Kangaroo Delays

Things were going well in the Australian Open at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, the climate was beautiful, Lydia Ko (as usual) was at her best and suddenly there was an invasion of seven-foot tall kangaroos.

Karrie Web was on the ninth hole when the mob of kangaroos moved through the fairway. She had no option than to wait till the animals hopped their way across the course. I’m sure in the meantime she would’ve tried to recollect what Rule 18-1 says, though there doesn’t seem to be a section on marsupials.

Click here to see the video version of the incident.

David Coulthard catches 178mph golf ball in Mercedes-Benz SLS

Some world records are more unusual than the rest. Here is one such effort made by Mercedes together with ex-Formula 1 star David Coulthard and pro-golfer Jake Shepherd – the furthest golf tee shot caught in a moving car.

This stunning attempt involving 571-hp Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster took place at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England, the same place where Top Gear is filmed. After the failed initial try, Jake struck neatly and the ball clocked at up to 178 mph during its trajectory which enabled it to travel 275 meters (902 feet) before it landed into the open cabin of the perfectly steered Mercedes by Legendary Coulthard.

“The only way to track the ball was to keep your eyes on it all the time,” Coulthard said. “It’s a real adrenaline rush but it’s not the most comfortable thing to do because for a moment, you’re not watching the road!” he adds.

The amazing feat was witnessed and judged independently by a Guinness World Record adjudicator who later confirmed the unbelievable achievement by giving the title of farthest golf shot caught in a moving car.

Well, if you want to try this out yourself, you will have to shell out £168,425 (~$273,000) for this powerful machine, but do keep in mind, the speeding ball may well damage your car, or the worst case, your face!

Magicians on the European Tour

Promo video for the European Tour with some amazing tricks (I’m still not sure how he catches that ball) but perhaps the most impressive one was hitting an approach off the back of the club to within 15 ft of the hole. (Click here if you don’t see the player below).

There have been magicians on the pro tour for some time – check out this highlight of Seve Ballasteros putting magic at a 1984 exhibition match. (Click Here if you don’t see the player below).

World’s most dangerous water hazard!

Members of Carbrook Golf Club in Brisbane, Australia, now have even more reason to be cautious about the water hazard on the 14th hole. Believed to be the only Shark-Infested golf course in the world, it has now become a common sight for golfers playing the hole to view these man-eating Sharks swimming near the edges of the lake, just off the fairway.

The killers, some up to 10 feet long, are thought to have washed into the lake during a flood in the early 90s when the nearby Logan river burst its bank. Not all reactions have been negative – As club GM Scott Wagstaff said, “You can’t believe how close you are…just six feet away, “There’s no drama, it’s become a positive thing for the golf course. They are amazing. I’ve become a shark-lover since working here.” The club presently hosts a monthly tournament called the Shark Lake Challenge.

Newsman golfs across Detroit to explore his city

Last month Fox’s Charlie LeDuff took on an epic challenge to play golf from the tips of Detroit – literally, an 18-mile, par 3168, single hole stretching from one end of the city to another. Besides smacking a driver down highway 75 this unusual expedition had an underlying purpose: an attempt to learn more about the city and the day-to-day living of its citizens.

The 46 year old Pulitzer Prize winning writer carried just 4 clubs in his bag while facing extraordinary hazards, abandoned houses, dying landmarks and grassy fields. On his trek through Detroit he learned more about the troubles facing city residents as they struggled to get by, including a mom trying to find her suicidal daughter, an unhappy cop, and a generous deacon.

LeDuff didn’t opt for a caddie (though he did have a crew with him) and took no mulligans – Detroit rules are to play it as it lies. By the time he holed out his final putt at the Belle Island Golf Club, LeDuff counted 2525 strokes (an astonishing 643 under par). You can watch this great piece of golf/journalism below:

I’m thinking back to what I saw behind me – a city, its people holding on, waiting for a savior, a savior who may not be coming. I wonder if the people know the savior might be found within themselves, their neighborhoods, their families. The old saying is true, ‘No man is an island’

– Charlie LeDuff

Golfing at the Top of the World

Most people relate Himalayas with trekking, yoga retreats or rejuvenation. But the mountain ranges also offers some of world’s most stunning golf courses and these surprisingly comes at an affordable price.

Himalayan Golf Course – Pokhara, Nepal

Fresh water straight from the Himalayan glaciers, puffy clouds sailing calmly across the sky beneath the snow capped cliffs, birds twittering and chirping creating a melodious setting, the blossom of flowers and their aroma that spreads across mountain fields – with all these picturesque and serene surrounding lies the Himalayan Golf Club, Nepal. Considered to be one of the most exotic golf courses on the planet, the Himalayan Golf Club is located minutes away from downtown Pokhara, which is also the gateway to the 5 mile high Annapurna range.

Belying most expectations, Pokhara is blessed with a pleasant climate and year-round golf. Winters are mild with clear visibility, while the summers boast average temperatures of 81°F (27°C), though late afternoon showers produce cool evenings.

