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


Zeasy

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Oak Tree National in Edmond Oklahoma for me. My first time ever playing a tournament quality course and I was not ready. Hit the green in the wrong place and it rolled off the green 20 yards. Landed in a few sandtraps with lips taller than me which forced me to hit out sideways. Loved it though. Would love to have another chance at it now that my game is better 5 years later. 

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A few years back I played the new and improved Kemper Lakes CC.We played the very back tees at a lengthened 7750 yards.Lets just say it was extremely long day.And the last time I ever played the back tees anywhere.A few holes I wasn't even long enough to get in the fairway . Which resulted in a pitch into the fairway from the US open style rough

Keep it in the short stuff

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Isn't royal New Kent closed at the moment?  I read something not long ago that a deal had been reached with a prospective new owner, but they indicate that the course won't re-open until next year sometime.  I've enjoyed that course every time I played it, it would be nice to see it in good shape again.

https://clubandresortbusiness.com/2018/06/sale-royal-new-kent-gc-reported/

 

 

That sucks, didn't know it shut down.  Is Stonehouse closed too?

Driver:   :taylormade-small: M3 Tensei CK Pro Blue
3-Metal:: :callaway-small: GBB EPIC, FujiKura Pro Green

5-Metal:  :cobra-small: F-7, FujiKura Pro

Irons:   :mizuno-small: MP-18 SC, KBS Tour 120

Wedges:  :cleveland-small:   RTX-3  52 - 56 - 60
Putter:  EVN-Roll ER-5

Ball :  :bridgestone-small: Tour B XS

Range Finder:  Busnnell Tour-X,  Garmin S20 

 

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That sucks, didn't know it shut down.  Is Stonehouse closed too?

I believe Stonehouse is closed as well, based on the article I linked.  

:titleist-small: Irons Titleist T200, AMT Red stiff

:callaway-small:Rogue SubZero, GD YS-Six X

:mizuno-small: T22 54 and 58 wedges

:mizuno-small: 7-wood

:Sub70: 5-wood

 B60 G5i putter

Right handed

Reston, Virginia

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An update to my "hardest" course since the recent experience out in Oregon...

 

Easily for me it is the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Pronghorn Resort near Bend. I'm still reeling from the thrashing we both took out there last Sunday... :wacko: Shoulda ponied-up and hired on the caddies... :angry:

In my       :ping-small: DLX Cart Bag:
Driver
:    :ping-small: G410 SFT, set to 9.5*, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 60, stiff (MGS Official 2019 Tester)
3W:          :ping-small: G-Series SF TEC, set to 16*, Aldila Tour Blue ATX, 65g, stiff
5W:          :ping-small: G400 SFT, set to 19*, Aldila Tour Blue ATX, 65g, stiff
7W:         :ping-small: G410 SFT, set to 22*. Alta CB 65 Red, stiff

Irons:       :ping-small: GMax, Green Dot, 5-PW, Project X Graphite Blue 6.0, 80-90g , stiff
Wedges: :ping-small: Glide 2.0 Stealth, 50* SS, 54* ES & 60*/8 Forged MGS Special from the Wedge Wizard, Green Dot, Alta CB graphite, 84g, stiff
Putter:     :ping-small: Vault 2.0 B60 Copper, 33", black dot w/GP SNSR grip (PING Sigma 2 Fetch under "see-trials")
Ball:       :Snell: MTB BLACK (MGS Official 2018 Tester for the :Snell: MTB RED)
Shoes:     :footjoy-small:  Classics Tour w/Black Widow Softspikes

Disabled Marine Veteran. Semper Fi!

#No apologies, just Play Your Best
#Powertotheplayers

 

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  • 1 year later...

I played Ko'olau a few times in the mid-90s when I was stationed there on a submarine (USS Buffalo SSN-715)! Played twice from the tips! I think at that time they siad from back there there were at least 9 forced carries of over 200 yards! I broke 90 (as a 4 handicap) the time I played with the son of the club pro/director of golf!

The Kaneohe Klipper is another nice course on Oahu for military folks, along with Leilahua (sp?). I played most at Hickam AFB and the Navy/Marine course. Hickam was not as crowded and very close to the Sub Base! Active duty E5/6 at Twilight was under $5.00!

