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20 miles SW of Pyongyang
Welcome, with advance notice
Constructed to a Japanese design in 1987 to celebrate the 75th birthday of former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, the Pyongyang golf course is cut into the wooded hills at the foot of Mount Sokchon, near the picturesque waters of Lake Thaesong.
It is the only public golf facility in the country but some say a course is laid out within the grounds of Kim Il Sung’s Mountain Myohang villa and Ryongsung resort plus mini layouts – like Yangkakdo and Nampo Wawoodo – have been sighted around the country.
Described as “a manicured shrine to one of sport's most capitalist pastimes in the world’s most hard-line Stalinist state,” Pyongyang is one of the most exclusive and least-crowded courses on the planet, effectively protected by half a century of international isolation and an army of over one million soldiers.
Kim Jong-il, who became the nation’s “Dear Leader” when his father Kim Il Sung died in 1994, is said to have played his first round of golf at Pyongyang a few months after his father passed away.
It was reported soon after that Kim’s astonishingly low score had included several holes in one! Now this may illustrate exaggerated deference to the nation’s number one politician on the Korean side or, on the other hand, it may just be a jolly jape spun by mischievous western media sources, who knows?