The best golf course designers are always looking for new ways to challenge themselves. From building courses on perilous cliffs overlooking the ocean to dealing with hilly, sandy terrain, and even the occasional swamp, building courses in unusual places is a great way to challenge their talent, vision, and ability. For avid golfers, these amazing, and sometimes strange courses present the opportunity to not only challenge their abilities but to see some places they otherwise may never have gone. From old mines to former hazardous waste sites, there are some unique and fun options.
- Brickyard Crossing, Indianapolis, IN: Since famed course designer Pete Dye is an Indianapolis native, who else would the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway go to when they decided to build a new course? Located at famous race track, The Brickyard Crossing has 4 holes located in the infield with the remaining holes surrounding the course. It is the only place where you may hear the roar of race engines while you are teeing up.
- Furnace Creek, Death Valley, CA: Death Valley may seem an odd place to put anything, let alone a golf course. While the summers there have temperatures that can hit a staggering 130 degrees, the weather in the winters is perfect for golfing. Furnace Creek also has the distinction of being the golf course at the lowest elevation in the U.S. at 214 feet below sea level.
- Tobacco Road, Sanford, NC: Located just outside of the famed Pinehurst Golf Course, Tobacco Road has been called the “golf equivalent of a cult movie”. With each tee, golfers are forced to decide between multiple strategies for navigating the sandy course. And all along the way, you get a history lesson in tobacco farming, with antique implements lining the greens.
- Old Works Golf Club, Anaconda, MT: A former Superfund cleanup site may also seem an odd place for a golf course but Old Works Golf Club is exactly that. Designed by Jack Nicklaus on the site of the former Anaconda copper mine, this is one of the first examples of how formerly useless ground can be turned into something beautiful, useful, and profitable.
- Fossil Trace, Golden, CO: Dinosaurs are a great theme for miniature golf, but could it work for a standard course? Fossil Trace has done exactly that. It is built on the site of an old clay mine but that is not the most unusual aspect of this course. It is also has many fossils in the landscape that have been highlighted by the design of the course and even Triceratops footprints.
- Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort, Coeur D’Alene, ID: For this unique golf course, packing extra balls will be a must, if only for the 14th This green of this par 3 hole is located on an actual island. Using an intricate system of cables, wenches and pulleys, the entire island can be moved as far out at 218 feet from the “main land”.
- Palmetto Hall Plantation, Hilton Head, South Carolina: Originally designed completely on a computer, Palmetto Hall Plantation was the first geometric golf course. The bunkers and fairways are all trapezoidal and the greens and tees are either square or rectangular. While the looks may be a little odd, it definitely offers a unique playing experience.