Titleist AP2 718 - AMT White S300 Shafts, Standard Length and Lie

Rocketballz RBZ Stage 2 - 10.5 degrees, Stiff 60g Fujikura Rocketfuel Shaft

Right Handed

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Handicap - 7.8

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I should add that my vote for the toughest course was for Ko'olau! Back in the mid-90s, you could put in a bet (I think it was $5) and you'd win a golf bag if you made par on 18, and a staff bag if you made a birdie! That was a tough hole (2 carries of over 200 yards from the Black tees (drive to first fairway, and from fairway to green....back and forth over a wide ravine). This is the course that you can see from the Pali Lookout (directly below).

Titleist AP2 718 - AMT White S300 Shafts, Standard Length and Lie

Rocketballz RBZ Stage 2 - 10.5 degrees, Stiff 60g Fujikura Rocketfuel Shaft

Right Handed

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Handicap - 7.8

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It’s still Jupiter Hills (Hills Course) from the tips for me. Play it in the afternoon with winter winds and it’s a blast

 

77.1 / 150 slope & rating.

  • Titleist TSi3 Fujikura Speeder NX Blue 60X
  • TaylorMade SIM2 3 wood Fujilkura Ventus Blue 7-X
  • Titleist U505 2 Tensei 1K Black 85 X
  • Titleist T100 4-P Nippon Modus 3 120X
  • PING S159 50-S 55-H 59-T DG X100
  • Vokey SM8 50, SM9 54 & 60  Nippon Modus 3 120s
  • L.A.B. MEZZ Max Broom Accra 47" 79.5*
  • Srixon Z-Star XV 

Currently testing the 2024 PING S159 wedges…

https://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/63483-testers-announced-ping-s159-wedges/

Was testing, still loving the 2023 Titleist T100 Irons 4-P

https://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/60456-titleist-t-series-irons-2023-forum-review/

 

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Here's the scorecard for Ko'olau now. I'm pretty sure it's not the same as it was back in the mid 90s. Back then they advertised that it was built to be the toughest course in the world and that the slope rating  on the card was the maximum allowed 155 (at that time, not sure if that's still true), but it was actually higher, but I don't remember the number. I think it's changed owners several times since then and I think they tamed it a little bit, but ti still looks like a beast!

 

Thanks,

Mick

Koolau.jpg

Titleist AP2 718 - AMT White S300 Shafts, Standard Length and Lie

Rocketballz RBZ Stage 2 - 10.5 degrees, Stiff 60g Fujikura Rocketfuel Shaft

Right Handed

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Handicap - 7.8

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The toughest course is now closed forever, shocker. It was Thunder Hill in Madison, Ohio. Don't remember slope or anything, I know it was 7500 yards from the tips. It was a fish hatchery turned into a golf course, over 100 lakes on the property. Numerous holes with 250+ carries off the tee, nearly every green had a lake in front or next to it. Some lakes were hidden too. At one point it was on one of the golf magazines 100 toughest list.

The dumbest course I ever played is called Signature of Solon, in the Cleveland suburbs. The course is private and only 6500 from the blues, but there are only 5 holes I could hit driver on. The course is designed around protected wetlands, so at least it's not a penalty, but still lots of lost balls. The kicker is because it's protected areas they can't cut back any growth so tons of blind shots and forced carries. Prepare to wear out your 200 yard club if you play here, you'll hit it 70% off your full shots.

Take Dead Aim

Take Dead Aim

Driver: PXG 0211 10.5* 

Fairway: Titleist 917 F3 15*

Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro Boxer Gold 18*

Irons: MacGregor MT-86 Pro

Wedges: Vokey 50/54/58

Putter: SeeMore X2 Costa del Mar

Ball: Srixon Z-Star

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 That's a little over an hour from my house. Seems like a good location to have a meet-up with Columbus and Northern Ohio guys?
 
Satellite view looks very intriguing. It looks like some of the fairways neck down to barely more than 3 mowers wide. I assume that's not the target, but it would still be intimidating to look at.
Black diamond will chew you up, but I love mountain golf in central ohio.

