The Extreme 19th
Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa
Golf & Travel
One of my hobbies outside of golf is to travel and experience different foods, cultures, and landscapes. When travel and golf coincide together, I like to take full advantage!
I have been very fortunate to travel to four of the seven continents of the world, including Africa, Oceania, Europe, and North America, playing golf everywhere except Europe. My all-time best-golfing experience was in South Africa at Legends Golf and Safari Resort, where I traveled with my family. We spent the morning playing their regular 18 hole course, hitting our shots around the many wild and beautiful animals including the antelope, wildebeest, impala, and oryx. Shortly after finishing our regulation round, and stopping for a quick refreshment, my parents, brother and I hopped into a helicopter and flew to the top of Hanglip mountain to play the Extreme 19th. This 400-yard par 3 hole has about a 400 yard drop off from the top of Hanglip mountain to a green shaped like the continent of Africa. With having only 6 tee shots (labeled appropriately with our initials and the penalty strokes - 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11), the pressure was on for all of us!
Among the four of us, we managed to keep only 3 golf balls in play - my dad got his first 2 tee shots in (one of which actually landed on the green), and I hit my first tee shot in play on the fairway. My dad played both his balls and made par with each, and I finished the hole with a score of 5 (claiming I needed a pitching wedge instead of a sand wedge for my approach shot!)
You can find our names on the leaderboard, with my dad (Al Peister) being ranked at 16th, and myself at 515. Of all the hundreds of people who have attempted this extreme golf adventure, it's exhilarating to have successfully scored on this hole!! And let me tell you, it is an experience I will never forget!
Besides playing The Legends and the Extreme 19th, we also were able to secure a tee time at Oubaai, the famous Ernie Els signature course. Although it was the windiest golf I have ever played, the views were spectacular!
For those of you interested in making the trek to South Africa, I would highly recommend it. While there, our
non-golf activities included safaris, great white shark cage diving, wine tours, and visiting the Cape of Good Hope.
The links-style golf in Ireland presents unique challenges and a sense of untouched natural beauty. Nestled among the sand dunes, and adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean is a hidden gem - Doonbeg Golf Club. The long fescue, rolling hills and natural landscape of the dunes have created a unique golf course with a combination of five par 3s and five par 5s. The numerous blind shots, deep bunkers and long grass at Doonbeg call for the companionship of their highly knowledgable caddies. For me, this was my first and last time playing with a trained caddy, and boy did he ever make it easier to play! Within the first hole, he understood my swing, my distances, and my abilities. From then on, he told me which club to hit, where to aim, and most importantly, he kept all of our balls in play! My caddy simplified my mental game. He took out the guesswork and gave perfect instructions for each shot. To this day, my round at Doonbeg is one of my most enjoyable rounds yet!
Although Hawai'i is American, it feels like a little piece of Caribbean heaven. The tall-growing palm trees, warm pacific ocean, and for the moment, inactive volcanoes create a majestic setting for golf. The Hawaiian Islands are home to a copious number of golf courses, but on my travels, I only had time to play 2 of them. The big island of Hawai'i has a unique landscape dominated by lava rock. The last lava flow on the Big Island was in 2018, adding more than 570 acres to the landmass. While staying in Kona, many of my daily activities included snorkeling with sea turtles, attending coffee plantation tours, hiking, and of course, a round of golf at Mauna Lani. The South Course at Mauna Lani is absolutely stunning, offering players a panoramic view of both the pacific ocean and the surrounding mountains. It is also home to hole number 15, which is one of the most photographed over-the-water golf course holes in the world!
A week later I traveled to Oahu, the small island. Here, the rugged lava rock features were replaced with beach towns, more mountains, and a much larger population. Following in Brooke Henderson's footsteps, I booked a tee time at Ko Olina Golf Club, a pitstop on the LPGA Tour. I was excited to witness some of their junior golf programs and aspiring young talent while warming up on the range... but where I really should have spent more time was on the putting green! Their fast greens, numerous water features and high wind speeds that day (up to 34 km/h) made for a challenging round! Nonetheless, fun was had by all! I would recommend putting Hawaii golf on your bucket list, as another visit with more golf has been added to mine!
Canadian & U.S. Courses
In addition to my top three places listed above, I've played a number of courses across Canada as well as a few in Florida, including:
Cordova Bay (Victoria, British Columbia) for the Canadian University/College Golf National Championships (2012)
Kananaskis Country Golf Course (Kananaskis, Alberta), Silvertip (Canmore, Alberta)
Local courses such as Innerkip Highlands Golf Club, Sunningdale Golf and Country Club, St. Thomas Golf and Country Club, Westmount Golf and Country Club, Merry-Hill Golf Club, Whistle Bear, Cambridge Golf Club and Hidden Lake
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Golf Club (Quebec)
The Links at Crowbush Cove Golf Club, Dundarave Golf Course and Brudenell River Golf Course (Prince Edward Island)
Highland Links (Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia)
Algonquin Golf Course (St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick)
The Legends, The Reserve, Celebration Golf Club, Lake Beunovista (Orlando, Florida)