9 golf holes with unique -- dare we say, 'gimmicky' -- features

golf holes
Legend Golf & Safari Resort
Would you have the nerve to try the 'Extreme 19th Hole' at Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa? It requires a helicopter ride to get to the tee box.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 | 10:51 a.m.

Golf courses are like snowflakes -- no two are the same.

Sure, there may be courses with similar holes, similar features and trademark designs implemented by its designer, but they all have their differences no matter how subtle.

The holes we're about to show you, well, their like no other holes/stretch of holes in the golf.

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Here's a look at nine of the most unique golf holes in the world.

9. Oakmont Country Club's 'Church Pews' bunker

Lying between the third and fourth fairways at famed Oakmont, the Church Pews will swallow up tee shots that are hooked off either tee. The Church Pews are 102 yards in length with 12 grass islands. About 4-6 yards of sand is between each of the 12 islands. It's an incredible feature for a course many regard as among the most difficult in the world.

8. Scottsdale National's 15th hole 'Mine Shaft' bunker

This difficult par 5 is a hole of horrors and the scariest part is right around the green with its 12-foot deep 'Mine Shaft' bunker -- a bunker so severe very few are lucky enough to escape in a single shot. And if you are one of those lucky ones, chances are that shot was played away from the hole.

7. Legend Golf & Safari Resort's 'Extreme 19th hole'

Simply put, this hole in South Africa isn't for the faint of heart. For starter's, a helicopter is required to get to the tee box, which sits atop Hangklip Mountain. It's the highest -- 1,300 feet -- and longest -- 395 yards -- in the world. Because of the height, it takes roughly 20 seconds for the ball to land. The green is shaped to resemble the continent of Africa.

6. Riviera Country Club's sixth green

A 199-yard, par 3, the sixth hole at Riviera Country Club is perhaps more distinctive than most other greens you'll ever see. Why? Because smack dab in the middle of it, there lies a bunker. And, honestly, in that bunker is a much better place to be than having your tee shot come to rest on the green with the bunker between you and the hole.

5. Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course's 14th hole 'Floating Green'

Located in Idaho, Coeur d'Alene offers some of the prettiest mountain views you'll ever see on a course. Here's how the Coeur d'Alene website describes it: "The famous Floating Green, an engineering island marvel and worlds only movable green, computer controlled to daily distances. After the tee shot to the par 3, 14th Hole, golfers are ferried to the island via a uniquely designed electric boat, dubbed 'Putter,' to finish the hole."

4. Brickyard Crossing Golf Course

This Pete Dye design in Indianapolis features four holes inside the oval -- the infield -- of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. The other 14 holes are outside the track, along the backstretch.

3. El Camaleón at the Fairmont Mayakoba, 'Cenote' on Hole No. 1

A bunker is one thing, but imagine hitting your ball into a cenote. What's a "cenote," you might be wondering? By definition, it's, "a deep natural well or sinkhole, especially in Central America, formed by the collapse of surface limestone that exposes ground water underneath, and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings."

Or, it's what you'll find in the middle of the fairway on the very first hole at El Camaleón at the Fairmont Mayakoba.

2. Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club's (Mountain) third hole in Tucson, Arizona

At 107 yards, it's a short par 3... but it's a daunting one. From an elevated tee box, the hole is set between two massive boulders and the green is located in a ravine. The visual of the hole can play tricks with the mind. What should be a fairly stock shot for most decent golfers because one of the most intimidating here.

1. Pacifico Golf Course at Punta Mita, Hole 3b, the 'Tail of the Whale'

Island greens are fun, but on most courses, they're manmade. No problem with that, but isn't it a lot cooler if you can incorporate it into the natural environment of the area? That's precisely what you get at Pacifico Golf Course at Punta Mita in Mexico. Hole 3b features the world's only "natural island green," sitting in the Pacific Ocean. The "3b" designation is because the hole is optional. But, come on, who wouldn't want to say they played it?  

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.