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Whats the hardest course you have ever played?


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On 10/1/2021 at 3:01 PM, Schley said:

My own list is short. Royal County Down

 

It is just too tough for the average golfer IMO. Gorse everywhere and with a caddie I lost probably 12 or more balls. The wind makes it multiples harder than the yardage, when you combine the accuracy needed. Who am I to say anything bad about RCD other than it is nuts hard. Honestly I didn't enjoy it and wanted to, was miserable after realizing the game is too tough for what I can do there.

Good to hear as I’ll be playing there in a month…In the cold…and probably the rain. I’m a plus handicap but plan to move to the tees around 6500 yards just not to punish myself the entire day. 
 

My hardest courses are similar to others here. Bethpage Black I’ve played 8 times from the tips and have yet to shoot a score that started with a 7. Just have to be long and straight all the time. Can’t miss or you are playing for bogey from there. 
 

Next in line is probably Torrey South from the tips. If you haven’t gotten theme to my hardest courses yet, it’s long (7200+ length), penal rough and tiny greens. 
 

Finally, I’ll say that I played Erin Hills from 7500 yards in a 20 mph wind and it just ate my lunch. Probably the most grueling round I’ve ever played. But the first courses were harder than Erin. 

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I completely agree re Royal County Down.  It is a beautiful course, with some stunning views.  The greens have less contour than most in Ireland but they are typically in GREAT condition, which makes putting fun.  It sure receives high rankings... #1 in the world at one point in one list.  But I am with Shley - it's too damn hard.  Even with no wind one is bound to lose a few balls in the gorse and in high wind?  Fugettaboudit..... I say this as a 3.9 index, decent player.  It's too damn hard.

 

But is it the hardest I've ever played?  I don't think so.  I can think of three that crushed me worse.....

 

Portmarnock

Shinnecock Hills (from tips)

 

But each of those is kids' stuff compared to the old Bayonet course at Fort Ord (CA).  That was the most brutal test of golf as can exist.  It was choked by trees with underbrush right up to the fairways... miss a fairway and unplayable lie was your best outcome.  It had a few painfully hard doglegs where the only way to get a clear second shot was hit the ball 200+ yards into a 15 yard box.  These days it's been neutered... most would call it a better course... but god I miss the old b****.

 

 

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Wolf Run outside of Indianapolis. Unfortunately it’s no longer open. They struggled with membership mainly due to difficulty. No one outside of a few low handicaps had any desire to play there 3-5 times a week. 
 

Par 71 Smyers design. The front tees were 6100, 71.6 with a slope of 138.
7215, 77.6 and 145 slope form the backs. Says a lot about the difficulty despite not being crazy long. Played the back tees 4-5 times. As a 4 handicap my best round was an 84. 
 

Jack Leer was the original owner. Former crooked stick member and a dentist. The dentist part should tell you all you need to know! 
 

 

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21 hours ago, YMark said:

 

I'm currently a 7.3 and am playing there in a February tournament. Looks like I'll have my work cut out for me. 

Just pray that it isn't very windy (which would be rare there).
Could be a long day.  I know it is for me but I hit the ball pretty high and don't spend enough time practicing knockdown shots.
I'd spend some time practicing low ball shots and getting your distances down.  Good luck to you and have fun!

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The two most difficult that I recall playing are Pine Valley and The Country Club (Brookline).

 

The rough at the Country Club was brutal, high and thick.. Even just off the greens it was thick and made controlling chips difficult. I'd love to play it again when it wasn't set up for a tournament. I think it's the highest score I've had without losing a ball. The caddies wer unbeleiveble in tracking errant shots, even when they went into the high fescue.

 

Pine Valley was a thrill to play but is long and the bunkers extremely challenging.

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On 10/12/2021 at 7:25 AM, Mullenboy said:

 

But each of those is kids' stuff compared to the old Bayonet course at Fort Ord (CA).  That was the most brutal test of golf as can exist.  It was choked by trees with underbrush right up to the fairways... miss a fairway and unplayable lie was your best outcome.  It had a few painfully hard doglegs where the only way to get a clear second shot was hit the ball 200+ yards into a 15 yard box.  These days it's been neutered... most would call it a better course... but god I miss the old b****.

 

 

Totally agree. As a mid-handicapper Bayonet would chew me up and spit me out. Now, I play Bayonet/ Blackhorse twice a week and survive. But the greens on Black Horse...they can kick my butt somedays. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 10:53 AM, StudentGolfer4 said:

Wolf Run outside of Indianapolis. Unfortunately it’s no longer open. They struggled with membership mainly due to difficulty. No one outside of a few low handicaps had any desire to play there 3-5 times a week. 
 

Par 71 Smyers design. The front tees were 6100, 71.6 with a slope of 138.
7215, 77.6 and 145 slope form the backs. Says a lot about the difficulty despite not being crazy long. Played the back tees 4-5 times. As a 4 handicap my best round was an 84. 
 

Jack Leer was the original owner. Former crooked stick member and a dentist. The dentist part should tell you all you need to know! 
 

