What? Golf in North Korea?!
The life of a North Korean tour leader is a strange yet very busy existence. It is a pretty rare occurrence to have a day off while touring in Pyongyang. Luckily for me, this is exactly what happened on one hot August day in 2016. I therefore decided that I needed to do something memorable for myself. I needed to play golf in North Korea.
I’d seen and done nearly everything there is to see in Pyongyang, but something major had alluded me – the golf course. The only one in the country.
The very golf course where General Kim Jong Il had shot 11 holes in one in 1987. Don’t believe me? Ask the 17 bodyguards who witnessed it.
The golf course is 27km south west of Pyongyang. A drive along the newly upgraded Youth Hero highway and a little off -roading leads you up to the imposing, triangular shaped clubhouse.
In North Korea, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a group of 20 or on your own, two Korean guides and a driver will accompany you everywhere you go. A trip to the golf course by myself was no different. I felt like Tiger Woods getting chauffeur driven with my entourage to the first tee of the masters, straight from the hotel. The green fee? €100 – a bargain.
It’s at this point where I was introduced to my female caddies for the day (yes that’s plural). I should point out; one is actually a scorekeeper and the other one drags your bag around and marks your ball. All entirely unnecessary, but an essential part of the experience.
The girls would cheer every time I hit a successful shot and would be close to tears every time I fluffed my lines. It was quite nerve wracking as I just wanted to make them happy. Not a word of English between them, but it didn’t matter, we were fluent in hand signals and body language. I was the first foreigner they had ever caddied for.
If only there had been another golfer on the course I could have shared my joy with.
Anyone can play golf in North Korea, get in touch to add on an independent extension to any of our tours!