EX­TREME SPORT

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The dra­matic Ex­treme 19th hole is just one of many chal­lenges fac­ing golfers at South Africa’s Leg­end Golf & Sa­fari Re­sort.

THE VIEW FROM THE DRA­MATIC 19TH HOLE IS JUST ONE OF MANY AT­TRAC­TIONS – AND CHAL­LENGES – ON OF­FER AT SOUTH AFRICA’S LEG­END GOLF & SA­FARI RE­SORT.

To play the Ex­treme 19th, a bonus hole at South Africa’s Leg­end Golf & Sa­fari Re­sort, you take a he­li­copter to the peak of a red-hued sand­stone moun­tain. The tee box at the top af­fords a view of the 22,000-hectare Entabeni Sa­fari Con­ser­vancy – and the 365-me­tre ver­ti­cal drop to the green. The Sig­na­ture course is no­table for more than just its bonus hole, how­ever. The lay­out is a first-of-its-kind col­lab­o­ra­tion among 18 PGA Tour pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing Padraig Har­ring­ton, Vi­jay Singh, Colin Mont­gomery and Jim Furyk. A de­signer cre­ated the ba­sic foot­print and then each golfer shaped one of the course’s holes into his own de­sign. Al­to­gether, the lay­outs form a course of ele­phan­tine di­men­sions, run­ning some 7,772m through the bush at the foot of Han­glip Moun­tain. Fences shield the Sig­na­ture course from lions and other na­tive preda­tors that roam the sur­round­ing Entabeni Game Re­serve, about three and a half hours’ drive from Johannesburg, but golfers en­counter freely roam­ing gi­raffes, ze­bras, wilde­beests and other be­nign crea­tures through­out the grounds. The re­serve it­self forms the bulk of the greater Entabeni Sa­fari Con­ser­vancy and spans moun­tains, bush, lakes and streams. But the Ex­treme 19 is its most mem­o­rable. At 704m, the world’s high­est par 3 is also the long­est. Depend­ing on wind con­di­tions, the hole re­quires the equiv­a­lent of a 250m-275m shot. A short fair­way rolls down to the green, which is shaped like the African con­ti­nent and framed by sand. Staff at the tee box com­mu­ni­cate via walkie-talkie with a caddy ranger po­si­tioned near the green to lo­cate balls. Play­ing the Ex­treme 19th costs about NZ$390, a sup­ple­ment to the $86 fee for a round on the Leg­end Sig­na­ture course. The price in­cludes the chop­per ride and a DVD record­ing of your ex­pe­ri­ence. Ac­tu­ar­ies say the odds of a hole in one are one in 100,000, but the fig­ure to note is US$1 mil­lion – the prize the Leg­end re­sort will award to any­one who achieves the un­likely feat.

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