The Quick 10: 10 Unusual Golf Courses

So I started golfing this summer. If you can call it that. I'm still in the "pathetically hitting buckets while eight-year-olds laugh at me" stage, not even close to the "let's play the back nine and have a few drinks" stage. Yeah, I'm nowhere near actually playing a game, let alone playing any of these. But maybe they are something to aspire to, at least some of them. Here are 10 of the most unique golf courses in the world.

ANGOLA1. Prison View Golf Course, Angola, Louisiana. Have you ever wanted to play a round in the shadow of one of the most formidable prisons in the United States? You can! The nine-hole course was built and is maintained by prisoners, who aren't allowed to play on it. It was designed by the prison dentist and appears to be much like any other golf course"¦ except for some of the rules. Anyone wanting to play must apply 48 hours in advance so they can be screened, and play may be suspended at any time "due to institutional need or at the Warden's discretion."

2. Kabul Golf Club, Kabul, Afghanistan. The greens are brown (even nearly black), but that doesn't stop people from playing. Originally opened in 1967, the Kabul Golf Club has had a spotty history ever since. It closed in 1978 because it was considered a symbol of Western capitalism, but reopened in 2004. Since it was used as a military training site during those non-golfing decades, it had to be swept for landmines before anyone could play on it again. I'd still be a little wary about playing on it, personally!

3. Mosul, Iraq. It may not be there anymore, but in 2004, some homesick soldiers made a makeshift hole using an antenna and an oil rag as a flag. It was so popular that five more holes were added and the impromptu Mosul golf course was born.

MCMURDO4. McMurdo Station, Antarctica. You might remember from my post a few weeks ago that McMurdo boasts Antarctica's only ATM. Well, it also boasts the only golf course on the continent. OK, OK, it's a disc golf course, but I thought it was worth a mention. It warns that the "varied" terrain includes snow, ice, drifts and high winds. You think?

idaho5. The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. It's not so much the location that makes this interesting, it's the 14th hole. It floats, it moves, and you can only get to it by taking "The Putter Boat Shuttle."
6. Camp Bonifas, South Korea. There's a reason Sports Illustrated called this the most dangerous hole in golf "“ the rough is full of land mines, and unlike the course in Kabul, these have definitely not been removed. One of the SI reporter's shots actually set one off. But there's only one hole, so your flirtation with danger will be brief.

7. Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California. It's the lowest golf course in the world at 218 feet below sea level, and you're definitely going to want to bring something to keep yourself cool: summer temperatures can exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. They used to close the place during the summer, turning it over to a cattle rancher and letting his sheep keep their fairways tended. But now it's available year-round in case you really feel like breaking a good sweat. Oh, and you have to watch out for the coyotes that are prone to wandering onto the course. There's also the Devil's Golf Course in Death Valley, but you won't be able to play it "“ it's just a large salt pan that made weird salt crystal formations. It was nicknamed in a 1934 guide book that claimed "Only the Devil could play golf" on its surface.

greenland8. Uummannaq, Greenland. It's home to the World Ice Golf Championship and offers stunning views of icebergs and formations; it also offers frostbite and hypothermia if you're not careful. It's a lot like normal golf, except the greens are called whites and the golf balls are red "“ obviously, you're going to lose track of a typical white orb. The course changes every year based on the position of the fjords and icebergs. Interestingly, Rudyard Kipling used to play snow golf during the Vermont winters in the later 1800's to keep himself amused while writing The Jungle Book.

9. Golf Merapi, Mount Merapi, Indonesia. On the day in 1994 when the construction started on this course, Mount Merapi volcano erupted. It's a mere five miles away, so this could have been a cause for concern. It was a minor affair, though, and locals saw it as a blessing from the Gods. The Sultan calls it his home course, and it is said that it never rains when he plays. Another eruption did occur in 2006, big enough to send golfers scurrying for home. "That is the risk of putting a club here," the owner casually said.

BOLIVIA10. La Paz Golf Club, La Paz, Bolivia. If you're going to golf the lowest course the world, you might as well golf the highest course as well. La Paz Golf Club is 10,650 feet above sea level and takes golfers some time to get used to. But once they do, they're singing the praises of the course: most golfers report that balls seem to go straighter and fly higher than they do anywhere else. True, or psychological? Either way, the view is amazing. Some of the terrain is referred to as moonscape because of the appearance of the eroded sandstone that surrounds it. Other scenery includes snow-capped mountains in the distances and, sometimes, condors circling overhead.
What about you? Have you ever golfed a course with particularly cool scenery or an interesting hole? Share in the comments! And if you're a pathetic golfer like I am, share that too"¦ make me feel better.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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