Teeing Off Some Fun
A Look at Military Golf Courses
May 12, 2014 by Mark Dye
The par-3 at Camp Bonifas, South Korea, might lack in amenities, but makes up for it with originality.
Having time for recreation is a vital part of any military. It helps troops unwind and gives them the chance to forget about their very difficult—and often stressful—duties. Golfing is a great, if sometimes frustrating, way for troops to relax, and there are many courses on or near military installations from which to choose.
- The Eisenhower Golf Club near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., is widely considered one of the premier military golf locations. Made up of two courses—the Blue and the Silver—the location is known for its winding fairways, perfectly manicured greens, and beautiful scenery. It’s open seven days a week, so book your tee time today!
- For those in the northeast part of the nation, The Courses at Andrews Air Force Base offer three distinct courses that can test the mettle of even the best golfers. The East Course is the longest from the back tees, at 6,883 yards, with the South course coming next at 6,759, and the West being the shortest (6,572). It is also quite affordable: just $21 per round for E2s to E4s, and a free practice range that opens at dawn.
- On the west coast there is the Sea ‘N Air Golf Course. Located on Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, Calif., the course is one of only two in San Diego to sit directly on the Pacific Ocean (the other being Torrey Pines, one of the most famous courses in the nation). Unlike Torrey Pines or even Pebble Beach, the Sea ‘N Air course has several holes that play at sea level, right up against the ocean. It also has very affordable greens fees (with a cart, a round will only set an enlisted service member back around $40).
- Deep in the heart of Texas, next to Fort Hood, lies Clear Creek Golf Course, an unusual course in that, instead of offering the typical 18-hole layout, it has a trio of championship-caliber nine-hole courses: Armadillo Hills, Deer Run, and Panther Claw. You can combine any two to play 18, or go ahead and play all three, as prices are quite affordable—they range from $12 for an active or retired E1 to E5 on a weekday to $28 for civilians. (The course is one of many military courses that now offer tee times to non-military personnel.) They also have a four-hole kids course called Rattlesnake Ridge that is available free of charge!
- One of the most unusual courses isn’t really a course at all. It is simply one hole: a 192-yard par 3. What makes it so unique is that it is located at Camp Bonifas, just a few hundred meters from the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It was named the “most dangerous hole in golf” by Sports Illustrated, probably due to the hole being surrounded on three sides by minefields. (There is even a story that one errant shot set off one of those mines.)
- Like the unusual and deployed to Iraq? Then the Al Kindi course in Mosul is just the place. (On the bright side, you don’t have to worry about cart fees or a water hazard.) Want something unusual, but without the threat of shrapnel while making the turn at 9? Then the Carney Park Golf Course is for you. Located in Naples, Italy, and run by the Navy, it is placed inside of an extinct volcano, which provides a very scenic experience. Prefer things a bit on cooler side? Then try Chena Bend golf course at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. It is the most northern of all military golf courses, but don’t let that discourage you, as it is also one of the best.
So whether you’re a serious golfer with a single-digit handicap, or just a weekend duffer who likes to have fun, get out there and try some of the above courses. And if you have played any of the above, let us know in comments your opinion of it—we’d love to hear from you!