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Way, Way Off the Beaten Path: Top Nine Undiscovered Golf Locations

By Shawn Nicholls,

Tired of playing the same old golf course at the same old location? Well, perhaps, it is time for a drastic change, something to spice up your golf life a little bit.

We sympathize with those out for an adventurous 18 holes in the most exotic of places, so we have come up with a list of nine surprising golf locations, including the absurd and the ones that are just a really far way away.

This week we'll look at the first three, with the rest to come in the following weeks.

1. Greenland

The country with the ultimate misnomer of a name sounds like a great golf destination, but is in fact a snowy, icy abyss. But that does not stop people from around the world from migrating to Greenland every March for the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championship.

Uummannaq is the host city. About 600 kilometers from the Artic Circle, the city is home to 2,700 people, a lot of snow, and infinitely blue skies.

What makes things even more interesting in a round of ice golf, which was first developed in the 17th century, is that the course changes every year, depending on the formation of the icebergs from the seven area glaciers during the blistery winter. From there it is a nine-hole, four round tournament, sure to test the patience and sense of humor of any type of golfer.

"I guess there are moments in an event such as this when it is all down to sheer luck," said Roger Beames, this year's tournament champion. "It's not your usual round of golf that's for sure, but it's probably the most amazing one."

Perhaps there is a use for that yellow golf ball after all.

For more information on Greenland and the tournament visit www.greenland-guide.gl/icegolf/default.htm

2. Thailand

Water makes any golfer nervous. Just the thought plunking one down in a lake or creek to the right of a tee box is enough to send a shot as far left as possible. That's the effect that peaceful liquid can do.

Well, how does playing a course with a waterfall in it sound? Intrigued? If so, then the Bangkok Golf Club is a must visit. The 18-hole championship course is rated among the best in Thailand, and the amenities and accommodations are superior. Also immaculate are the training facilities, which includes a covered range to protect golfers from bad weather.

A lighted par-3 course gives even the weary, jet-lagged traveler a chance to get a round in at their own timetable. And this isn't just another run of the mill chip and putt nine, as each hole is a replica of some of the most famous in the world, from Pebble Beach to Augusta to St. Andrews.

As for the championship course, almost every hole is protected in some shape or form by a body of water. But these aren't your usual water hazards. In addition to a tricky island green, there is an island tee box, which is guaranteed to make even the most confident of golfers a little bit nervous. The 18th at the Bangkok Golf Club has long been ranked as one of the 500 best holes in the world, and there is that tricky waterfall hole that has everyone raving.

For more information on the Bangkok Golf Club, visit www.golf.th.com

3. Argentina

Just a short trip away from the Tierra del Fuego National Park, a.k.a Fireland National Park, sits the Ushuaia Golf Club. A relatively straightforward track, few holes are protected by one body of water, but it is dangerous trees and tricky winds that pose the most problems. Visually, spectacular mountain ranges are visible in the background.

The course, which opened in 1992, is playable from about September to April, and for several months, it stays daylight until close to midnight, making an after dinner round of golf a definite possibility.

What makes this course so noteworthy is that if you have somehow managed to find the time to make it all the way down to Argentina and visit Ushuaia, you have officially run out of land, as this track is the southernmost course in the world, which should make the $40 weekly greens fees well worth it.

For more information on Ushuaia, call (02901) 432946.

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