Take Dead Aim

Take Dead Aim

Driver: PXG 0211 10.5* 

Fairway: Titleist 917 F3 15*

Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro Boxer Gold 18*

Irons: MacGregor MT-86 Pro

Wedges: Vokey 50/54/58

Putter: SeeMore X2 Costa del Mar

Ball: Srixon Z-Star

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TPC Sawgrass from the blues.  Great caddie reading all my putts.   I should have birdied one and two but I was so nervous I smoked them passed the hole.  Settled down and asked the caddie to help me with the reads and where to miss then things smoothed out.   I played some of my best golf ever, hitting all but one green in regulation and three putted three times.  I have never putted harder greens.  It was also in perfect condition.  We played 17 from the tips on our caddies recommendations, scariest 143 yard 9 iron ever, meant to play the middle of the green and flew it to the back right corner I was so amped up.  Worth every cent I paid to play.

20200405_234003.jpg

20191119_160718.jpg

Driver: Titleist TSR 3 10* Accura TZ6 M3 65g

Fairways: Callaway Rogue 15* & 19* Matrix Ozik TP 6 HD stiff 

Hybrid: Titleist TSI 4 & 5 Hybrids Mitsubishi Tensi AV 65 HY X stiff   

Irons:  KZG Forged III 6-P Accura iS7 (Refinished and regrooved)

Wedges: Cleveland CBX  50*, Taylormade MG 3 Tiger grind 56 bent to 54/10 & Taylormade MG 4 Tiger grind 56 bent to 58/14

Putter: Positive Putter's Custom P2 (think Edel putter meets Heavy Putter)

Ball: Callaway Chome Tour                        

All clubs have Winn Dri-Tac Wraps oversized

 

 

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Locally we do not have any courses i would say are too terribly hard in mid-northeast ohio. When i have traveled it was Harbor Town Golf Links. I haven't played Harbor Town in a few years but from what I remember it was narrow and long. I do not have a problem with distance but accuracy can lack sometimes.

 

Edited by Briton

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:vokey-small:-Sm8 (50,56,60)

:Miura:=4-PW TC-201

:mizuno-small:-2 iron HMB MP 20

:callaway-small:-Driver --Mavrik Sub Zero

 

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I have walked off Pinehurst #2 the few times I’ve played it like it was the most fun experience on a golf course only to realize, I took 90+ shots. But dang if it isn’t always a fun 90+ shots.

Primland and The River Course at VT always feel like cruel and unusual punishment!!!!!


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Tobacco Road is a beast. Ugly, yet beautiful to the eyes. Always within the top fifty toughest courses in the US. 

Titleist 917D3 Driver

Ping 3 wood

Nickent 3Hybrid

PXG Gen 3 Irons 3-PW

Ping Sigma 2 Blade Putter

ProV1x golf balls

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Bethlage Black hands down.

played right after the PGa championship last year and conditions were so hard with tiny fairways and rough so thick!

played again twice and still have to break 90 from the middle tees lol

:ping-small: G400 9.0 Alta CB 55g stiff

:ping-small: G400 3W Alta CB 65g stiff

:Sub70: Fairway Pro 5W Ust Mamiya V2 black stiff

:Sub70: 839X 4h Kbs TGI80

:Sub70: 639cb 5-PW Kbs TGI80

:Sub70: Forged Wedge  50.7 Kbs TGI80

:callaway-small: MD4 56.8, 60.12

PXG Bat Attack

:Snell: MTB-X

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is tough because course conditions and weather matter so much to this topic, and it almost makes it a bit too subjective. But, I'll play along and add a few:

Hardest course (Perfect conditions): Victoria National or Butler National

(Windy): Portmarnock (Ireland) or Whistling Straights 

 

Cobra King F9 - Fuji Ventus Blue 6X

Taylormade M3 - 15*: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 6X

Cobra F9 Speedback: Graphite Design Tour AD-IZ 6X

TM P760's 4-PW - Modus 120X

50* Vokey X100

53* and 58* Vokey SM8 X100

L.A.B. Putters 2.1 Directed Force

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Mt. Woodson in Ramona, California. Not a very long course, but about as narrow as they come and the greens aren't much easier. Lots of elevation change and forced carries off the tee on roughly 50% of the course. One of my favorite courses to play when I visit Southern California. First photo is the 3rd hole, 182 yard par 3 where anything but on the green is likely gone. Second photo is the 2nd hole, only a 304 yard par 4, but keeping your tee shot in bounds here is the challenge. It's a pretty long forced carry over tree tops to a very narrow fairway.

