THE MOST AWESOME HAZARDS IN GOLF
ONE of the most unique things about golf remains the ever-changing landscape upon which it is played. It can also be one of its most challenging aspects.
And hazards, such as bunkers and water, add to a course’s challenge more than anything else. As a form of defence, they can invoke both fear and awe in any golfer. Of course some are more fearsome – and awesome – than others.
We could either let these round-ruiners drive us mad, or celebrate them. Considering we spend so much time in the damn things, we chose to do the latter.
“OF ALL THE HAZARDS, FEAR IS THE WORST.”
The Cave Bunker
El Cameleon Golf Club, Playa del Carmen, MEXICO
WE KICK off our list with one of the most ridiculously awesome bunkers – of sorts –you’ll find anywhere in the world.
The Cave Bunker at Mexico’s El Camaleon Golf Club – locally known as “Devil’s Mouth” for obvious reasons – has sent many misguided shots here straight to hell. Adiós!
More accurately, it is a cenote – a deep sinkhole with a natural underground reservoir of water found in the limestone of Yucatán.
While this huge, (almost) entirely natural hazard plays as the 7th hole during the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, it presents a formidable obstacle at the opening hole for the rest of us.
Make no mistake – this thing is huge, and if a ball finds its way into the mouth of the cave and into the watery abyss beneath the surface, you’ll be taking an unplayable for sure. That is unless you feel your golf is in need of a little more spelunking, in which case start planning your trip to Mexico.
Best of all, this is a double-whammy – a sand and water hazard in one.
St. Enodoc Golf Club (Church), Cornwall, ENGLAND
REGARDED as one of, if not the, largest bunkers in Europe, the massive sand trap at St. Enodoc’s 6th hole known simply as ‘Himalaya’ is an epic obstacle to overcome.
Lying in wait for aggressive hitters or faders to step onto the tee, Himalaya doesn’t just cause an issue for those taking on this 380-yard par-4. It also poses a genuine visual hazard for those laying up on the hole, with a blind shot over the towering, cavernous bunker to the green.
Many have been left saying their prayers before playing out of – or over – the Himalaya bunker at St Enodoc’s Church Course.
An imposing sight from the tee box some 200 yards away, it only becomes more fearsome the closer you get.
Not to be confused with the more famous trap of the same name found at Royal St.George’s 4th hole – the St. Enodoc Himalaya bunker’s height has been measured at 75 feet (or just under 23 metres!).
Simply put, just don’t go in it. You might never get out.
Pebble Beach Golf Links (18th Hole) California, USA
IT HAS been the scene of some of the game’s most iconic moments, yet the closing hole at famed Pebble Beach Golf Links is also home to one of the most awesome water hazards on the planet.
Littered with ancient rocks and lapping Pacific Ocean waves, anything slightly left off the tee here is likely to be gone. For good.
Bordering the entire left side of this epic par-5, the Pacific Ocean poses a beautiful yet beastly danger.
A hole faders love and hookers hate, this is one hazard shaped by water, wind and plenty of time you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
ROYAL COLOMBO GOLF CLUB, COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
AS IF there weren’t enough challenges already in golf, up steps Colombo Golf Club with a unique hazard sure to send many rounds off the rails – literally.
Railway tracks adorn the border on several holes at this Sri Lankan layout, and tracks even run right in front of the sixth green, a hole aptly named ‘Rail Crossing’.
Puts a whole new spin on ‘training’ your swing.
ST ANDREWS (OLD), FIFE, SCOTLAND
THE home of the pot bunker – St.Andrews Old course – has some of the most devilish sand traps in the game.
Look no further than the 14th hole’s famous – or infamous, depending on whether you’ve encountered it – ‘Hell Bunker’.
This deep, sandy beast has ruined many rounds and remains one of the most iconic bunkers in golf.
OAKMONT COUNTRY CLUB, PENNSYLVANIA, USA
ONE thing that can quickly bring your game to its knees is a sand-filled crusade in one of the Church Pew bunkers at Oakmont Country Club.
Arguably the prettiest collection of sand-traps ever created, the dozen Church Pew shaped bunkers run in-between holes 3 and 4 at this iconic course, which most recently hosted the 2016 US Open.
Measuring roughly 90 metres in length and 35 metres in width, the Church Pews are collectively a unique yet prominent hazard you’ll be praying to miss. Amen. Ø