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Australia to fund world's longest golf course

The project to build the world's longest golf course, across 1,300 km (850 miles) of treeless desert, received a welcome boost on Wednesday when the Australian government offered seed funding for the venture, as part of a project to help severely drought-affected outback communities.

The 18-hole course - to be called the Nullarbor Links - will stretch along the Eyre Highway which crosses the arid Nullarbor Plain in the south of the continent, with one hole placed in each town and petrol station along the way, and one at a remote sheep farm.

Keen golfers who tee off in the Western Australian mining town of Kalgoorlie will end their round in the South Australian south coast town of Ceduna, more than 1,300 km to the east.

Driving non-stop at the authorised speed limit, it would take 13 hours to cover the distance, including one section between the 6th green and the 7th tee of 125 miles, believed to be the longest stretch of straight road in the world.

"The Japanese are prepared to play golf on a rooftop, that's how keen they are. Can you imagine? They'll be flocking in hordes to get over here and play this," course promoter Alf Caputo told Australian Associated Press.

Caputo, from the Eyre Highway Operators Association, said the golf idea had been dreamt up to promote remote-area tourism and encourage people who drive across the Nullarbor Plain to stop and see the local towns.

He said four holes were already in play, but he hoped the full 18 holes would be operating by mid-2008 at a total cost of A$800,000 (340,808 pounds).

Australian Tourism Minister Fran Bailey announced A$331,000 in government funding for the project on Wednesday, saying the money would be used to help promote the golf course and pay for signs and fixtures at each hole location.

The Nullarbor Plain, named for its lack of trees, is the world's largest flat bedrock surface, covering about 270,000 square km and featuring about 250 km of steep ocean cliffs on its southern edge.

September 20, 2007



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