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.

These guys are good – part 2

Following up on our Every Shot Imaginable post, the European Tour has come out with a new promo video, this time defending Scotland against imaginary pirates.

Every play “hit the target” on the golf range? Well, it’s a bit like that, except you are aiming for the 3 foot mouth of a barrel, bobbing in a dinghy 150+ yards out to sea in high winds.

These guys are good.

Northern Ireland – A Golfing Wonderland

Northern Ireland has a population of less than two million people – roughtly the same number of people as Nebraska – and covers the same amount of land as Connecticut. But this tiny place has produced three major champions in the past 13 months. With Darren Clarke’s recent victory at Royal St. George, Northern Ireland has garnered the attention of the golfing world. So, how does Northern Ireland do it?

When McIlroy tweeted his congratulations to Clarke, he added: “Northern Ireland…Golf Capital of the world!!” The credit goes not just to the golfers but also to the links they play. The courses at Newcastle and Portrush are listed two of the best in the world. Throw in Royal County Down, and a number of others and you easily have a golf trip that will be remembered for a long time. With the win at Royal St. George, Clarke has moved to No. 30 in the world rankings (ranked 111th before championship) giving Northern Ireland three of the top-30 players in the world..

We have fantastic golf courses, we have fantastic facilities. But to have three major champions from a little small place in a short period of time, it’s just incredible

– Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open Champion)

After Darren Clarke’s astounding Open win and Rory McIlroy’s mesmerizing triumph at the US Open, Tourism Ireland has pumped in £1.8m promotional campaign to bring thousands of golf fans to Northern Ireland. “The time is now right to bring a major international golf tournament to Northern Ireland,” Arlene Foster, the NI tourism minister said. “Golfers spend more money than normal visitors,” Clair Balmer from Tourism Ireland said. “They spend an average of £400 per day, whereas a normal visitor spends about £37 per day. It’s that high end which would be really great for us to have.” If the campaign goes well, it is believed to bring an astonishing £ 80M to the North Ireland Economy.

North Korea has its first ever golf tournament

This April North Korea held it’s first ever amateur golf tournament (for foreigners only). The organizers were swamped with applications from Korea, Japan, and the US. Over 200 golfers applied for 30 spots in the tournament.

The tournament was be held at the Pyongyang Golf Complex (18-hole par 72), the only course in the country open to North Koreans. British businessman Richard Shears was one of the players. He writes about his experience:

When the day came for the golf tournament, fortified by a breakfast of pickled cabbage and sauteed pork, we set out in groups for the first tee. There, we were amazed to find we’d been provided with a number of attractive young Korean women dressed in formal blue and white uniforms who would serve as our caddies.

The fairways were like light rough and extremely narrow. By the end of the day, I had been left way down the field – in spite of the attempts by my caddy, Miss Nim, to suggest in her very limited English what club I should use on each hole.
And as I missed each easy putt, she smiled sweetly and clapped politely.

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It’s Tee Time in India!

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In a country where the definition of sport is one and only Cricket, India is seeing a rise in the popularity of Golf. Driven by the country’s economic boom, which has produced a 300 million strong middle-class, Callaway forecasts that India’s potential golf market will grow at a rate of 25 to 30 percent over the next few years, compared to 2 to 3 percent in the U.S.

Unlike the traditional golf market which is mainly targeted at an older population,  golf in India is generating huge interest among the young, especially those from middle and upper-income families who can afford to take lessons. Continue reading