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Those of us who love the game of golf would probably find an excuse to play just about anywhere but there are certain courses around the world that get our golfing juices flowing more than others. Whether it is Turnberry in Scotland, Pebble Beach in the USA or Sunningdale in England there are a select few courses that really get us going. What makes these courses so much more desirable than others? Is it the sense of history attached to many of them? Is it the location? The overall layout? While these are all important factors, quite often it comes down to a single hole that will live long in the memory. Not many holes can capture the imagination quite like an island green par 3 so we have selected five of the best from around the world…you can decide which one you want to play on your next golf break!
17th Hole – Stadium Course – TPC Sawgrass – USA
The 17th at Sawgrass is perhaps the most famous hole in the world of golf and year after year it serves up drama and excitement at the Players Championship, seen by many as the game’s fifth major. Although the hole only measures 137 yards it has the ability to strike fear into the world’s best players thanks to the wind that swirls around the green that is, needless to say, completely surrounded by water. There is no bail out at this gem of a par 3!
Hole 3B – Pacifico Course – Punta Mita – Mexico
Also known as the ‘Tail of the Whale’, this stunning par 3 may not be the most well known of holes but it is easily good enough to make it onto this list! The tee shot is played from just off a white sandy beach out to the green that sits on a rocky outcrop connected to the land by the thinnest sliver of land imaginable. Only accessible via a six wheeled amphibious golf cart at low tide, this is the only natural island green in the world today. At the very least taking a dip to find a lost ball here is altogether more appealing than in the murky, alligator and snapping turtle infested water surrounding the 17th at Sawgrass!
Although all of the holes on this list are classified as island green holes this is the only true island green on the list, meaning it really can’t be accessed any other way than via a boat or a quick swim with your putter! The green was built on a huge barge and sits just off the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The hole is truly spectacular and is if building an island green par 3 wasn’t exciting enough for the designers, the green can be moved thanks to a series of underwater cables meaning the hole can play to any yardage between a mildly intimidating flick with a wedge right up to an unfathomable 275 yards! Be sure to pack plenty of floating golf balls if you want to make it off this tee before sundown!
The Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket is the premier golf resort on the island and perhaps in the whole of Thailand. It boasts two fantastic courses; the Lakes and the Canyon. The Canyon is the tougher of the two and as such it was picked to host the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1994; a tournament where a young Tiger Woods was one of the main attractions. The entire course is a beauty but arriving on the 14th tee brings a sense of excitement that only an island green par 3 can muster. With a yardage just shy of 200 yards from the back tees and a significant elevation change this hole is a really tough nut to crack; throw in the vibrant tropical flowers and a bit of sunshine and this is surely one of the finest par 3s in the world today.
Mission Hills in China may just have a rightful claim to be the best golf resort in the world. Set in a magical setting in Shenzhen, the resort not only boasts multiple world class clubhouses and a mind boggling array of facilities but no less than twelve championship golf courses as well. The courses were designed by leading architects and legendary players including the likes of Jumbo Ozaki, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Greg Norman and Sir Nick Faldo. Faldo’s course boasts the only island green in the region and it is every bit as spectacular as the others on this list. This hole is very much like the more famous 17th at Sawgrass, albeit in a much more spectacular setting, and is just one of many highlights to be found at Mission Hills.
For information on USA golf holidays and other top golf break destinations please visit www.yourgolftravel.com or call free on 0800 043 6644.