We sometimes call our favourite sport ‘crazy golf’ because of the eccentric things often found in it: fantasy themes, wild angles, impossible obstacles. It also has its fair share of colourful characters wielding putters. But here are some golf courses that make minigolf and minigolfers look decidedly sane. These golf courses can kill you. Welcome to the most dangerous golf courses in the world.
- Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Yes, it’s a golf course in the middle of a national park full of terrifyingly dangerous wild animals. The big five are all there: lions, cape buffalo, leopards, hippos and rhinos. Warthogs and baboons might also invade the fairway. You’d be forgiven if your swing was a little nervous. It must be hard to keep your eye on the ball as you scan your surroundings for lethal predators. An indemnity form must be completed before playing. That way if you become a lion’s lunch, the park won’t be held responsible. And we worry about water hazards. That’s not a hazard, mate – THIS is a hazard!
Oh yes, there are crocodiles too. One golfer was eaten by a croc as he was diving for golf balls in a lake feature.
The park advise booking early to avoid disappointment. We advise never booking at all to avoid devourment.
2. Furnace Creek Golf Course, Death Valley
Golf balls have been known to melt here. It’s just silly. The hottest place on Earth needs 24/7 irrigation, and the players need it too. Temperatures can reach 135 Fahrenheit/57 Celsius. Visitors and players are frequently rescued due to dehydration. They held a ‘Heatstroke Open’ in 2011. It’s not a golf course, it’s an oven. Don’t go there.
3. Camp Bonifas, Demilitarised Zone, Korean Peninsula
There might be only one hole, but the Camp Bonifas ‘course’ makes up for it with hazards. It is lined with live land mines, and at least once a golf shot has set one off. If your ball rolls out of bounds, you are NOT going to go and get it. Camp Bonifas was named after Captain Arthur G. Bonifas, a United Nations soldier who was murdered with an axe by North Korean soldiers in a dispute over pruning a poplar tree. The hole is played with North Korean soldiers watching through binoculars from only a few hundred yards away. Korean tigers also make the occasional appearance just to add some spice, as if any were needed.
4. Merapi Golf Course
A live and frequently erupting volcano is a feature of this course in Java. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia. A 2010 eruption killed 353 people, pyroclastic flows wiped out villages and the golf course was covered in burning ash. Still, you can probably play at night by the glow of the bulging lava dome.
Sometimes golfers are more dangerous to themselves than their surroundings. In 1994, 16-year-old Jeremy Brenno was killed by his own golf club. While playing the sixth hole at Kingsboro Golf Club, Brenno, disgusted with a drive, threw his No.3 wood at a bench. It snapped and bounced back at him, and the jagged end of the shaft pierced his heart, killing him. So don’t throw clubs at hard, unyielding things if you have a tantrum.