Golf has been played for centuries, and is played by 55 million people, in 206 countries worldwide. A little known fact is that a study from Sweden showed that the average golfer lives 5 years longer than those that don’t play, regardless of age, gender, and earnings.
But while conditions in Scotland were tough for professionals at the Old Course in St Andrew’s leading to the British Open finishing a day late, they were positively clement compared to what awaited us in Mongolia. The Genghis Khan Country Club is elaborately named, and hosts one of 4 golf courses in Mongolia. However it was not golf as we know it, with temperatures dipping to -40, where celcius and farenheight meet and the greens were completely frozen just as we hoped.
After a few rapid practice swings, with the Terelj Gorge and the Khenti mountains as a backdrop we set off to play. Standard equipment would not work in these conditions, so we were grateful to Titleist for the bright yellow golf balls, and winter beanies, and to Footjoy for their winter gloves. These have now been tested in the coldest conditions and helped us enormously. Nevertheless preferred lies were in operation as the balls frequently lodged in the snow, and the ball travelled a shorter distance possibly due to the extreme sub-zero temperatures. A new form of golf has emerged called speedgolf- a combination of golf and playing as quickly as possible, which is pretty much what we did to counter the conditions.
Paul Dunstan, an associate championship director with the European Tour golf played the best round of the day, including chipping in off a TV camera, taking the crown from David Scott who had come out on top at Wild Golf Namibia, where golf was played in temperatures of +40 degrees, in the world’s largest bunker, the Namib desert. Future events are tentatively planned for the Himalaya, and the Salt flats of Bolivia.