Bunabhainneadar tennis court, Scotland
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Isolated on the windswept shores beneath the North Harris mountains, this artificial court is possibly the most remote in the world. Still, it’s is available for hire every day bar Sundays and coaching can even be organised if you fancy a game. Even the country’s premier tennis family are fans, with Judy Murray – Andy’s mum – stopping by last time she was in the region.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, India
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It seems a stretch to call a stadium of any kind “beautiful” rather than “fascinating” or “quirky” but HPCA’s rainbow-hued stands and seats in Dharamshala, paired with the snow-capped mountains towering in the backdrop, make it worthy of the adjective.
Il San Pietro di Positano tennis court, Italy
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Il San Pietro Di Positano is the only hotel on this stretch of the Amalfi coast to have a private beach with direct access to the ocean, but that’s not the only outdoor activity that will pry you from your luxe digs. There are few better places to soak up the sun while you have a hit than its private tennis court, tucked between craggy cliffs and overlooking an impossibly blue, calm bay.
Adidas Futsal Park, Japan
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Bathed in fluorescent light from the billboards and office buildings that define the Shibuya skyline, a squat sanctuary for soccer lovers sits atop a department store in Tokyo. The Adidas Futsal Park proves you don’t need expansive grasslands to construct a perfectly functional pitch. It’s a favourite stop-off spot for touring amateur players and even made an appearance in 2006 rev-head film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course, Australia
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The greens at this 18-hole course are, in fact, black, and rumour has it that some lucky hitters have spotted a precious opal peeking through the red dirt. Given the rocky, dusty terrain golfers need to contend with, each game is played with a “rock relief” rule in place, which means if the balls gets stuck among a cluster of stones, it can be dropped at the nearest point of relief before the next hit.
Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Mexico
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It’s not the 51,000-seat stadium itself that earns this Monterrey sports field a spot on the list but the view fans are treated to if they manage to nab a seat in just the right position. Sit yourself at the north end and as the players dart below, look up and you’ll see the undulating slopes of the Cerro de la Silla Mountain.
The Float, Singapore
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What do you do when your city doesn’t have enough space to build a football stadium? You simply construct one on top of the harbour. Even though The Float’s proportions perfectly match a football field, few matches have actually been played on its surface on the edge of Marina Bay. Instead, it’s more often used for a variety of concerts, parades and other performances.
Henningsvær Idrettslag Stadion, Norway
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Miss a goal when you’re kicking around this spectacularly positioned soccer field and you’re in luck – the fishing racks locals use to dry cod might catch a stray ball. Less than 500 people live in the teeny village of Henningsvær of Hellandsoya Island but with turf like this, it’s a safe bet a lot of them play soccer.
Floating football pitch, Thailand
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Your striking skills will need to be on point here – overshoot the net and the ball will be swept up by the waves that surround this bobbing field. It’s found on Koh Panyee, a “floating” settlement of stilt-supported buildings hovering mere inches above the sea. Back in the ‘80s, a group of kids with football fever cobbled together the first version out of old fishing rafts and driftwood; it’s been upgraded since thanks to the sport gaining traction in the village.
Queenstown Events Centre, New Zealand
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Players across a range of codes – cricket, rugby, league – are lucky enough to test their skills beneath the iconic Remarkables, a mountain range that runs throughout the Otago region on New Zealand’s south island. If the slopes weren’t distracting enough, the outdoor fields are also adjacent to the international airport, ensuring that scores of planes zoom in the background of every game played there.
Stadion Gospin Dolac, Croatia
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If you tire of the beaches on the Dalmatian Coast (if that is in fact possible), make your way inland to discover some of the country’s hidden gems, like this picturesque field in Imotski. Although the lime-green turf appears to have simply sprung, perfectly formed, from the ground, it was actually purpose built in the natural valley between these sheer limestone cliffs in 1989.
Svangaskarð, Faroe Islands
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Though fewer than 1000 people call the town of Toftir on these isolated isles home, the sprawling stadium outside of town can hold more than 6000 people – which it did when the Faroe Islands played against Malta back in 1998. It might not be the national stadium any longer (that would be Tórsvøllur, built in 1999) but its waterside location sets it apart from more cookie-cutter stadiums elsewhere in Europe.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City
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Work up a sweat as you admire the glittering lower Manhattan skyline from the collection of sports field on Pier 5, including spaces for soccer, lacrosse, rugby and even ultimate Frisbee. There are opportunities to drop in for a game all day, just check the park's website for the most up-to-date match schedule.
TJ Tatran Čierny Balog stadium, Slovakia
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As you sit on the benches watching a game, the steam rising up in front of you isn’t coming out of an angry fan’s ears but rather the train chugging past in front of this stadium’s seating area. Yes, the train. The track came first and the ground was built around it, ensuring the amateur team are so good at blocking out distractions that a rowdy crowd couldn’t possibly deter them from their goal.
Uummannaq Golf Course, Greenland
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Sand bunkers look positively helpful compared to the obstacles this wintery terrain presents. About 600 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle – so, fairly chilly – the course features icebergs, snow drifts and metres of powder. Don’t worry too much about losing your ball in the white expanse, on this course golfers use neon balls that are easier to spot. Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images