As reported on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's morning current affairs program AM, North Korea has become so short of cash that they've begun hocking tourist packages at $1000 apiece to play the North Korean Amateur Golf Open.
There the punters can try and better North Korea's Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il, who according to popular local legend holds the course - and world - record, having completed the eighteen holes in a flabbergasting 38-under. His round, apocryphally taking place at the course's opening twenty years ago, included an even-more-poleaxing 11 holes-in-one. That round's total betters the previous record by Norman Manley, who's best year was 1979 where he aced four holes. Texan Mancil Davis allegedly holds the PGA World Record for aces with 51 career-spanning one-shot holes; so for the cartoon supervillain featured in Team America: World Police to smash eleven in one round is obviously a fabrication but such a fun one that you can't help finding it endearing, rather than another example of a corrupt and vicious regime. The shell-suited one is the subject of stories the North Korean equivalent of "Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door". That the dictator's dauphin, Kim Jong-Un, almost a carbon copy of the Dear Leader, is immortalized in state-produced pop songs as the perfect man yet more proof of the gun-induced nationalistic fervour of North Korea.
The -38 Kim Jong-Il recorded - 34 off the stick - is another world record. By 21 strokes. Apparently a score of 55 is "commonplace", but no-one's ever verified a 54 but surely plenty of shysters have claimed they've managed it.
North Korea's sporting seclusion has ended with a bang in the last eighteen months as they competed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a respectable performance against sumo-weights Brazil but being dismantled completely by Portugal. Nonetheless, the talents of some of their players raised eyebrows. Now they are inviting the outside world inside the iron venetians to profiteer from them as the last of their money disappears. The last players to play the course were South Koreans, one of whom was shot dead when she strayed into a forbidden area.
You couldn't make it up.
PS. Click here for more Kim Jong-Il facts.