10.jpg

9.jpg

Driver - Mizuno JPX EZ
3/5 Wood - Mizuno JPX EZ
Irons - Cobra Forged One Length
Wedges - Titleist Vokey SM6 (50, 54, 58)
Putter - Ping Vault Arna

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BethPage Black, Its Brutal if you are not in the fairway.

Driver:   TaylorMade Qi10 MAX - 8.5 with Fujikura Speeder NX TCS 50 (Upcoming Testing of the new Terra Forza Shaft)
3 -Wood:  Sub70 949x 3 Wood 15 with Hrdz RDX Black Stiff
5-Wood:  Sub70 949x 5 Wood with Hrdz RDX Black stiff
4-Hybrid: Sub70 949x 4 Hybrid with Project X 5.5 Hybrid Stiff
Irons: Mizuno Pro 225 - 6-PW , w/Nippon Modus 105 Stiff
Wedges: Sub70 TAIII w/Nippon Modus 105 Stiff - 50 ,56, 60
Putter: L.A.B Mezz1, 34 in
Balls: MaxFli Tour X, TaylorMade Tour Response, TaylorMade TPx 
GPS:   Shot Scope X5 with Tracking

TESTED: SUB70 949X 5 Wood
TESTED: NIPPO N.S. Regio Formula MB+ 65 Stiff.
TESTED: SkyCaddie LX5 GPS Watch
TESTED: Bag Boy ZFT Bag

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On 4/5/2020 at 9:41 PM, Tsmithjr9 said:

The toughest course is now closed forever, shocker. It was Thunder Hill in Madison, Ohio. Don't remember slope or anything, I know it was 7500 yards from the tips. It was a fish hatchery turned into a golf course, over 100 lakes on the property. Numerous holes with 250+ carries off the tee, nearly every green had a lake in front or next to it. Some lakes were hidden too. At one point it was on one of the golf magazines 100 toughest list.

The dumbest course I ever played is called Signature of Solon, in the Cleveland suburbs. The course is private and only 6500 from the blues, but there are only 5 holes I could hit driver on. The course is designed around protected wetlands, so at least it's not a penalty, but still lots of lost balls. The kicker is because it's protected areas they can't cut back any growth so tons of blind shots and forced carries. Prepare to wear out your 200 yard club if you play here, you'll hit it 70% off your full shots.

Take Dead Aim
 

I remember playing Thunder Hill quite a bit back in the 80's and it was a treat and a nightmare.  You knew you had to be on top of your game or you were going to be in the mid -80's at best.

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The toughest for me is Bethpage Black.  We played it the year after Tiger won his open there.  I tried to play from the U.S. Open plaque tees, but that only lastest for 8 holes.  Between walking the hills and dealing with the gnarly rough, it was a long day.  The walk up the hill on the 15th so late in the round is just brutal.  

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Definitely the stadium course at PGA West.  Had to deal with a terrible wind all day that did not make the island green on 17 very fun at all.  Definitely enjoyed the layout and the design from one of the best in the game.

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I would probably have to say Cog Hill (Dubsdread) is probably the toughest course I've played.   It was extremely well conditioned, but several doglegs that required moving the ball both directions as the fairway was a must when I played for the rough was extremely penalizing.  Also, the greens were much faster than I am typically used to with a good amount of slope making it a must to land in the correct place.  

A local course that is tough is Purgatory Golf Club.  Driving the ball well is an absolute necessity as you can find yourself in some treacherous bunkers.  However, many more straight away holes and greens that are fairly large, so I find this course a bit easier than Dubsdread.  Plus, I play it much more often as it's only about 20 minutes from me.  See below example - number 17.

image.png.23abaa88b9ba081b8d52721bda51beb8.png

Driver:  image.png.3c6db1120d888f669e07d4a8f890b3f1.pngMavrik Sub Zero 9* (Set to 10) Ventus Blue 6X

2 Hybrid: :titelist-small: TSI3 Hybrid Tensei Blue 80 X (17.25*)

3 Hybrid :titelist-small: 818 H2 Hybrid Hzrdus RDX Black 6.5 (20.5*)

4 Iron -  :titelist-small: T200 4 Iron Graphite Design Tour AD IZ X Hybrid Shaft

Irons 5-PW:  :titelist-small: T100-S 5 - GW KBS Tour 130 X

Gap/Sand Wedge:  :titelist-small: Vokey SM6 49*  SM8 54* 

Lob Wedge:  image.png.3c6db1120d888f669e07d4a8f890b3f1.pngJaws 5 Wedge 58* DG Tour Issue Stiff

Putter:   :scotty-small: Phantom 5.5 34"      Pro Platinum Newport 2 35"      Taylormade Tour Black Spider 34"

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The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (RIP) is still the hardest course I've ever played.  