The course was designed and constructed by an Ex British Army Officer, Major RB Gurung MBE, inside a sweeping canyon created by the Himalayan snowed waters of the Bijayapur river. What was previously desolate wasteland of river boulders and swamps is now a 6,900 yards (your ball flies far at these altitudes) par 73 golfing heaven. The course itself has 11 greens for 9-holes (now being upgraded to a 18 holes) and with multiple tees allows for a different experience on the front and back.

Hole 5 - The Signature Island Hole

The signature fifth hole here is known to be the only natural river island hole in the whole world. As well as the vibrant foliage makes the Himalayan Golf Club one of the greenest golf courses in the world, attracting a large number of cattle and buffalo which in turn provides most of the mowing on the course. 

As the venue for the Nepal Surya Western Open for the past twelve years, the course has been featured in many international magazines including the ‘Golf World’, movies and travel films. Definitely a must play, but watch out for the yaks grazing on the fourth hole.

Teeing off at the terminal

Finally, a solution to stressful and boring airport delays: a golf course at the terminal. Next time your business or vacation trip takes you through Hong Kong International Airport, stop by SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course, conveniently located outside one of the terminals. The nine-hole course has all the amenities of your country club back home, including floodlights at night and even a hole in the middle of a lake. Travelling light? You can rent everything you need to play a good game, like shoes, clubs, and caddies.

The Nine Eagles Course is a architectural feat. Not only designed to challenge, built it was also built to be eco-friendly and beautiful. The course achieves USGA standard with its gently rolling hills and abundant bunkering. It is made up of seven Par 3 holes and two Par 4 holes fit for beginners, experts, and everybody in between. The clubhouse brings together what you would expect at your club at home, including a pro-shop and changing room, with a taste of Asia. Enjoy traditional Thai fare by eating outside to savor both the tastes and views of the East.

Sold on this one of a kind travel experience? It’s affordable too. Playing Nine Holes (just enough time on a medium layover) will cost you US$50 on weekdays and US$70 on weekends.

Colf: What Golf looked like over 700 years ago

While a lot has been recorded about Scotland and the history of golf, but long before St. Andrews existed a more primitive form of golf emerged in present-day Netherlands and Flanders in the 13th century. Colf, as it was called, was played with wooden clubs and balls.

The game was not played on an actual course, but was played in the streets, churchyards, and open fields. However, this sometimes resulted in the breaking of windows and the hitting of innocent bystanders. When this became a major issue, the game was banned from the towns and relegated to open fields.

The rules of the game are largely unknown, but a lot can be garnered from dutch paintings of the time. It was probably a team game with one target. The target could be a tree, a post, or even a hole, and the goal was to reach it in the fewest number of strokes.

In the 16th and 17th century, the Little Ice Age forced colvers to play on small frozen bodies of water. The colf ice fields were very crowded, so the nature of the game evolved from a distance oriented game to a more target oriented one. The conditions of colf during this time required specialized equipment, like Scottish cleeks and leather balls.

Ancient Golf

The popularity of colf dropped off by the end of the 17th century, and it was replaced by a French game called, jeu de mail (a bit like indoor croquet), and the indoor game of kolf. Kolf was a hybrid of jeu de mail and colf, and it is still played in one region of the Netherlands today.

The Home of Golf

St. Andrews, located in Scotland is widely credited as the birth place of golf, with the game dating back to 1400 AD. Though it is believed that stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, is clearly originated in Scotland. The word golf, or in Scots language gouf, is usually thought to be a Scots alteration of Dutch “colf” or “colve” meaning “stick, “club”, “bat”.

St. Andrews has seven courses – the Old Course, Castle, New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum and Balgove course. They all are magnificent, but the Old course stand far ahead of all because of its long history that dates back to 1552 (though no evidence is available when exactly the 1st round was played).

To win at St. Andrews is the Ultimate – Tiger woods

When the British Open is in Scotland, there’s something special about it. And when it’s at St. Andrews, it’s even greater – Jack Nicklaus

The more I studied the Old Course, the more I loved it; and the more I loved it, the more I studied it – Bobby Jones

The Old Course originally had just 12 holes, but 10 of them were played twice for a total of 22 holes in a round of golf. That changed over the centuries until 18 holes became the standard at St. Andrews in the 1760s, and then not surprisingly that became the standard around the world. Designed by “Mother Nature” herself (the groundskeepers don’t even water the grass on the course, rather just mow it) the Old Course may not be the longest or the most difficult course but its’ charm and the atmosphere that surrounds it makes it truly special.

Each and every year, thousands of golfers make the pilgrimage to St Andrews in the hope of playing the Old Course. Being public, anyone can play on the St Andrews Old Course but you must have a handicap.  For men, their handicap cannot exceed 24, for women it is 36. Don’t have a handicap yet? Sign up for one here. You wouldn’t want to miss out checking this one off your bucket list!

5 Truly Interesting Island Greens

1. TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach

Designed by Pete Dye, the par-3, 132-yard 17th of TPC Sawgrass, known simply as the “Island Green” is one of the most intimidating holes on the PGA tour. In addition to being almost entirely surrounded by water, the undulating green has earned the badge of ruining rounds for many of the best golfers on the tour (In 2007, a record 50 shots fell into the water in one round).

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