Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dear Leader's 11 "holes-in-one"

Reuters suggests that golfers might get a kick just from teeing off in the world's most reclusive state. The trouble is there may not be too many golfers at the picturesque Diamond Country Club golf course in North Korea due to international sanctions that followed Pyongyang's October 9 nuclear test.

Despite the difficulty of reaching the course -- only by bus across one of the world's most heavily defended borders -- it has one great attraction for golf-mad South Koreans: it is cheap.

The price of membership is up to $21,120, a snip compared to a minimum of $250,000 for a standard club membership south of the border. (Membership fees in South Korea can rise to as much as $1 million at exclusive clubs.)

The course will have 19 holes instead of the usual 18. The extra hole -- the 14th -- has been dubbed the "unification" hole, a reference to bringing the two halves of Korea closer since they were divided during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

That hole is designed so that all the golfer need do is knock the ball onto a special "green" and it will automatically tumble in for a guaranteed hole-in-one. No putting required.

But that would still be a long way off the achievement of Kim Jong-il, the "Dear Leader" whose considerable feats -- including on his first round of golf when he reportedly hit 11 holes-in-one -- are frequently cited by North Korea's official media!

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