So I started golfing this summer. If you can call it that. I'm still in the "pathetically hitting buckets while eight-year-olds laugh at me" stage, not even close to the "let's play the back nine and have a few drinks" stage. Yeah, I'm nowhere near actually playing a game, let alone playing any of these. But maybe they are something to aspire to, at least some of them. Here are 10 of the most unique golf courses in the world.
2. Kabul Golf Club, Kabul, Afghanistan. The greens are brown (even nearly black), but that doesn't stop people from playing. Originally opened in 1967, the Kabul Golf Club has had a spotty history ever since. It closed in 1978 because it was considered a symbol of Western capitalism, but reopened in 2004. Since it was used as a military training site during those non-golfing decades, it had to be swept for landmines before anyone could play on it again. I'd still be a little wary about playing on it, personally!
3. Mosul, Iraq. It may not be there anymore, but in 2004, some homesick soldiers made a makeshift hole using an antenna and an oil rag as a flag. It was so popular that five more holes were added and the impromptu Mosul golf course was born.
7. Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California. It's the lowest golf course in the world at 218 feet below sea level, and you're definitely going to want to bring something to keep yourself cool: summer temperatures can exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. They used to close the place during the summer, turning it over to a cattle rancher and letting his sheep keep their fairways tended. But now it's available year-round in case you really feel like breaking a good sweat. Oh, and you have to watch out for the coyotes that are prone to wandering onto the course. There's also the Devil's Golf Course in Death Valley, but you won't be able to play it "“ it's just a large salt pan that made weird salt crystal formations. It was nicknamed in a 1934 guide book that claimed "Only the Devil could play golf" on its surface.
9. Golf Merapi, Mount Merapi, Indonesia. On the day in 1994 when the construction started on this course, Mount Merapi volcano erupted. It's a mere five miles away, so this could have been a cause for concern. It was a minor affair, though, and locals saw it as a blessing from the Gods. The Sultan calls it his home course, and it is said that it never rains when he plays. Another eruption did occur in 2006, big enough to send golfers scurrying for home. "That is the risk of putting a club here," the owner casually said.