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Hardest Course You've Ever Played (in the U.S.)


Zeasy

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Wine Valley Golf Club near Walla Walla Washington is one of the U.S. Open Local Qualifier courses.  This course has hosted several major amateur events.  The fairways are usually generous, but you do not want to miss any of them!  The greens are as fast as anything I have ever putter on, except for Torrey Pines in 2008 before the US Open, and they are quite undulating.  It's about 40 miles away and a fun course to play IF you play the correct set of tees.  I've shot a million and I shot 78, one shot worse than my pro!  As you can see from the photo of #5 par 4, there is not a single tree on the course.  

 

Oddly enough, my two toughest holes are this course are this #5, the hardest hole on the course, and #14 a par 3; the easiest hole on the course!  On #5 that is not sand that runs along the fairway and by the green; that's a "wash".  It cleaned my clock!  The green on #14 is probably the most difficult to putt that I have ever experienced anywhere.  

 

 

5-gc.jpg

 

14-gc.jpg

 

new-scorecard.jpg

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Mmmmmmmm     Wine Valley....

Driver - :taylormade-small:   SIM2 Max 9° Tour MT 6-S   or   :srixon-small: ZX 7 9.5° Ventus VeloCore Blue S
Fairway - :srixon-small: ZX  3 wd. Ventus VeloCore Blue S

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7  Aerotech SteelFiber 110icw  4-Pw 1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX Zipcore Raw 50° 54° 58°  TTGDTI S400 1° flat

Putters -   Cameron Phantom 5x/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider
Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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Mmmmmmmm     Wine Valley....

Eugene Country Club is a lot closer if you are thinking of local qualifying. :lol:

 

Yeah, Wine Valley and Palouse Ridge at WSU are two great tracks separated by only a couple of hours.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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My hardest yet has come from Michigan. Arcadia Bluffs GC in Arcadia Michigan. Right on the Lake and brutal. Made the mistake of playing from the tips and hated life. Off the fairway a tad... oh you have a extremely awkward lie.

Scorecard.jpg

course.jpg

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My hardest yet has come from Michigan. Arcadia Bluffs GC in Arcadia Michigan. Right on the Lake and brutal. Made the mistake of playing from the tips and hated life. Off the fairway a tad... oh you have a extremely awkward lie.

 

That fairway looks perfect... said the short straight hitter.  :)

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Wine Valley Golf Club near Walla Walla Washington is one of the U.S. Open Local Qualifier courses.  This course has hosted several major amateur events.  The fairways are usually generous, but you do not want to miss any of them!  The greens are as fast as anything I have ever putter on, except for Torrey Pines in 2008 before the US Open, and they are quite undulating.  It's about 40 miles away and a fun course to play IF you play the correct set of tees.  I've shot a million and I shot 78, one shot worse than my pro!  As you can see from the photo of #5 par 4, there is not a single tree on the course.  

 

Oddly enough, my two toughest holes are this course are this #5, the hardest hole on the course, and #14 a par 3; the easiest hole on the course!  On #5 that is not sand that runs along the fairway and by the green; that's a "wash".  It cleaned my clock!  The green on #14 is probably the most difficult to putt that I have ever experienced anywhere.  

 

 

attachicon.gif5-gc.jpg

 

attachicon.gif14-gc.jpg

 

attachicon.gifnew-scorecard.jpg

 

Hey!  I get another shot at Wine Valley GC on Monday, all expenses paid, courtesy of my brother-in-law. However, there is no cart girl on Mondays.  :(    Weather is supposed to be 70 and sunshine!!!  

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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This is so easy - Bethpage Black before it's redo.  They should have just left it was is, not dressed it up - just let the guys have at it with the dirt tees, rock hard bunkers and approaches to the greens - if you missed a green it was going down, down, down into fescue.

 

I've played Arcadia Bluffs BTW - great course - very difficult.  I've also played Whistling Straits, that's a laugh riot too.

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Bethpage Black before the redesign was a beast and agree it was more conditions than layout. After the redo it is just brutal from any set of tees and playing it at the plaques is almost unfair. I would also put The Ocean Course from the tips and Philly Cricket Militia Hill from the tips on that list. For other reasons Merion and Aronimink would round out my top five.

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Another vote for Kaiwah ocean course, if its a little windy your in for a long day...  in a close second, Teeth of a Dog and Ko'olau  ....

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I'll second the suggestion for Ko'olau, on the east side of Oahu.  Lots of forced carries, and off the fairway is generally a lost ball.  From what I've read, it stays pretty wet due to its location on the windward side of the mountains, so there's little to no roll.

I got to play the Tournament Course at PGA West no long ago, expecting it to be really tough, but thought it was demanding but fair.  It seemed like there was adequate room off the tee, some bail-out room for most shots, but the closer you got to the green, the more precise you needed to be.  

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This ones a tie for me...

 

1A.

Bull Valley GC in Woodstock, IL

7,325 yards 77.2/151

Golf Digest toughest in America

Hazard and OB every hole, lots of blind shots.

Very stupidly played it a few years back in a state open qualifier sight unseen. Slight drizzle and overcast day with decent 15mph wind. Normally par or better gets out for these events but 79 made it out. I ran out of balls on 18 (bring 6 when I play) both of the kids I played with (one Boston College, the other TCU) didn't even come close to breaking 80. Rough day. Remember striping two balls down the middle (or so I thought) only to find out they were in water. Cool.

 

1B.

