Golf fans across Europe will be glued to the 2023 Ryder Cup between September 29 and October 1, with some of Europesure Travel Insurance’s EU and EEA-based travel insurance customers perhaps being even more engaged than those in the UK, due to the contest being played out in Rome.
This will be only the third time the Ryder Cup has been contested on European soil, with the previous two occasions being at Spain’s iconic Valderrama course (1997) and at Le Golf National, in France, in 2018.
The Marco Simone Golf & Country Club course lies just 17 km from Rome’s city centre and was built in the 1980s by fashion designer, Laura Biagiotti and her husband Gianni Gigna. After transforming 150 hectares of countryside, Laura commented that it was “the largest green skirt I’ve ever designed.” Some redevelopment of the course has taken place since.
The course is named after the 11th century castle that lies within it, but another feature to be seen is an ancient Roman villa. From various parts of the par 72 course, golfers can also spot St Peter’s Basilica, hoping this does not put them off and lead to their plopping into one of the numerous water hazards located across the amphitheatre-styled course.
All of these interesting course features led the team at Europesure Travel Insurance to wonder about other golf courses around the world, which might have something special about them and entice golfers who might require our golf add-on to their travel insurance policy. Our investigations turned up some interesting facts!
The Swilcan Bridge, Old Course, St Andrews
The Swilcan Bridge is the most iconic feature on the course at the Home of Golf in St Andrew’s Scotland, where it sits across the Swilcan Burn, right in front of the clubhouse. Many a winning golfer has waved to the crowds here, as have millions of tourists. Originally built to help shepherds move their sheep across the water, it has stood here for at least 700 years.
The Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Limpopo Province, South Africa
The Legend course is a true name-dropper, having had all holes designed by golfing greats, including Justin Rose, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, Bernard Langer and Padraid Harrington. However, it is probably most famous for the hole that saw music legend, Phil Collins, achieve a double bogey – the Extreme 19th. This is accessible only by helicopter, with the tee teetering on the edge of Hanglip Mountain and the golfer expected to hit their ball to a green 400m below and 361m away. The fact the green is shaped like Africa, probably doesn’t offer that much assistance and balls have to be tracked by cameras and tech, so the players know where they are. The course is Africa’s longest too and lies within a 50,000 acre game reserve. If tempted to embark on a safari whilst there, make sure your travel insurance policy will cover that activity. Europesure Travel Insurance’s policy will cover organised safaris.
World’s highest golf course: La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia
This course is remarkable because it is the world’s highest, set within a lunar-like landscape some two miles above sea level. Watch out for altitude sickness and pack travel insurance just in case!
World’s lowest golf course: Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park, California
This is the world’s lowest golf course, at 214 feet below sea level, giving golfers a special challenge, due to the low elevation and barometric pressure. However, as Death Valley has recorded a surface temperature of 93.9C, golfers also need to be very aware of the heat. No wonder playing in winter is recommended!
World’s longest golf course: Nullarbor Links, Australia
Fancy spending three to four days completing one round of golf? That’s what lies ahead at the world’s longest golf course, where tees are somewhere around 40 miles apart, on a course stretching 848 miles along the outback’s Eyre Highway between Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Ceduna in Southern Australia. To play the entire course, golfers have to stop at 18 different participating towns and cities, each of which hosts a hole. These can be interesting in themselves, with one being right in the middle of a sheep station, with a detour to the shearing shed being just one possible distraction for players!
World’s coldest golf course?
A prime candidate for this title has to be the Uummannaq Greenland Golf Course. After all, where else would you be warned about frostbite before playing a round? Located 500m north of the Arctic Circle, and with temperatures as low as -45°C, the course is laid out on an ice field in which the hazards are seal dens and crevasses – even polar bears, at times! And don’t expect to be able to learn the course to a tee: it changes yearly due to the shifts in the ice!
