Golf is often known as one of those refined, sophisticated, country club goer-type of sports. But we’re here to tell you, golf doesn’t always have to be as conventional as its made out to be. There are plenty of funky, offbeat, yet super challenging golf courses, with crazy hard holes all throughout the globe. These golf courses still demand an intense level of precision and strategy, but you can leave those Vineyard Vines pink and green collared shirts at home. On these courses, everyone will be looking at your swing, not your level of preppiness.
But a golf course isn’t just a whole; it’s the sum of its parts — which, when it comes to golf, means it’s all about the holes. All of these cool, exciting golf courses earned their spot on this list not only for their overarching features and location, but also for the unique holes they offer. For each destination, we spotlight the best hole at the course so you won’t miss out on the hype of an optimal hole-in-one experience. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
There are some exceptional golf courses out there. While most of these destinations require a passport, the international flight will be well worth it. If golfing is a passion of yours, it’s time to pack your bags and explore the very best golf courses — and holes — that the world has to offer.
Cape Kidnappers, Hole 15 — photo by Jacob Sjoman
Hole 15 | New Zealand
New Zealand in general is known to host some of the world’s most spectacular views. Hawke’s Bay on the North Island’s east coast is no exception. The rugged coastline and moody beaches throughout the course are guaranteed to make you feel like you’re one with nature.
All the holes on this course offer some seriously beautiful sights. While it’s really hard to pick favorites with this course, hole 15 ultimately, takes the cake. Picture this: a 460-foot cliff drop to your left and a deep cave on your right. What else could you ask for?
Photo provided by Golf Bluegreen Dunkerque
Golf Bluegreen Dunkerque Course
Hole 4 | France
Dunkerque Golf Course is located in northern France. It’s a bizarre course that attracts players from all over the world. It’s a 27-hole course that offers panoramic views of the surrounding French countryside; even non-golf lovers would find this golf course captivating. Add a nice bottle of champagne and a hot baguette and you’ll never want to golf anywhere else.
The shapes within the course are known to be quite unique, which is why we love hole 4, (more on that below). The quirky landscape is meant to resemble the eccentric lifestyle of the region itself.
An Ace of Spades that jets out into the water, hole 4 offers golfers a challenge with its breathtaking and distracting looks alone.
Carbrook Golf Club
Hole 15 | Australia
The Carbrook Golf Club is located in Queensland, commonly known as one of the most vibrant regions in all of Australia. The weather is fantastic year-round, making for some ideal golfing conditions. This course is relatively new (just three decades old), but provides a wild and thrilling experience, just as the Aussies like it.
In fact, the lake surrounding the course is home to 12 bull sharks, each rumored to be around 10-feet in length. Sounds a little scary, but who doesn’t love a round a golf with some sharks watching over you in the distance?
Hole 15 takes this shark thing to a whole new level. This hole is literally in the middle of the lake. So to get a hole-in-one, your ball has to overcome a seriously cool challenge: sharks.
The Elfego Baca Shootout
This one is not necessarily your run-of-the-mill golf course. It’s more like a shootout 7,000 feet above sea level.
Your target hole is three miles from the peak on a 50-foot patch of dirt. Sounds impossible, right? Maybe, but it also sounds like a lot of fun. Only a few golfers have gone home with the grand-prize — a hole-in-one (hundred). No one has gotten the one-shot win quite yet, with the best score so far standing at nine tries.
Legend Golf and Safari Resort
Hole 19 | South Africa
If you’re the kind of person that watches the Masters every year, I’m sure you’ve heard of this course. It’s iconic, one of the world’s most renowned courses.
Each hole within the course has been designed by a different golfing legend, including Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Trevor Immelman and many more. This is the kind of course golfers dream about.
The Legend Golf and Safari Resort has been nicknamed Home of the Extreme 19th. The extreme 19th hole features the highest and longest Par 3 in the world. So, that pretty much explains why this hole is the best. This course, and hole 19 more specifically, is truly something special.