Jan 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

DISCLAIMER | This post has nothing to do with food or Italian lifestyle, so it doesn't fit Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino proper. If a mouthwatering recipe or a traditional Roman custom is what you came for, be prepared to find out about something completely different. Today I want to talk about a place I found out about a few days ago. And tell my dad about it.

My dad is a golfer. Ever since I can remember, he has loved the sport. He not only plays once a week, lives in the Monterey Bay–which is golfers' heaven–but he goes as far as enjoying golf on TV (which to me is a mystery, why do the announcers whisper as someone is taking a putt or a drive, when they are actually secluded in a media box somewhere far, far away from the golfer?). One of my father's earliest parent-proudness moments came when aged 10, I hit a Par 2 Birdie in a children's tournament in L.A.

So since today is his birthday–and this post is about a mind-blowing golf course in South Africa, which I am sure he'll appreciate learning about–I want to share it here and dedicate it to him.

I've noticed that over the years, golf has conquered some pretty treacherous terrain, from the sheer cliffs of Scotland, to the portable slabs of grass from hole to hole in an Australian desert town, to the moving ice floes on an island in Northern Greenland—but I may have found the most gobsmacking setting of them all.

Here's a hint: your golf cart is a helicopter...

Introducing the world's steepest Par 3 golf hole: The Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa, teeing off now from Hanglip Mountain.

Think of it as a piece of Pebble Beach dropped onto the African plains and then perched on the edge of a skyscraper-sized cliff. To get to the tee box, golfers take a six-seat chopper to a peak roughly the height of the Empire State Building. That puts the ground-level green more than 1,200 feet away and adds a much needed dose of danger to the game—if you slice, you may have to tussle with a rhino to get your ball back.

When you get down to the green (again via the chopper), you'll notice it looks familiar: it's a map of Africa, outfitted with the Continent's exact peaks and valleys, which raises the possibility of banking a putt off Kilimanjaro—or leaving a divot where the Sphinx quietly guards the pyramids.

After you've finished off the full course, you'll have a whole wildlife preserve at your disposal, not to mention a luxury resort complete with lakeside cottages, villas on stilts, spa, photo safari jaunts and a fire-walking workshop that will take you tiptoeing over real live 200-degree coals (still less painful than hitting a bunker).

And finally here's the video that made me want to pack my 9-iron and leave today. Look at what it feels like to tee off the 19th hole at Legends.

I hope all my other readers won't mind this small digression from the usual pots and pans.

I'm having fantasies of us playing this course together soon.

Happy birthday, Dad.


The Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort
Entabeni Safari Conservancy, Mookgophong, Waterberg Region
Lompopo, South Africa
+27 (0) 11 729 6700
for more Extreme 19th information click HERE


  1. happy birthday to your dad!

    that looks amazing! i grea up playing par 3 golf...but never ran into anything like that. what a cool vid too!

    happy monday!

  2. Wow, lovely Lola, that is enough to make me actually WANT to play golf (someone catch Guy as he faints, please!)

    Your Papa looks like the sort of gentleman one could sit down with over a good lunch and talk until nightfall. His is a face that is not only handsome, but warm and filled with light and laughter. Happy, happy Birthday to him!

  3. Well, first of all, happy birthday to your dad! And then, digressions are always welcome. I'm not a foodie anyway, I read your blog because I enjoy your writing...on whatever subject!

  4. Hello hello! It's been too long since I've visited you. I'm glad to see you are well! And I wish your father the very best of birthdays!

  5. Cool. 19th hole? That's usually what they call the bar/pub over here!

    I used to play a course with a similar feature, although nowhere near as extreme. The tee was on a high hill - it was a par 5 - and the safe shot was down to the fairway on the left, then two short shots to the green. If you had the guts of the Lone Ranger, you could attempt to drive your ball over a large body of water on the right, directly to the green, and perhaps have a shot at a rare double-eagle. But, you had to hit it perfect. Too short and you went in the water, penalized a stroke, and too long you were down in a valley beyond the green. Fun.

  6. What a sweet post, Happy Birthday to your Dad Lola!
    He'll love your intention, and I'm hoping that someday (soon) your wish will come true.
    The soup in your previous post is going to be made by me very soon!
    xoxoxo lori

  7. Amazing post! I am not a golfer but looks like fun!
    Happy birthday to your Dad :)

  8. Happy Birthday to your Pa`pa. Golf? Ah! He'll appreciate knowing about Bandon Dunes.

  9. Wow!
    I hate golf, but my 2 brothers (who play together when they can) would love this!
    Nice digression.
    And Happy Birthday to your Dad.

  10. Your Dad's a lucky guy... to have such a thoughtful, golfing daughter... ! Even if golfing among the lions must be a little nerve jangling... when your cry of "Fore !" is answered by a roar !

  11. Happy Birthday to your dad. He's a very lucky guy!

  12. Oh, wow, that made me dizzy just looking at the video! What a golfing adventure!!! Happy Birthday to your dad!

    And thanks for your comment on my painting - I love that she resonated with you!! :)

    Hugs, Silke

  13. And, well, D'Oh!

    I see, in re-reading my comment (that's just the sort of egomaniac I am - I come back here and read MY stuff) that I didn't wish a Happy Birthday to Your Dad! What a dope I am! So...


  14. Lola all I could think while reading this is how much my Dad would have enjoyed something like this. He too was a big golfer.

    Love you and Happy Birthday to your Dad.

  15. Thank you everyone for your comments and happy birthday wishes to my dad. Despite the number of candles he's blown out on the cake, he's still inexperienced when it comes to internet, computers and such. He reads my posts because he gets them automatically emailed to his inbox, and that already was a breakthrough. He thinks that's what my blog looks like and it bothers him that in my header he sometimes reads "&" instead of just the ampersand symbol &.
    He's been to the site finally but has not perused your comments yet. That will take a whle other tutorial.

    I will read them to him over the phone, I promise.

    Ciao and again thanks!

  16. I know exactly where it is! Driven past it before on my way to the bush.

    I'll pick you and Dad up at OR Tambo International Airport. . . . let me know flight arrival details!


  17. Happy birthday to your dad, Lola. He looks great - sophisticated (just like his daughter). And yes, I can pick that up from one small photo.

    It made a real change to see the golf course photos - they were amazing enough for me to see why people would want to spend hours wandering around knocking a little ball into a hole

  18. Lola, I always enjoy when your blog takes a personal hook. Your father is beautiful and your golf course, strange and beautiful. Yes, you two go and enjoy each other.