Reporter revisits world's most dangerous golf course

By Walter T. Ham IV, 8th U.S. Army Public AffairsDecember 13, 2012

Reported revisits world's most dangerous golf course
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP BONIFAS, Panmunjom, South Korea -- The reporter who first called the golf hole here at Camp Bonifas the "World's Most Dangerous Golf Course" in a 1988 Sports Illustrated article returned to this northern most military post in South Korea to cover the course, Sept. 10.

For the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics, veteran sports reporter Shelly Smith revisited the famous golf course to film a story for ESPN's upcoming Veteran's Day coverage. The austere course - a one-hole, 192-yard par-three - is located just south of the world's most heavily armed border.

As Smith can attest, the most dangerous golf course in the world isn't one with unfathomable hazards, unplayable roughs or unreadable greens. The most dangerous golf course in the world is one here where an extra long drive can land your ball in a mine field, a slice can lob it into a hillside Army bunker and a hook can deposit it in a ginseng field.

The Los Angeles, Calif., based ESPN reporter said the Camp Bonifas Golf Course hasn't changed much in 21 years.

"It's about the same," said Smith, who was the assistant sports editor at Pacific Stars and Stripes before moving to Sports Illustrated.

Smith's 1988 article is displayed in the Camp Bonifas briefing room and on the golf course sign.

United Nations Command Security Battalion Commander Lt. Col. John Rhodes said he welcomed the chance to host Smith and the ESPN crew.

"Shelley Smith's story is a part of our history and heritage," said Rhodes. "It was great to have her and the ESPN team here at Camp Bonifas."

During three days of U.S. Army coverage in South Korea, the ESPN crew covered the golf course and the sports activities of the Security Battalion Soldiers who guard the Joint Security Area. They also filmed a 2nd Infantry Division Tae Kwon Do Team demonstration and greetings from 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldiers at Camp Casey.

The Camp Bonifas feature will appear on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Nov. 8 and the Camp Casey segments will be featured during Veteran's Day week.

Smith, who has covered everything from the Olympics to the Final Four, said she enjoys reporting on the military and having the chance to thank the troops and their families for their service.

"It's better than covering the Super Bowl," said Smith.

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