WITB

Driver: Titleist TSi2 9º w/ Diamana DF 60 TX

3 Wood: Titleist 915F 16.5º w/ Diamana Blueboard or Taylor Made 300 Mini 11.5º w/ Fuji Ventus TR Red

Hybrids: Callaway Super Hybrid 17º w/ Tensei Orange

Titleist 816 H1 21º w/ Diamana Blueboard or Srixon U85 w/ UST Recoil

Irons (6-43º): Titleist T400 w/ DG AMT Red

Wedges: 48º Vokey SM6, 54º SM8, 60º Tour Issued Hand Ground Vokey

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport Masterful Tourtype SSS CT A048277

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A course that doesn't even exist anymore, that's how hard it was.  The small town of Holyoke Minnesota.  Built by a hay farmer that decided he wanted to try golf course ownership instead.  A 9 hole course that cost $7 to play.  Par 36, with a course rating of 39 and a slope of 138.  Blind shots, including a double dogleg par 5 with both the first and second shot blind.  330 yard par 4, with a 90 degree dogleg left at the 300 yard mark.  The dogleg surrounded a pond about 20 feet or more below the fairway, with 40 foot tall pine trees guarding the green everywhere except the dogleg opening, and a green so sloped down to the pond it would only hold the ball from rolling off because the greens were running about 5 on a stimpmeter.  180 yard par 3 with a pond dead center in the middle of the flight path with a 40-50 foot tall pine tree growing out of the middle of the pond.  A 360 yard par 4 that had the teebox completely in the open, and the fairway cut out of the forest that narrowed to about 25 yards wide halfway to the hole.  Basically hitting into a funnel.  Gee, a course like that in an unincorporated township of about 100 people.  Wonder how they didn't make it?🙂 

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Ko’olau in Oahu.  Almost no rough before jungle=lost ball.  I don’t lose many but lost at least 6 that day.  78.2/155 from the tips.  We were on vacation played blue tees and it kicked our arses.  Used to have the highest slope in the US at one time. 

Ping G410 LST

Callaway Mavrik 4 wood

Callaway MAVRIK 3/4 hybrid

TM P790 5-AW

Ping Glide 2.0 54 & 58

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Inclined to say TPC Sawgrass, but it was a rainy day so I don’t know how much to factor that into the equation. For some reason The Harvester in Iowa put a beating on me. Very windy day and first time playing it gave me nightmares on distances, etc.

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Pinehurst #2 for me, although have not played Bethpage Black...  When I looked at during the US Open, Bethpage was the most intimidating courses I've ever seen.  Looking forward to getting the opportunity to play there.

Handicap 12

Location:  North Carolina

Driver:  TaylorMade M3 Fuji Speed Shaft R Flex

3-Wood: TaylorMade M3 Fuji Speed Shaft R Flex

Hybrids:  TaylorMade GAPR Mid, GAPR Hi

Irons:    TaylorMade P-790 5-PW, Oban Shafts, R+ Flex

Wedges:  Cleveland RTX 56 Full Grind, Oban shafts, Cleveland RTX 60, Mid Grind, Oban Shaft

Putter:  Odyssey DF-550

 

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Wickenburg Ranch in AZ. 

GARSEN GRIP TESTER

  • Driver: PING G400 MAX, Ventus Blue 6x
  • Woods: COBRA F6 Baffler AD DI 8S
  • Hybrid: CALLAWAY Apex Pro, Ventus Blue 8s
  • Irons: SRIXON ZX5 mk2 5-6, ZX7 mk2 7-PW, Modus 120x
  • Wedges: EDEL 50 C grind, 54 V grind, CLEVELAND 60 RTX6 Low
  • Putter: YES Abbie!
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