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Padraig Harrington vs. the Second-most Reedonkyoulous Golf Hole on Earth

When you win two majors in a row, you have to do some zany photo ops, but this one takes the cake.

Someone in South Africa decided to build a 907-yard par-3 as an “Extreme 19th Hole” at the Legends Golf and Safari resort.

You read that right…a 907-yard par-3.  “How can they do that?” you ask?  Well, they went up to the top of a mountain and built the tee box 1,410 feet above it!  That’s Reedonkyoulous!

From the press release plugging the event:

The Irish star took a helicopter to the top of Hanglip Mountain at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort on the Big 5 Entabeni Safari Conservancy in Limpopo for the challenge of the Extreme 19th.

There, he hit driver to the green the shape of Africa some 400m below.

After hitting four practice balls, Harrington smashed his competition ball into the bunker surrounding the green before flying back down and splashing out to just 18 inches and holing the putt for the first par by a professional on the hole .”

A drop shot driver?  What strategies does that test?  A green the shape of the continent of Africa?  Did The Donald build Trump Sub-Saharan and I not get the memo?  Look at these photos – taken from the dizzying height of the tee box.  They’re really proud of this contraption too.  Here’s what the Legends Resort website has to say:

“Set high up on the impressive Hanglip Mountain and accessible only by helicopter, this par 3 hole measures 830 metres from tee to green and is played from a vertical height of 430 metres.    After a short, breathtaking helicopter flight, golfers have the opportunity of teeing off from one of three tee boxes, high up on the escarpment.  With advanced technology in the form of four separate cameras and the latest tracking equipment, the golfer can follow and capture the tee shot and the flight of the ball.

The fairway is seeded with Cynodon grass and contoured to funnel the ball to the green below.
In celebration of the African Renaissance, the green has been shaped like the map of Africa and is protected by a large waste bunker.

Golfers can choose to play this challenging hole in addition to their round of 18 holes, or as an experience on its own.  A hole-in-one earns the lucky golfer one million US dollars!. Conceived by Graham Cooke of the UK, embraced by CEO, Peet Cilliers, and designed by David Riddle.”

Hey guys, aren’t you forgetting something?  How about parachuting to the green below?  Or hang gliding?  You could throw in some piranha-infested lakes to make it more interesting.

I have to raise a questioning eyebrow to Padraig for his gushing over this.  According to the press release, Padraig noted, “This is golf in 2010, this is the type of innovation and excitement we need to get more people playing. There aren’t many innovative ways to play the game, but this is certainly one of the best.”

I love ya, Paddy, but I don’t love “Extreme Golf.”  Just because it looks cool and has an exhilarating rush in getting vertigo and a free chopper ride, (or expensive chopper ride if your not a three-time major winner), doesn’t mean we should embrace it as a design strategy.  In fact, this entire course is Exhibit Z why pros shouldn’t design golf courses without professional golf architects ghostwriting for them.  At Legends, eighteen different pros designed eighteen different holes, but one thing they all seem to have in common, (again, according to the website), is difficulty and narrow fairways:  target golf.  Moreover, most people can’t afford to pay massive greens fees even at the best of times, let alone a global economic disruption.  Minimalist does have its advantages, especially in these uncertain times.  Still, it is a creative idea, I’ll give them that.

By the way, the most reedonkyoulous golf hole on Earth is the one Kim Jong II wants to build in North Korea, where if you hit the green you automatically get a hole in one because the green is a big funnel and the balls just obeys the law of gravity and sinks into the cup.

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