The last major championship of 2012 is just around the corner with the PGA Championship being played out over the devilishly difficult Ocean Course at Kiawah Island next week. The Ocean Course is always a tough test thanks to the stiff breeze that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean, endless areas of natural wasteland bordering the pristine fairways as well as tricky greens, water hazards and countless bunkers but this year the world’s best players will also have to contend with a monster yardage that is just shy of 7,700 yards!
This mammoth figure got us thinking about other supersized golf facts. From the world’s longest golf course to the longest putt ever holed, we at Your Golf Travel have sniffed out the biggest things in golf and here they are…
Longest Par 3
Although we at Your Golf Travel think the emergence of par 3s in excess of 200 yards is ridiculous considering the challenge posed by short classics such as the 111 yard 14th at Doonbeg, the famous 17th at Sawgrass and the 12th at Augusta, there are a few par 3s that are so long that walking off with a 3 on the card would be a story to tell the grandchildren! The longest in the world may also be the coolest hole in the world.
The Extreme 19th at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort weighs in as the longest par 3 in golf.
Only accessible by helicopter, the tee for the Extreme 19th at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort is a whopping 1,400 feet above the green while the hole measures 310 yards horizontally from tee to green. A driver is required by even the best players and even of you hit the giant Africa-shaped green, twp putting is no easy feat!
The record holder for the world’s longest golf hole is the par 7 7th at the Satsuki Golf Club in Sano, Japan. While traditional courses longest holes are mere par 5s that measure in and around 500 to 600 yards, this monster hole covers a back breaking 964 yards! While the longer hitters out there would enjoy the challenge of reaching the green in 3 or 4 shots, those struggling with their game may well run up a hideously high score on this one!
Bunkers are the mortal enemy of many a high handicapper who may not understand fully just how to escape one, let alone hit it close enough to bag a sandy save. My father for example, may as well write “shot limit reached” on his card if his ball winds up in a sandy grave! Pine Valley’s Hell’s Half Acre then, would be probably be his biggest golfing nightmare! Considering an acre measures 43,560 square feet we can only assume this mammoth bunker sprawls across over 20,000 square feet…plenty of space for my old man to get into double figures in bunker shots hit!
Hell’s Half Acre is the largest bunker in the world and the bain of many a high handicappers existence!
Pine Valley is also home to another devilish bunker known affectionately as The Devil’s A*****e which is so deep and so difficult to escape that one golfer once reportedly took 38 attempts to free his ball. You may be thinking this guy must have been a bit if a hacker but he had just completed the entire front nine in 4 shots less!
In the past couple of decades golf courses around the world have become longer and longer as golf club and ball technology advances, allowing golfers of all abilities to hit the ball further. Courses such as Rockliffe Hall, The Players Club and The Dukes Course, all of which are in the UK, now measure in excess of 7,500 yards from the tips but that is nothing compared to the longest golf course in the world. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in China stretches to a whopping 8,548 yards and features holes such as a par 5 that measures 711 yards, two more that are over 68-0 yards, a 525 yard par 4 and a 270 yard par 3. Short hitters need not apply!
The old adage “Drive for show and putt for Dough” rings true for most amateur golfers and certainly for the lucky sods who have been blessed with enough talent to play their trade on the professional golf tours. Two putts is what we all realistically aim for on every green we reach in regulation but that is not such a straight forward task, especially when your ball ends up on the world’s largest putting surface! While a number of the shared greens on the age old links courses in Scotland are pretty big, the World’s Largest Green is that of the 695-yard, 5th hole; a par 6 at the International Golf Club in Massachusetts, with an area in excess of 28,000 square feet. If we were to assume that the green is perfectly round you could be left with putts in excess of 160 feet! Now THAT is 3 putt territory!
The Mission Hills Resort in China may not be home to the world’s longest course, the world’s largest green or the world’s deepest bunker, but it does boast an incredible 12 golf courses, not to mention a number of luxurious 5* hotels and endless leisure facilities that ensure golfers travelling to this amazing resort are never short of something to do away from the course.
Mission Hills is home to 12 oustanding golf courses including the course above, designed by legendary instructor, David Leadbetter.
The 12 golf courses include 11 championship courses and an 18 hole par 3 course. The championship courses have been designed by leading lights in golf including the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and LPGA legend, Annika Sorrenstam. Whatever you fancy, there is sure to be a golf course at Mission Hills that suits your taste!
Biggest Water Hazard
While this probably wouldn’t be considered as a water hazard by most, there are a fair few golf courses that run alongside this huge body of water and we are sure there are plenty of golfer who have hit wild enough shots to have lost their ball in here.
Cape Kidnappers is one of many top class golf courses where the Pacific Ocean comes into play.
With a surface area of 64,000,000 square miles, a depth of 35,797 feet and a total volume of approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometres, the Pacific Ocean, which comes into play on courses from ranging from Pebble Beach and Bandon Dunes in the USA to Cape Kidnappers and Royal Melbourne in New Zealand and Australia respectively, easily qualifies as the largest water hazard in golf.
Highest Golf Course
Many of you will now that golf balls travel further at altitude thanks to the decreased resistance caused by thinner air but imagine how far you could smash your ball while playing the world’s highest golf course! Tactu Golf Club in Morococha, Peru, sits 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point…reaching the par 5s in two shouldn’t be a problem then…unless you are struggling with altitude sickness caused by a lack of oxygen!
Let’s face it…there is nothing in golf as satisfying as letting rip with the driver and sending your ball soaring down the middle of the fairway. While many of us struggle to comprehend how the guys on the PGA and European Tours regularly hit drives well in excess of 300 yards, all golfers will find it hard to believe the record for the longest ever recorded drive.
Mike Austin seems to have a pretty orthodox swing but is famed for hitting the ball immense distances.
On 25 September 1974, 64-year-old Mike Austin is recorded to have driven a golf ball 515 yards from the tee on a Las Vegas golf course. Unfortunately for Austin the hole only measured 450 yards so he will have ended up more than 50 yards past the green. No-one on record has hit a ball further in a tournament. I will be doing well just to be playing golf at the age of 64 so quote how he hit a 511 yard tee shot is beyond me!
Longest Holed Putt
If you have ever played a traditional links course when the wind is blowing a hoolie you will, at one point or another, have been tempted to play a hole with just a putter in an effort to keep your ball beneath the wind. Fergus Muir did just that on the St Andrews Eden Course in 2003. Using an 80 year old, hickory shafted putter, the 66 year old Muir teed off on the par 3 5th on the Eden Course and watched as his ball disappeared into the hole for an unlikely ace. If we consider this as a putt then it measured a whopping 375 feet!