Golf courses with remarkable hazards

25 October 2017
7 min. read
Some golf courses are special because of their location, their design or history. But some courses are special because they have some very remarkable hazards on the course. Below a selection! We hope you get inspired by these courses and if you have encountered other golf courses with a remarkable hazard, feel free to share them with us!
Photo by Jim Bauer
Train passing by on the 13th hole (photo credits: Jim Bauer)

El Camaleon Mayakoba – Mexico

Cenote at El Camaleon Golf Course in the middle of the fairway (photo credits by member maxprotin)
El Camaleon was designed by legendary Australian golfer Greg Norman and inaugurated in 2006. Like the chameleon, from which it takes its name, this golf course in Mexico offers constantly changing views as it winds through three diverse ecosystems: the tropical Mayan jungle, mangrove wetlands and the Mexican Caribbean Sea coastline.

Distinctive hazards: on the El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course you will find so-called cenotes (sink holes), which really add to the overall experience. Cenotes are especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and some of them were used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.

Fossil Trace Golf Club – USA

Hole 12 @Fossil Trace Golf Club (copyright: Fossil Trace)
Fossil Trace Golf Club opened in July of 2003 in the historic Colorado city of Golden. The course opened approximately 64-million years after the first dinosaurs walked where holes 11 through 15 now sit. Fossil Trace Golf Club is designed by renowned golf course architect Jim Engh.

Distinctive hazards: Some thought Jim Engh to be crazy to attempt it, but as you will see it was well worth the effort. The sandstone pillars in the fairway were slated to come down, but Jim said, “leave them where they are.” A drive to the center of this fairway will leave players with a choice; play over or around the pillars in the center of the fairway and avoid the sandstone wall along the left. Triceratops footprints, as well as other prehistoric creatures’ fossils can also be viewed adjacent to the golf course’s 12th green.

Golfclub Witbos – Belgium

Barracks @ Golfclub Witbos (photo credits member dagmarbuysse)
Golfclub Witbos was built on a former British military basis and all of the old barracks are still there. There are dozens of them, all empty but they used to be used for the storage of big machinery in the 1940’s.

Distinctive hazards: As said, barracks are dotted all over the place. So, make sure to be straight on this course. Hole 1 might raise some eyebrows as you do not really know were to go. Well, your first shot is a blind shot over a military barrack. Aside from this weird opening hole with the barrack as a hazard, you have to play 5 holes twice to get to 18 holes as the course only has 13 holes.

Royal Colombo Golf Club – Sri Lanka

Train track @ Royal Colombo (photo credits and copyright: Paul Jansen)
The Royal Colombo Golf Club is the oldest golf club in Sri Lanka. Established in 1879, it is located in the capital city of Colombo. The course is also known as The Ridgeway Links or the Anderson Golf Course. 

Distinctive hazards: This golf course is unique in the fact that it has a train track running through and across it’s four holes. Trains in Sri Lanka are something special, they are packed with screaming people (in and on top of the train). Take a deep breath and focus on your putt when this train passes!

Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort – USA

14th floating green @ Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort (copyright: Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort)
Located on the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, this resort course is an experience not to be missed. It began with a sudden flash of inspiration – a man walking his dog, gazing out at a tugboat towing a raft of logs on the lake. In 1991, the first ball was struck onto the floating green on the 14th, and Duane Hagadone’s vision was on its way to becoming one of the best-loved icons in golf.

Distinctive hazard: The world famous floating island green of the 14th hole of Coeur D’Alene Golf Resort has become an icon in the world of golf. The most unique feature of the green is its ability to be computer controlled to a different distance from the tee each day. At approximately 15,000 square feet, the island, although intimidating, is a deceivingly large target. The back and front right of the green is protected by bunkers. Golfers take a maximum of two attempts to land safely on the island before taking a drop on the green if necessary.

Cypress Point Club – USA

Cypress Point Club (photo credits and copyright: Authentic Golf)
Alister Mackenzie’s masterpiece – winds through cypress, sand dunes and jagged coastline. Some simply love the course, but very good players are not impressed. The course has several easy holes and a weak finish. But experts also say it is best 17 hole golf course in the world. The 18th is nothing more than a walk back to the clubhouse. But, playing here is very difficult and you are lucky enough to know one of the members.

Distinctive hazard: Being able to play at Cypress Point Club is probably just as difficult as the 16th where you have to have a carry of 182 meters (200 yards) to reach the other side. The Pacific Ocean is probably the most daunting water hazard you will encounter, especially if the sea wind is blowing in your face.

Rijk van Nunspeet – The Netherlands

Waste area at Het Rijk van Nunspeet (photo credits by member JeroenG)
Golf course Het Rijk van Nunspeet is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful golf courses on the Veluwe. The club is home to a 27-hole golf course, with three loops that run through the impressive forest. The sandy soil ensures that the course can be played under all weather conditions.

Distinctive hazards: The North Course is a lot more tranquil than the other loops – less spectacular – but nice. A nice feature on this loop is the hole over the natural sand dunes. If your ‘carry’ is less than 175 meters then your ball will be left somewhere in this sandy hazard…

Oakmont Country Club – USA

The famous church pew bunker at Oakmont Country Club (copyright:
Oakmont Country Club is a country club in Plum and Oakmont, in western Pennsylvania. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The course, the only design by Henry Fownes, opened 114 years ago in 1903. With a crew of 150 men and a little under two dozen mule teams, Henry Fownes spent a year building Oakmont on old farmland, which was ideal for a links-style course.

Distinctive hazards: One of Oakmont’s most famous hazards is the Church Pews bunker that comes into play on hole 3 and 4. It measures approximately 91 by 37 meters (or 100 by 40 yards) and features twelve grass covered traversing ridges that resemble church pews. For many years, Oakmont’s bunkers were groomed with a rake with wider than normal tines, creating deep furrows. The rakes were last used in U.S. Open competition in 1962 and eliminated from the club in 1964.

Bagan Golf Resort – Myanmar

Pagodas at Bagan Golf Club (photo credits and copyright: Paul Jansen)
The Bagan Nyaung Oo Golf Club or Bagan Golf Course is located on flat piece of land. But, to be honest – the course does not really matter – as the golf course is really about all the monuments and pagodas which dot the golf course and its surroundings. The course is part of the Bagan Resort which is one of the most luxurious resorts at Bagan in the “land with a million pagodas”.

Distinctive hazards: There is a pagoda on just about every hole at the Bagan Golf Club. If you can’t find one, you’re probably looking to spot one in the surroundings. The pagodas is what people will remember and this is what makes this golf club a must visit.

Do you have any additions to this list? Just let us know in the comments!
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