Every golfer has a bucket list of courses they’d love to play before teeing off on this mortal coil for the final time. Pebble Beach, Augusta National, The Old Course at St. Andrews, Shinnecock Hills… Just some of the courses you’d expect to find on that list. However, there’s another list—a list of links that are sure to deliver anything but “been there, played that” golf memories. These courses are so extreme, that playing them might just hasten your earthly departure. But if you can choke back your fear, even just for a few holes, the world’s most dangerous courses beckon. In no particular order of potential bodily harm, they are:
PYONGYANG GOLF COURSE – Pyongyang, North Korea
Sure, Kim Jong Un is a couple of ants shy of a picnic, but if the little guy is a golf aficionado, he can’t be all bad, right? Pyongyang Golf Course remains open and playable at the Supreme Leader’s direction. Just be sure not to make any derogatory remarks if you miss a putt because you’ll likely become a target on the driving range. Make that the artillery range!
Situated along the banks of Taicheng Lake and emulating a Japanese design, the course was constructed in 1987 as a 75th birthday present honorarium to North Korea’s former leader Kim Il Sung. The 18-hole course has a par of 72 and is approximately 6,800 yards from the back tees. Greens fees are $150 and include a set of sketchy but playable rental clubs; attempting to bring your own sticks will get you accused of smuggling and you’ll be shot on sight—no Mulligans allowed.
Legend has it that Kim Jon Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, played the course only one time and carded an astonishing 34, a round that included eleven holes in one! Dennis Rodman, the former NBA bad boy turned societal nutbar, a close friend of the Kim family, claims the score is legit. Then again, Rodman believes he should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, so what does he know?
To arrange your North Korean golf odyssey, contact Uri Tours:
61 448 694 105
THE PETIONVILLE TENNIS & GOLF CLUB – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
While hurricanes, earthquakes, displaced refugees and the Chiméres—among the most notorious street gangs in the world, let alone the Caribbean—are just some of the “hazards” you might encounter when teeing it up at Haiti’s lone golf course, it’s that other issue that you really need to watch out for: zombies. Walkers. Rotters. The Walking Dead. Call ‘em what you will, Haiti is the birthplace of the Undead. And the absolute last thing you want to deal with when sizing up a birdie putt is becoming someone’s snack!
Reopened in May of 2016 (relax, all corpses have been removed), Petionville is a short (no par-5s), semi-private, tree-lined 9-hole, par-66 links that are open to the public for a pittance $30 per round.
For more information contact The Petionville Tennis & Golf Club:
KABUL GOLF CLUB – Qargha, Afghanistan
You know that feeling you get when you’re being watched? Now multiply the “pucker factor” that comes with that feeling by the understanding that if you are really being watched, it’s probably occurring through high-powered scope atop a sniper rifle! Welcome to the Kabul Golf Club.
Established in 1967, the 9-hole course (originally 6) has a rather depressing history, which includes multiple closures due to war, the execution of the head pro’s brother at the hands of the Taliban, and the occasional discovery of unexploded ordinance. But if you can stomach all that, you’ll enjoy Middle East desert golf at its finest—putting on brown-black greens (nicknamed “browns” courtesy of the mixture of sand and oil), being careful not to step on old landmines as you traipse through the rough, and being watched by a gallery that consists of AK-47-toting goat herders.
A single round will only set you back 750 Afghani ($15 USD), but if your covert CIA mission or Academi private security contract is going to keep you in the region for a while, it makes good financial sense to pay the 15,000 Afghani ($300 USD) and become a member.
For tee times or more info contact The Kabul Golf Club:
+93 79 902 9011
PRISON VIEW GOLF COURSE – Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola)
The brainchild of Warden Burl Cain, who built the course to encourage guards to spend weekends at Angola in case of emergency (riots, escape attempts, gang fights—the usual), Prison View is the only golf course in America located inside prison walls. (Williams Head Institution in Metchosin, British Columbia on Vancouver island, a small minimum-security facility housing mostly “white collar” criminals, has a six-hole golf course.)
Angola’s 9-hole, 6,000-yard, par 72 courses, utilize different tee boxes for the front and back nines, and greens fees are a minuscule $10. Tee times can be made a minimum of 48 hours in advance, and a complete background check is required. If you’ve got a prior felony conviction or are on the approved visitor list of any current inmates, you’ll have to take your game elsewhere.
Expect a search of your vehicle prior to entering the facility, and don’t be surprised if a cavity search is also required—contraband is a no-no at Angola, and I’m not talking about green repair tools or non-conforming drivers!
The largest maximum-security prison in the U.S., housing more than 6,300 inmates—many incarcerated for life—in the event of a riot where the convicts gain control of the prison, you’ll undoubtedly become a hostage and potential bargaining chip, not to mention a “plaything” for those prisoners who absolutely abhor golf.
For a tee time or more info contact the Prison View Pro Shop:
COMPTON PAR 3 GOLF COURSE – Compton, California
According to the City-Data Crime Index, Compton, CA scored a 498—that’s 1.8X greater than the national average, higher than 95.5% of all American cities. What does that mean for golfers? Well, if you’re looking to check the Compton Par 3 course off your bucket list, instead of a new Polo shirt you might be better off buying a Kevlar vest.
All kidding aside, the Compton Par 3 Course is actually fun little links (1,345 yards, par 27) that will give you ample opportunity to test your 9-iron and wedges. Designed by John Hilborn in 1958, considering the longest hole (the 9th) is just 150 yards from the back tee, even an average golfer can get by with just a few clubs.
Gang colors are not permitted attire, so if there are any Crips or Bloods out on the course when you’re there, you won’t be able to spot them. That said, if you find yourself on the receiving end of any “krazee eyez killa” stares, do yourself a favor and let them play through!
Current fees are—wait for it—$5 to $6 and reservations are accepted weeks in advance.
For more information, contact The Compton Par 3 Golf Course:
Hazards like sand traps, lakes, and streams pale in comparison to a complete lack of oxygen, an average temperature of 63 degrees below zero, and the remote but real possibility of encountering human being-hating space creatures, teeing it up on the Red Planet will without question win any game of My Golf Getaway Was Better Than Your Golf Getaway. Okay, so nobody has actually designed or built a golf course on Mars just yet—last I checked, it still hasn’t been explored by man, let alone colonized—but rest assured interplanetary travel is coming in the near future and golf will certainly follow. So if you can stomach the seven-month one-way trip, I strongly recommend giving it a whirl.
For more information on passage to Mars, contact Mars One:
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