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Holes I've Played

DOWN UNDER // The first and 18th holes at Portsalon in Donegal, Ireland, play over a curious feature – a road that was dug down 15 feet into the combined fairway then covered with a steel grate. Leaving the tee, you walk right over the road with cars whizzing below you. If your ball comes to rest on the grate, by the rules of golf you can elect to play it as it lies. Where else would you play a shot as a car passes under your ball?

BOMBS AWAY // Bunkers along the 18th hole at Sunningdale’s Old Course in Wentworth, England, were “installed” by Luftwaffe bombs dropped during World War II. The craters were simply filled with sand and play continues, mostly unchanged, to this day.

WORTH THE PRICE // Cold towels and a shoulder massage after your round by your female caddie at Blue Canyon in Thailand will cost a little more than lunch at McDonald’s.
periscope up // The starter at Elie near St. Andrews, Scotland, uses an actual World War II submarine periscope (pictured, left) to make sure the blind opening fairway is clear before he allows the next group to tee off.

ROMAN CONQUEST // During construction at Kingsbarns in Fife, Scotland, developers excavated a 2,000-year-old Roman road. They exposed it, made it a drainage canal and routed the 18th hole over it. You pass over the road on a footbridge to the 18th green.

MATCH PLAY // San Francisco Golf Club’s seventh tee was the site of California’s last true legal duel fought in 1859 between Senator David Broderick who fatally lost to California Supreme Court Justice David Terry.

HAZARD-OUS // The Coeur d’Alene Resort course in Idaho boasts two oddities. Everybody knows of the resort’s unique floating, adjustable 14th green. But did you also know that the site was once a hazardous waste Superfund site?

ROOMS WITH A VIEW // The developer of Bull’s Bay in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, wanted a clubhouse with a view. The problem is there is no high ground in the Lowcountry. No problem. He instructed architect Mike Stranz to build a mountain and put not only the clubhouse on top, but also both the ninth and 18th greens. Two million cubic yards of dirt later, the owner got just what he wanted.

EVERYWHERE A SIGN // New South Wales Golf Club outside of Sydney, Australia, has a plaque along the first fairway that warns players to be careful looking in the brush for lost balls as “eight out of 10 of the most deadly snakes in the world live in Australia.”

EVERYWHERE ANOTHER SIGN // At Leopard Creek’s in South Africa, the first tee has a sign listing the dates and locations on the course where leopards have recently been sighted. It’s updated every few days. In that same part of the world, the spectacular Lost City boasts a par 3 called the croc pit. The pit’s denizens can grow to 15 feet long. Retrieving balls short of this green is ill advised.

WALLABY GALLERY // It is not usual, but is also not rare to play the eighth at Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania while being watched by dozens of wallabies.

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