The only thing more boring than a game of golf is a steaming pot of brown whole grain rice, and even that is a close call. Over the past few years, we've learned there are two ways to make golf interesting: One involves lightsaber golf clubs and the other involves injecting some homicidal golf courses into the game. Since lightsaber technology is, conservatively, six years away, this list is about the latter.
Sports Illustrated called the Camp Bonifas golf course the world's most dangerous "golf course," and as a site that specializes in making lists and dick jokes, we're comfortable deferring to SI on anything vaguely sports-related. What makes this golf course so dangerous? For one thing, it's straddled right between a U.S./South Korea Army base and the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It resides in a small village that is directly in between the North and South Koreans who, it should be remembered, are not fond of each other. Though their war is over, the Washington Post reports that South Koreans have been "living with the very real danger of another North Korean invasion for a generation," so the atmosphere of Bonifas, an area surrounded by ready-and-willing soldiers, is understandably tense.
"Oh yeah? Well we can stare at you through binoculars twice as hard."
But that's not even the most dangerous aspect of the course, and neither are the machine gun nests or razor wires that surround it. It's because, the one-hole course is square in the middle of an active minefield.
You'll notice no one is rushing on over to retrieve their ball.
Why build a course here, let alone play on it? Why, to piss off the North Koreans (a traditionally reserved and mild-tempered bunch), of course. The camp was the home of several skirmishes since the 1950s and once it became demilitarized, the course was built in 1972 and named after a U.S. soldier killed in the line of duty near the course. Since then, American and South Korean soldiers, and civilian tourists, have played the course to combat the taunts of North Korean soldiers that are within earshot.
"Let Freedom swing! That joke was terrible, but man, freedom is the best."
You can't even get to the course without passing through an area surrounded by North Korean soldiers, armed and watching your every move. Visitors are encouraged to not make eye contact with the soldiers and everyone who wants to vacation at this hip golf murder resort is required to sign a waiver, which acknowledges "serious injury or death" as distinct possibilities on your trip. (In case you're still on the fence about where you should vacation this year, death-by-landmine, we should point out, almost never happens in Disneyland.)
While risking your life to observe your awesome, awesome freedom in front of furious North Korean soldiers is fun and all, there is very real danger on the course. Clubs, balls, hats and other personal objects are routinely misplaced on the mine riddled fairway, and cannot be taken back without the possibility of an explosion. And, at least once, a ball was teed off and actually detonated a mine.
On this Indonesian golf course, views of distant forests and farms and an impressive mountain dominate the course. Except the mountain is pretty close. And sometimes smoke comes out of it. And maybe lava. And if it starts to shake, you might be forced to evacuate in the middle of your game.
(The Merapi Golf Club sits right next to an active volcano, in case that wasn't clear.)
No, that's not worrying at all.
The Volcano, Mt. Merapi, isn't one of those "she'll blow any day now" volcanoes either. It's one of those "Oh crap, it's erupting again! Save the children!!!" types. Since the mid 1990s, it has erupted three times, most recently in October 2010 when ash and lava flows killed over 350 people. So why the hell would people want to golf here?
Via The Jakarta Globe
Also, why is she smiling about this? And who would pause to take a picture of a child fleeing a volcano?!
According to the resort's web site, "Mount Merapi Golf Course is a scenic haven for golfers and sightseers alike. Located on the slope of Indonesia's most active volcano, it's also a cool escape at an altitude of about 1,000 meters." People come here to golf because of how pretty it looks and the low heat, fully knowing that the temperature and scenery can drastically change within a few minutes from "gorgeous and comfortable" to "terrifying and killing me."
Via Leonard Adam
This. This happens. Do not golf here.
Despite being only five miles from the crater, golf is still actively played here, with emergency warning systems all around the course in case of another big one -- which, remember, could happen at any time. When humanity eventually becomes extinct and the aliens explore Earth, the geological record showing that we used to recreationally play a boring, shitty, white-people-sport under the gaze of a regularly-erupting volcano is probably going to be one of our most embarrassing.
At Uummannaq Golf Course in Greenland, it's not the cold that will kill you; it's the hypothermia. Home of the World Snow Golf Championships since 1997, the Uummannaq Golf Course is known as the most northern golf course in the world.
Greenland is also home to vast expanses of nothing
If you like a little variety in your golf game, you'll love Uummannaq (right up until the minute it kills you). The course changes every year because the snow and ice are constantly shifting, because it's played on a freaking glacier. Orange balls are used instead of white to find them better in the snow. And no one uses graphite clubs, because the cold temperatures can actually snap them in half. And instead of playing in golf shirts and visors, players wear snow pants and jackets. And instead of screaming "Four!" golfers quietly freeze to death.
Via World Ice Golf Championship Committee, Greenland
"No, Steve. This is way better than Jamaica. Who could possibly prefer Pina Coladas and sunshine to a terrible frozen death?"
Uummannaq is less about playing a good game of golf and more about surviving a miserable game of "Don't ask me what the score is, I'm just trying not to die." To combat the temperatures, which can go as low as holy shit 30 below, players have to stay in groups, wear thermal clothes and, like Bonifas, sign a waiver clearing the course of any wrongdoing if the player dies.
Via World Ice Golf Championship Committee, Greenland
Having acknowledged the extreme likelihood of your death, enjoy your terribly uncomfortable, rushed round of golf.
Despite the danger, snow golf continues to grow in popularity as an "extreme" sport, catering to that very rare demographic of people who think "golf sure is quiet and relaxing, but I think I'd like it a lot more if I could die at literally any moment." Players who are that perfect combination of bored and stupid that they think a sport is only worthwhile if there's a real danger involved. Why not just play at a prison?