Golf course straddling two countries
Is the Tornio Golf/Meri-Lapin Golfclub in Sweden or in Finland? Actually, it’s in both. Eleven of its eighteen holes are in Sweden and 7 in Finland and, as you play your round, you cross into a different time-zone. This means that a ball hit off the tee on the 6th green, can stay in the air for over an hour before it lands! Spooky!
Mud, hippos, alligators and ecosystems
Four other amazing golf courses, remarkable for design and course hazards, are found in New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Mexico.
At Rotorua Golf Club, geysers and bubbling mud pools – and the smell of sulphur – distinguish a round played at the world’s only geothermal golf course.
Skukuza Golf Club, located in South Africa, has no fence to keep out the Kruger National Park wildlife, so you can expect baboons, warthogs, impala and even hippos to be your spectators. At Kiawah Island in South Carolina, meanwhile, the hazards consist of alligators – and you will get a big fine if you aggravate them!
Greg Norman played a huge part at the El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Club, designing the Mexican course to allow three diverse ecosystems – the tropical Mayan jungle, mangrove wetlands and Caribbean coastline – to be celebrated. Just watch out for the sinkholes and freshwater canals!
The world’s only floating green
At the Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort in Idaho, there’s a computer-controlled green stuck out on its own in the water and moving each day, to present a new challenge. Golfers get two attempts to land on it, before they are forced to take a drop on the green – which they can only reach by the Putter Boat.
Golf club inside a race track
Did you know that the Brickyard Crossing Golf Club has four holes that are inside the boundary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit, home to the Indy 500? With this – and the noise levels of racing cars – golfers can only play when there is no motor event being staged.
A cave, a mine shaft and an on-green bunker
The Mayakoba Golf Classic is always interesting for those playing at El Cameleon in Mexico, where a cave bunker, known as the Devil’s Mouth, lies along the fairway. Those who have ventured in, report a fair few sightings of bats, the discovery of a pool and dripping stalactites.
At Scottsdale National in Arizona, the 15th hole features a 13-feet mine-shaft bunker to catch out the errant golfer! This bunker consists of a little pit of sand, surrounded by wood panels and accessed by steps, by any golfer bold enough to try to hit their way out of this hazard.
But head to Riviera Country Club in California and you will find that most unusual of things – a bunker in the centre of the green at the 199-yard sixth!
Hearts and brave souls in La Belle France
Where else but in France would you expect to find a green shaped as a heart? The quirky Dunkerque Golf Course in Northern France is known for its rather eccentric character but there’s a real charm about this heart-shaped green on the third hole.
Perhaps France is also a logical place in which to find the world’s only naturist golf course, the six-hole La Jenny, in Le Porge near Bordeaux, where the challenge is undoubtedly that of knowing where to stash your scorecard and pencil.
Golf insurance add-on to your UK, EU, EEA, Monaco or Gibraltar-bought travel insurance
If heading off on a golfing holiday to any of these – or less quirky courses – be sure to pack the right level of travel insurance and golf insurance protection, whether leaving with your golf bag from your home in the UK, EU, EEA, Gibraltar or Monaco.
Golf – played at an amateur level – is one of many sporting activities included in the standard Europesure Travel Insurance policy. However, you may well want to top up on that and add in some protection for your golf equipment and pre-paid green fees. The golf insurance add-on will protect your owned and hired golf equipment in the event of loss, theft and breakage and allow you to hire replacement equipment if necessary. For instance, clubs may have been loaded on to a plane and lost without trace, somewhere in the world.
The policy will also refund any green fees you have paid, if you should fall ill or have an accident before taking to the course. Should you also not be able to produce documents you need, in order to play, due to loss or theft, this cover can also refund your green fees.
Head to www.europesuretravelinsurance.com to select the cover you need, according to where in the world you might be heading, bearing in mind that an annual policy may be better value if you are travelling a few times a year. Select the add-ons you might also want – which might be golf cover – and you should be well covered for all the risks that might emerge during your trip.