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Bunker down in a crazy golf hotel

By Paul Gittings, CNN
  • Architects are pushing the boundaries to supply the ultimate in golfing stays
  • A five star underground hotel on an existing golf course in Surrey in England sets a new trend
  • The Old Course Hotel at St.Andrews is an integral part of the golfing test on the famous links
  • Visitors to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit can also combine a golfing break

(CNN) -- Golf is a game which lends itself to luxury stays in swanky resorts, so not unnaturally the accommodation offered in its hotels and clubhouses is often of the highest standard with cutting edge architecture and design to the fore with no expense spared.

But there is also room for the quirky and downright odd so Living Golf has trawled the world to come up with some examples of the best on offer and the most unusual.

We have discovered there is something for everyone from the classic Old Course Hotel at St. Andrews to a planned five-star underground complex as well as a run-of-the-mill motel which can satisfy the needs of both petrol heads and golf lovers.

There are falcons rising out of the desert and lodges that can put golfers truly in tune with the wilds of Africa because everywhere golf is played, architects and entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries to attract customers to their complexes.

Let us know about any unusual golf hotels or destinations you have visited in the sound off box below.

Underground Golf Hotel in Surrey

In a rich stockbroker area, there are plenty of five star options for a pleasant stay, but this particular design envisages the entire hotel being buried under Hersham Golf Course, in Surrey, England.

There will be more than 200 guest rooms, luxury spa and leisure facilities, with the whole hotel covered by green grass to match the Green Belt surroundings.

"We are still at concept stage and hoping to get planning permission," Su Pecha, who represents the architects ReardonSmith told CNN, but she is hopeful the drawing board visuals will become a reality soon.

If completed it will certainly set a trend which others may well follow, but it fully deserves it inclusion in our list of the classic and offbeat.

Old Course Hotel St.Andrews

Living Golf likes to celebrate the very best of golfing and human achievement so it is only fitting that we feature the home of golf St.Andrews in Scotland and laud the historic attraction and enduring appeal of the Old Course Hotel.

Compared to the history of the links which date back to the 14th century, the hotel is itself is a young upstart, built in 1968, but since then it has accommodated just about every world class golfer to grace the hallowed turf in search of British Open glory.

But more than that, the hotel forms an integral part of the golf course, being a major hazard from the tee on the infamous 17th Road Hole at St Andrews.

The hotel is situated on the site of the old railway station and tram shed, though is now an office for hotel employees who must get used to the sold thud of a ball on their building!

The hotel itself offers superb facilities and was recently named in Forbes Magazine's World's Most Exclusive Hotels list.

It puts it on a par with the likes of The Ritz in Paris and the Casa Palmero in Pebble Beach, which itself is the choice for golfers wishing to play those legendary links which will host the U.S. Open again later this year.

The Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn

From the sublime we go to the not quite ridiculous, but a setting which is the polar opposite of the tranquility and rugged beauty of the Old Course.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit is known around the world as "The Brickyard" and has hosted a string of major motorsport events, including the famous Indy 500 and a Formula One Grand Prix.

Hallowed ground for petrol heads, but the Brickyard also hosts a championship-standard golf course within the confines of the circuit.

The Pete Dye-designed course is nearly 7,000 yards long and four of the holes are directly inside the track with a road crossing to the other 14.

Nearby accommodation is utilitarian, but for golfers and motorsport enthusiasts wanting to be as close as possible, The Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn serves a purpose.

It is built on two storeys and has 108 rooms and the room rate is considerably cheaper than St. Andrews.

Abu Dhabi National Golf Complex

Living Golf's third pick takes the golfer to the riches of Abu Dhabi where no expense has been spared to produce the best facilities that money can buy.

Built in 1998, the Abu Dhabi National Golf Course is now a fully mature oasis in a sea of sand.

It takes over two million gallons of water to keep it that way, but the feature of the course is the extraordinary "falcon crest" clubhouse with its host of restaurants, bars and luxurious leisure facilities.

It dominates the landscape of the course, which hosts an annual European Tour event, the building in the shape of a falcon which swoops down on a ball.

Legends Golf and Safari Resort

While the wonders of Abu Dhabi are manmade, the wilds of Africa encapsulate natural beauty and there is one destination in particular that leaves guests open mouthed in wonderment.

Rather than build a showpiece hotel and clubhouse, guests at the Legends Golf Resort in South Africa stay in individual lodges, close to a game reserve and adjacent to a challenging near 8,000 yard layout.

If that was not enough, the lodges close to the famous 19th signature 'Extreme' hole can witness at first hand a real golfing treat.

It requires a helicopter flight to play the par 3, which is at vertical height of 450 yards, giving breathtaking views and a rather challenging tee shot !

The golfers have to follow their ball with advanced camera technology before taking a helicopter trip back down to the green to putt out.