Skip to main content

The most extreme hole in golf?

From Alex Thomas, CNN
Click to play
The most extreme hole in golf
  • CNN World Sport visits the most extreme hole in golf at Legend resort in South Africa
  • To reach the extreme 19th you need to take a helicopter 430 meters up a mountain
  • The resort's signature course features 18 holes each designed by a top golfer
  • Resort also offers safari with lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo on site

Limpopo, South Africa (CNN) -- It's a tee shot so daunting even Tiger Woods might go weak at the knees.

Not only is the extreme 19th hole at Legend Golf Resort in north South Africa 430 meters from tee to pin, it also 430 meters in height.

Standing on top of a mountain only accessible by helicopter, the aim is to smash your ball onto the sloping green below which is shaped like the continent of Africa.

Once you've hit your shot, 20 seconds of hang time awaits before you see if your drive has made it -- but fear not, if it is off target, a team of helpers with walky-talkies will locate your ball.

Even then you might need to take a drop, if it lands anywhere near the many lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards or rhinos meandering through the bush.

This hole is the crowning glory of the Legend signature course, a location that features 18 holes each designed by a different star of the game, including major winners Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman.

Video: Africa's Legend Golf Resort

"It's very difficult to explain to people the drama of playing the world's highest and longest par three," Pete Richardson, head of PR and marketing at Legend, told CNN.

"You drive into a big-five game reserve to be picked up by a helicopter. You then fly to the top of the mountain, take a deep breath, look over the edge and see the green in the shape of Africa 400 meters below you.

"[At the top] you often see giraffe, rhino and hippo, and it's just very difficult to get your mind around it. You are in the middle of wild Africa, getting off a helicopter to hit a tee shot!"

Legend opened in 2009, and its unique 19-hole course has helped generate prosperity for an area that also benefited from the influx of tourists who flocked to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

With over 600 local jobs created, according to Joe Motene from the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, the key priority for the development was for it to be built in a way that remained sensitive to the resident wildlife.

You're in the middle of wild Africa, getting off a helicopter to hit a tee shot to the longest par three in the world.
--Pete Richardson

"The area has enhanced the natural environment and driven economic prosperity to an area which was previously mainly farm land with few long term sustainable employment and development opportunities," he told CNN.

Richardson says the aim of the Legend resort was to create something unique and that the professional golfers he worked with all took to the idea.

For those who believe in the old adage that golf is the perfect way to spoil a good walk, there are endless areas to explore on safari as John Dixon, public relations manager for the Legend group, and former park ranger, explains.

"The space, the vistas, the scenery alone, mixed up with getting up close to the big five game is something that is beyond words really," he told CNN.

"The big five, as we all know, are the iconic species that everyone comes to see, but there's a lot of general game species in terms of zebras, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, hippos, crocodiles, and a healthy populations of reptiles.

"You can never get bored of this, every time you go out it changes. There's always something new and exciting happening. You'll see something new in the mountains, you'll see something new from the animals, there's always a fresh experience waiting for you when you go out, whether it's a morning safari, an evening safari or a walk in the bush."