“Beware of Sharks” and Other Highly Hazardous Holes

David Bryce is a freelance writer and long-time golfer who concedes that the most hazardous part of his game are the fat, imported cigars he likes to smoke. When he’s not working on this putt, you can usually find him blogging or yelling at the television.

On occasion, heated debates take place over USGA’s Rule 26: The Water Hazard. The one aspect never contested is the unending belief that water hazards are inherently tricky. And that they’re responsible for millions of dollars lost in sunken white balls across the world (though fishing them out is a pretty hefty underground racket).

At my local course, Thousand Hills, the Ozarks create their own hazards, one of which is avoiding driving you ball into the Branson cabins. Amongst unique worldwide water hazards, two distinctive types stick out: those bearing predators and those featuring impossibly wide gaps.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most interesting of both…


Bullsharks, Australia

The lake along the 15th fairway of Carbrook Golf Club in Queensland, Australia gets a lot of press. Home to a handful of bull sharks rumored to have washed ashore during a flood several years ago, this is no urban legend. Said to be 8-10 feet long, they’re real, they’re hungry, and they’ve basically become the mascot and flagship for the entire course. Though slightly unnerving, the sharks have yet to attack a player.

Being built in the crater of an extinct volcano isn’t the dangerous feature of the Lost City Golf Course in Sun City, South Africa. The pond along the 13th hole that contains nearly 40 adult Nile crocodiles definitely is, however. Amid some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet, the snapping snouts rarely come into play, but that’s no reason to drop your guard.

Upon entering Skukuza Golf Course in Kruger National Park, South Africa, a sign warns, “Beware: Dangerous Animals. Enter at Your Own Risk.” Naturally, if you’re here, you’ve already signed the safety waiver and are expecting a little danger. This course introduces a new peril: hungry hippopotami, widely thought to be the most dangerous animal in Africa. While warthogs and lions have been known to wander onto the greens, this entire course circles around Lake Panic, where the 8,000 lb. beasts eyeball every move you make.

Wide Gaps

Floating Golf Hole


Set along a beautiful, expansive lake, the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho features a par-3 floating 14th hole. Unique for its mobility, this isn’t an actual island and can be moved according to computerized tracks. Assuming you land on the green, the Putter Boat takes you for a little ride and afterward, whether you sunk the ball or not, you’re issued a Certificate of Achievement for just playing. This is also the only course I’ve played out of all listed here.

At the world-class Cypress Point Club, a private course in Pebble Beach, California, an ocean stands between you and the 16th hole. Literally, the Pacific Ocean. Requiring a 231-yard drive amidst crashing waves, coastal wind and dive-bombing seagulls, even professionals often list this as one of the most intimidating tee-offs in the world.

Boasting the only natural island water hazard in the world, the Pacifico Golf Course in Punta Mita, Mexico is also exquisitely picturesque. Known as the Tail of the Whale, hole 3B is on an offshore atoll where the green was designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus. At low tide, you can walk to the island on a sandbar; the rest of the time, an amphibious golf cart shuttles you to finish the hole.

Torrey Pines – 2nd Hole

2nd - Torrey Pines

Here’s another great shot from Golf Courses Of The US Open.

This one’s the 2nd hole at Torrey Pines, a golf course I’m sure el Tigre played a lot on growing up. Maybe ol’ Lefty did too.

Click thru to the website and check out the book and click thru to Torrey Pine’s website and see if you can get us on and I’ll fly out for a round … or two !

As always, you can get a better view by clicking on the photo.

Riviera’s 2nd Hole

2nd - Riviera CC

Here’s one of the shots from Golf Courses Of The US Open, written by David Barrett and soon to be part of a review here at Travelling Golfer.

This happens to be the 2nd hole at The Riviera Country Club, sometimes called Hogan’s Alley, because of the success enjoyed there by Mr. Hogan.

You can click on the photo to enlarge it and you can follow the link to purchase the book.

