Wednesday, July 15, 2009

World’s longest golf course to open in Australia

MELBOURNE (AFP) – The world’s longest golf course, stretching along 1,365 kilometers (848 miles) of desert highway with holes at 18 towns and service stations, is to open in Australia this year, organizers said Tuesday.
The Nullarbor Links, which will span two time zones and measure more than the entire length of Britain, is expected to be completed next month and will host its inaugural tournament on October 22.
“We’re very excited about it. It’s been a long time coming and a lot of effort,” project chairman Don Harrington told AFP.
“This is the longest golf course in the world. It’s unique terrain, there’s something for everybody.”
The course, conceived five years ago “over a couple of beers,” is meant to attract tourists to the Eyre Highway which traverses the desolate Nullarbor Plain and hugs part of Australia’s southern coastline.
Golfers will stop at one roadhouse, play a hole, then drive on to the next tee—100 kilometers down the road in some cases. The par-71 course will take three or four days to complete with each player awarded a certificate.
Each hole will showcase a local attraction, from whale-watching to ancient fossil beds and a working sheep station, and include sights such as the Big Kangaroo statue at Border Village straddling South and Western Australia.
“There’s a lot of history and you can see all of that on a golf course,” Harrington said.
“Both Australian tourists and golfing enthusiasts around the world have shown support for what we’re doing.”
The course was the brainchild of Bob Bongiorno, who was managing a roadhouse at remote Balladonia when he came up with the idea.
Bongiorno, now living in Kalgoorlie at the course’s western end, said he tried hitting a few balls when he first moved into the Outback but got sick of encountering spiders when trying to retrieve them.
There should be no such hazards on the synthetic greens of the Nullarbor Links, although golfers who hit a stray shot into the desert will face a monster sand trap.

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