of the American penal system, Prison View is the only golf course in the world that’s maintained by prison inmates. It sits on the grounds of the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary, AKA “The Alcatraz of the South,” in Angola, Louisiana
and the course is maintained by convicted criminals serving out their sentences. As such, the rules are a little bit different — all vehicles are searched, no alcohol is allowed, and play can be suspended at any time.
Tornio Golf Club
Also known as the “Green Zone,” Tornio Golf Club
is the only course in the world that spans two countries, with seven holes in Finland
and eleven in Sweden. It’s also home to the longest hole via time because the border for a time zone cuts through the sixth green. But the absolute coolest thing about Torino is the fact that, during the mid-summer, the sun shines all day and thus allows for 24 hours of play!
Gulmarg Golf Club
Located in India‘s Baramula District in one of its northern-most states, the Gulmerg Golf Club has been a golfer’s dream for over 100 years, when British soldiers first built a 6-hole course there at the turn of the 20th century. It’s current incarnation, which was launched after a redesign in 2012, sits at an altitude of over 3,500 meters (making it one of the highest golf courses in the world) and is the longest golf course in India.
Any experienced golfer will tell you that it’s not uncommon to see some wildlife while playing a round — a squirrel here, a duck there, maybe even a deer — but Leopard Creek
in Malelane, South Africa
is on a whole other level. Located along the southern border of South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park, golfers have been known to spots all sort of iconic African animals wandering onto the fairway and swimming in the water hazards, including crocodiles, hippos, antelopes, and elephants.
Are you an avid traveler with a golfing addiction? Think we missed a particularly awesome course? Let us know in the comments section below!