Number 16 At Black Mesa Golf Club Is A Great Golf Hole

The Golf Course Architect Baxter Spann had this to say about #16:

” We looked at several options for using this canyon to get back to the other side of the ridge from the valley floor. I had initially favored a short uphill par four to the current green location, but Eddie Peck and Pat Brockwell suggested a tee location on a high point on the west side of the valley, playing downhill across the arroyo, and then climbing steeply on the second shot. In the preliminary plans the narrow neck of fairway which climbs up to the second landing area was to be left as a natural arroyo. However, we decided during construction to run a culvert under the fairway and give the player at least a chance to run an accurately played shot up the middle to the “promised land” past the deep bunker on the left. Once past this hazard, a ball has a fair possibility of finding the green, as the right side will kick anything hit there toward the putting surface, which is open in front. The green itself is probably the most severely contoured of any on the course and the surrounds fall away sharply on the left side and in back. “

Obviously I don’t need to say much more after that, but I would encourage you to click thru to their site and consider giving Black Mesa Golf Club a try the next time you’re near La Mesilla, New Mexico.

Masters Tickets

Harbour Town’s Hole 14 Is A Great Par 3

Number 7 at Harbour Town Golf Links


” The green is surrounded by sand, but the real hazards here are the trees. They will reject any off-line shot and make a successful recovery very tricky. The green is narrow but deep, and pin placement can affect club selection. “


Number 7 at Harbour Town Golf Links looks like it would be an easy 3 for your scorecard … but it’s not.

The other 17 holes aren’t that easy either, but you don’t go to Harbour Town to post a good score. You go to play where the Pro’s play, to see the lighthouse and to get a polo shirt with their logo to take back and stick in your golfing buddies faces !

Harbour Town polo shirts



Yes, if you go I’d like one.

Yes, I look good in red.

Yes, I do wear XXL.

Yes, you can click the photo to go to their store.


Click thru to their store and to the other parts of their website and book a golf vacation today.

Their golf packages are second to none … and you need to send ol’ Mike that shirt !

Masters Tickets

Black Wolf Run – River Course – 18th Hole

Hole 18 Black Wolf Run


The 18th hole on the River Course at Black Wolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin is a tough finishing hole.

Even Annika Sorenstam has had trouble here.


Named for golf course architect Pete Dye, the 18th is aptly called Dyehard. The yardage guide gives you this advice:

” … Drive it with all you have down the right center to avoid the waste are that stretchs the length of the hole. The open front green will allow a long iron to run up if necessary. ”

Yardage Guide 18th


For more info on a golf vacation at Black wolf Run or to just play some spectacular golf holes, visit Destination Kohler.

Pebble Beach – Hole #8

Layout of Hole 8 - Pebble Beach

To best play the 8th hole at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links, you need to tee it up over the aiming rock and note the wind conditions.

A well placed drive of 240 yards will leave you with a middle iron shot across a deep oceanic chasm. Take a deep breath and fire to the middle of the green here, but take heed … this green is sloped severely from back to front.

It’s a par 4 and from the Blue Tee’s it plays around 416 yards.

Since 1919, the exquisite beauty and unique challenge of Pebble Beach Golf Links has thrilled golfers and spectators alike.

Pebble Beach has been the site of golf’s most prestigious tournaments, including the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the 1972, ’82, ’92 and 2000 U.S. Open Championships.

Pebble Beach Golf Links is ranked the No. 1 Public Course in America by Golf Digest in 2005.

Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the course hugs the rugged coastline, providing wide-open vistas, cliffside fairways and sloping greens. It’s a real challenge players of every handicap.

Pebble Beach Golf Links also includes chipping and putting greens and the Peter Hay Par-Three Golf Course and practice range.


Pebble Beach Hole 8



For more info on this magnificent 8th hole and the rest of the great holes at Pebble Beach, follow that link to their website.

Karsten Creek Hole #1

Karsten Creek Hole #1Mike Holder (former Oklahoma State’s Men’s Golf Coach) convinced Tom Fazio to design one of the most challenging golf courses in the country.

On May 9th, 1994, Karsten Creek opened, and was named the “Best New Course” in the country by Golf Digest for that same year.

The zoysia fairways are cut from a forest of oaks, complemented by terrain that is unusually undulating for this part of the country.

The 110 acre Lake Louise comes into play on many of the spectacular holes.

Since opening in 1994, Karsten Creek has continued to receive accolades throughout the golfing community.

This straight ahead par 5 looks like a pushover … until you consider that it plays into a prevailing southerly wind.

From the tee box, it’s downhill, but the fairway slopes right to left and adds an element of danger to your tee ball.

Hitting your drive into the rough on the left or into the trees will stop any thoughts you might have of going for this green in two.

The green also happens to be about 40 yards deep, so three putts can be easily found here.

For more info or to visit the Karsten Creek website, follow that link and enjoy some great Oklahoma golf !