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The hardest holes in golf

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

March 16th, 2020

Professional golfers do things that average hackers can only dream of. That’s why it’s sometimes strangely satisfying to see the world’s best struggle a bit, and there are certain holes on world-class golf courses that can bring the best players on the planet to their knees. Without further ado, here is a list of five of the toughest holes in all of golf.

Hole No. 11, Augusta National

Par: 4

The first hole of Augusta National’s famed “Amen Corner” boasts one of the trickiest approach shots imaginable. Miss short, and your ball may go in the water. Go long, and a bunker is in play. Miss right, and you’ve got a devilish pitch over a slope to the undulated green.

The final two-thirds of Amen Corner offer chances for players to make up ground (especially the 13th, a par 5 that’s reachable in two). However, the 11th is a doozy, and its second shot can make the journey up the leaderboard considerably harder.

Hole No. 17, TPC Sawgrass

Par: 3

We couldn’t make this list without including one of the most famous par 3 holes in golf. This one houses the famed island green, and the lake surrounding it seems to swallow dozens of balls each day at the Players Championship. In fact, on one blustery day in 2007, 50 balls found the water, setting a record that has stood for more than a decade.

Hole No. 8, Pebble Beach

Par: 4

We could have chosen a number of holes at Pebble Beach, but Jack Nicklaus says the hardest approach shot on the course is on this one. After hitting to a section of fairway that comes up to a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, golfers must carry the hazard while also navigating between and around bunkers en route to a sloped green that sometimes forces short shots back downhill. Those who make par on this hole sometimes feel as though they’ve dodged a bullet, and it’s tough to disagree with that assessment.

Hole No. 14, St. Andrews (Old Course)

Par: 5

This long par 5 houses one of the Old Course’s most well-known bunkers. Ominously dubbed “Hell,” it sits about 100 yards from the green and presents shorter hitters with a dilemma. Those who attempt to clear it with their second shots and fail could be looking at a big number, such as the 10 Jack Nicklaus made here in the first round of the 1995 British Open. Meanwhile, those who lay up face a tough uphill approach to a green guarded by undulations and tinier bunkers.

Hole No. 19, Legend Golf and Safari Resort

Par: 3

We’ll finish with this one, and for good reason. Located in South Africa, this is a 437-yard par 3, and no, that isn’t a typo. Golfers take a helicopter to the tee box, located more than 1,400 feet in the air, and swing away toward a massive green shaped like the continent of Africa. As of 2018, none of the thousands of golfers to play this hole had recorded a hole-in-one, though 14 have made birdie (no easy feat considering tee shots take about 20 seconds to descend towards the green).


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