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Travel bucket list ideas:

Last updated: 11 January, 2023

A round of golf can be so much more than just eighteen holes on pristine greens; over the last twenty years, course designers have grown increasingly ambitious, and new technology means that golf courses can now be found everywhere from the sun-baked plains of Death Valley to windswept sand dunes and mountain plateaus.

Whether you want to tee off besides a glittering ocean, surrounded by towering peaks, or play on ‘whites’ – a course of frozen ice and snow in Greenland – golf expert, journalist and avid player Fionn Davenport recommends fifteen of the world’s most extraordinary and unusual courses to pay at least once in your lifetime.

Table of Contents

Arikikapakapa Rotorua Golf Club

Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand

One of New Zealand’s most memorable courses, built on a unique landscape of geothermal activity. Course features include geysers, hot springs and bubbling pools of mud (bunkers you won’t get out of).

Best for ages: 13+ | £50

Bear’s Best

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America (USA)

A tribute to Jack Nicklaus, this public course just outside Las Vegas has 18 holes that are all replicas of those he has designed in other locations, from Arizona to California and Mexico. As close to playing golf in the desert as you can get.

Best for ages: 13+ | £100

El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Club

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Designed by Greg Norman, the course weaves its way through dense jungle, beautiful stretches of white sand and mangrove forests, with cenotes – natural sink holes – and water canals providing natural hazards.

Best for ages: 13+ | £125

Furnace Creek Golf Club

Death Valley National Park, California, United States of America (USA)

The lowest golf course in the world (214 feet below sea level) is also the hottest (130°F in summer) – a course to play in the winter months. The low elevation and barometric pressure make the ball do unexpected things.

Best for ages: 13+ | £55

Himalayan Golf Course

Pokhara, Nepal

No manicured greens or smooth fairways, but a setting that’s absolutely breathtaking; framed by the towering Annapurna massif and set alongside a deep canyon, with each ball rising and falling along the valley contours.

Best for ages: 13+ | £6

Ile Aux Cerfs

Trou d’Eau Douce, Mauritius

The epitome of a golfing idyll – a course set on its own private island in the middle of a tropical lagoon on the east coast of Mauritius. Designed by golf legend Bernhard Langer.

Best for ages: 13+ | £125

La Jenny

Le Porge, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

La Jenny has only six holes – each is played three times to make the full eighteen – but it’s real claim to fame is as the world’s first golf course for naturists. Apart from no clothes, all other normal golf rules apply.

Best for ages: 18+ | £25

La Paz Golf Club

La Paz, Pedro Domingo Murillo Province, Bolivia

A golf course two miles in the air, La Paz is not just the world’s highest course, but a beautifully manicured one too, carved into a dramatic lunar-like landscape.

Best for ages: 13+ | £45

Legend Golf & Safari Resort

Sterkrivier, Limpopo, South Africa

Africa’s longest course set in a 50,000-acre game reserve, with each hole designed by a different golfer. Most unique is the legendary additional 19th hole, reachable only by helicopter.

Best for ages: 13+ | £240

Leopard Creek Country Club

Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa

This Gary Player-designed course is challenging enough, but it’s the spectators that make it really special – snoozing lions, groups of giraffes and crocodiles brooding in the lake.

Best for ages: 13+ | £200

Merapi Golf Course

Cangkringan, Java, Indonesia

Laid out on the slopes of one of the island’s most active volcanoes, Gunung Merapi, fairways wend their way over ancient lava tracks and there are repeat views of the spectacular volcanic slopes.

Best for ages: 13+ | £18

Skukuza Golf Course

Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa

The only course inside the Kruger National Park, Skukuza’s nine holes are not fenced in, meaning you may get a lion strolling across the green, or an audience of warthogs, baboons or even the odd hippo.

Best for ages: 13+ | £20

Uummannaq Golf Course

Uummannaq Island, Greenland, Denmark

350 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the greens at Uummannaq have been re-named ‘whites’ – shots are played on a frozen course of snow and ice. Seal dens, cravasses and even polar bears are possible hazards, and players are given tips on spotting the early signs of frostbite.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free