Fox Run GC, Eureka, MO

8,038 yards- no idea what the CR/Slope is from those tees

Normal 7,232 yards 74.6/144

They used to host a Big Dog Shootout here back when I played college golf, now I think it's no longer, but they still host numerous qualifiers and section events. I remember one par three was 300 yards, 285 carry over water. There were also par fives over 700 yards, one being 750+ iirc. It was a LONG day. Played the course again a few years later from the normal tips and it was still pretty difficult, but I'll never forget playing over 8,000 yards!

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I'll second the suggestion for Ko'olau, on the east side of Oahu.  Lots of forced carries, and off the fairway is generally a lost ball.  From what I've read, it stays pretty wet due to its location on the windward side of the mountains, so there's little to no roll.

I got to play the Tournament Course at PGA West no long ago, expecting it to be really tough, but thought it was demanding but fair.  It seemed like there was adequate room off the tee, some bail-out room for most shots, but the closer you got to the green, the more precise you needed to be.  

I have to play there, I was born there but moved when I was two.  I go to hawaii every 3 years for reunions but never go to oahu, that is the only reason I want to go to that island at all.

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I would say Chambers Bay, 7165, 75.6 and 139 slope is the "biggest" course I have played.  Handed me my butt, I can't explain it but it makes you feel miniature when your out there.  It is the most penalizing course I have played.  Looks wide open but anything less than B shots are going to produce a large number.  And it was dead calm the day I played it.  They only had the 6500 tees open, they wouldn't let people play the back two sets of tees the day I was there.  The USGA getting their hands on this and then adding 1000 yards is going to be brutal.  My yardages are the same as Justin Rose and 6500 yards almost killed me.  

 

2nd toughest is Jim Engh design in michigan called Tullymore.  7250 yards, 76.4 and a 150 slope!!!!   Disaster lurks everywhere.  Built on a marsh, greens are not that bad, every yard up to and around them is terrifying.  We tip out everything, every time and that one we only did it once.  Now we play one up from tips and it still is the 2nd or 3rd toughest course I have played.

 

Hawktree in Bismarck is a brutal and beautiful track as is Bully Pulpit in Medora and Links of North Dakota in Ray, ND.   All completely different, brutally hard and outstanding golf courses.  They have a "triple play challenge" we did last year.  All three have course ratings over 75!!  Its a tough weekend to say the least.  But bucket list type experience.

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No scorecard, I'm afraid, because it was more than 20 years ago...Spyglass...long, narrow, unforgiving and the greens were like glass...impossible to stop the ball near the hole...way tougher than Winged Foot West, Bethpage Black, Pinehurst #2, Troon North (Monument), Sebonac, etc. Pebble the next day was a walk in the park, even the 2nd shot over the chasm on 8...

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Tullymore was hard and fun at the same time.  I had one of my favorite post round lunches there.

 

TPC Sawgrass 3 days after the Pro's play was extremely hard.  The greens were fast still and the rough around certain holes was a 1 shot penalty.

 

Bethpage Black is physically a great test.  There are no carts and it demands steep walks up and down to tee boxes.  By the time 15 comes around, you are tired and that's when the course really gets brutal.

 

Greg Norman's River Course at the Rio Mar Resort was the most demanding 18 holes I have ever played.  I lost at least a dozen golf balls there.

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True Blue in Myrtle Beach, Tobacco Road in North Carolina and Royal New Kent in Virginia for me are three of the hardest I've ever played. When I lived in Maryland I played Links at Gettysburg and Whiskey Creek which are demanding. Here in Georgia, The Highlands at Arrowhead, Bradshaw Farms and The Frog are courses you need your A game for. One other was Branson Creek in Missouri. I believe they are renovating the course and will call it Buffalo Springs after the work is done. Really beautiful golf course and demanding.

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Irons - Cleveland Launcher CBX 4-PW Miyazaki Kua 6 / R Flex

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True Blue in Myrtle Beach, Tobacco Road in North Carolina and Royal New Kent in Virginia for me are three of the hardest I've ever played. When I lived in Maryland I played Links at Gettysburg and Whiskey Creek which are demanding. Here in Georgia, The Highlands at Arrowhead, Bradshaw Farms and The Frog are courses you need your A game for. One other was Branson Creek in Missouri. I believe they are renovating the course and will call it Buffalo Springs after the work is done. Really beautiful golf course and demanding.

 

Great list.  Played True Blue, Tobacco Road (and Tot Hill, Mike Strantz masterpieces) AND Royal New Kent,  Did you try and carry the hill on the left hand side on #1......  :)

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I have to also say Ko'olau on Oahu. I played the plantation course on Maui and shot 76. Two days later I played Ko'olau and actually hit the ball much better to only shoot 83. Lots of forced carries, jungle everywhere and sold greens and fairways on a long course. Brutal!

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I have to also say Ko'olau on Oahu. I played the plantation course on Maui and shot 76. Two days later I played Ko'olau and actually hit the ball much better to only shoot 83. Lots of forced carries, jungle everywhere and sold greens and fairways on a long course. Brutal!

 

could have been worse,  if the trade winds where blowing, it could have been a longer day.....  My best round out there was 77,  worst 90

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I was lucky and hit the best drive of the day straight through both hills. If not I was told by the starter hit another or drop between them because a couple of weeks earlier, a guy had tried to play off the hill and fell and broke his leg. Great way to start and finish a round. :(

 

Mike Strantz left us to early. What great golf course design and imagination. I also include Stonehouse (haven't played yet) and Caledonia which I have a half dozen times..

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