 

Had Wolf in my top 3. I miss that place! Staying in the cabins putting all night long on that practice green. I heard they may be trying to bring it back??

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17 hours ago, PJ Blake said:

Totally agree. As a mid-handicapper Bayonet would chew me up and spit me out. Now, I play Bayonet/ Blackhorse twice a week and survive. But the greens on Black Horse...they can kick my butt somedays. 

Totally forgot about this course. The second hole at Bayonet is one of the toughest tee shots I've ever played, such an awesome course though. 

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12 minutes ago, Uncle_Buck2 said:

Totally forgot about this course. The second hole at Bayonet is one of the toughest tee shots I've ever played, such an awesome course though. 

lol from the tee the second fairway looks like a one lane road. 
 

I also love playing there. Great test. Great facility in a great place. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:25 AM, Mullenboy said:

I completely agree re Royal County Down.  It is a beautiful course, with some stunning views.  The greens have less contour than most in Ireland but they are typically in GREAT condition, which makes putting fun.  It sure receives high rankings... #1 in the world at one point in one list.  But I am with Shley - it's too damn hard.  Even with no wind one is bound to lose a few balls in the gorse and in high wind?  Fugettaboudit..... I say this as a 3.9 index, decent player.  It's too damn hard.

 

But is it the hardest I've ever played?  I don't think so.  I can think of three that crushed me worse.....

 

Portmarnock

Shinnecock Hills (from tips)

 

But each of those is kids' stuff compared to the old Bayonet course at Fort Ord (CA).  That was the most brutal test of golf as can exist.  It was choked by trees with underbrush right up to the fairways... miss a fairway and unplayable lie was your best outcome.  It had a few painfully hard doglegs where the only way to get a clear second shot was hit the ball 200+ yards into a 15 yard box.  These days it's been neutered... most would call it a better course... but god I miss the old b****.

 

 

Played it back in the 90s.  There is a reason it's named Bayonet - you will leave cut up and bloody.  Very, very tough.

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5 hours ago, ThinkingPlus said:

Played it back in the 90s.  There is a reason it's named Bayonet - you will leave cut up and bloody.  Very, very tough.

 

5 hours ago, b.helts said:

lol from the tee the second fairway looks like a one lane road. 
 

I also love playing there. Great test. Great facility in a great place. 

 

Yeah in the 90's Bayonet was a lot more difficult. It went through significant changes. No. 2 fairway isnt quite the "one way road" it was, but its still a challenging course. There used to be no houses too which made it great, but now there is a big development and houses are going up on the front 9. Tore out a bunch of beautiful Monterey Cypress trees in the process, which is a shame. 

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35 minutes ago, PJ Blake said:

 

 

Yeah in the 90's Bayonet was a lot more difficult. It went through significant changes. No. 2 fairway isnt quite the "one way road" it was, but its still a challenging course. There used to be no houses too which made it great, but now there is a big development and houses are going up on the front 9. Tore out a bunch of beautiful Monterey Cypress trees in the process, which is a shame. 

Yep. I remember. Those tree were like catchers mitts and if you were lucky enough to have one drop down under one you might be able to get to it on your knees and putt/chip out sideways. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 7:25 AM, Mullenboy said:

I completely agree re Royal County Down.  It is a beautiful course, with some stunning views.  The greens have less contour than most in Ireland but they are typically in GREAT condition, which makes putting fun.  It sure receives high rankings... #1 in the world at one point in one list.  But I am with Shley - it's too damn hard.  Even with no wind one is bound to lose a few balls in the gorse and in high wind?  Fugettaboudit..... I say this as a 3.9 index, decent player.  It's too damn hard.

 

But is it the hardest I've ever played?  I don't think so.  I can think of three that crushed me worse.....

 

Portmarnock

Shinnecock Hills (from tips)

 

But each of those is kids' stuff compared to the old Bayonet course at Fort Ord (CA).  That was the most brutal test of golf as can exist.  It was choked by trees with underbrush right up to the fairways... miss a fairway and unplayable lie was your best outcome.  It had a few painfully hard doglegs where the only way to get a clear second shot was hit the ball 200+ yards into a 15 yard box.  These days it's been neutered... most would call it a better course... but god I miss the old b****.

 

 

I coached high school golf back in the day. I took my team down there in the morning before playing a match against Robert Louis Stevenson at Spyglass in the afternoon.

 

If you missed a fairway at Bayonet you were dead. The bushes under the trees lining the fairways were dense and unforgivable...no way to punch out even if you were 'elite.' On that day the winds were 40-50mph. When the kids put down their stand bags the wind blew them over. I hit 3-wood into a 150 yard par 3 and was short. 

 

I went back a few years later and they had cleared the underbrush. More playable and less wind, but still brutal.

 

I don't care how good you are...from the appropriate tees, it's all you want.

 

On the plus side, the tortilla soup at the restaurant was awesome : )

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On paper, Koolau Golf Club in Hawaii is the "hardest" that I have played from a slope/rating perspective (75.7/152).

A lot of forced carries and no room for bailing out. Greens are a circus as well.

 

Too bad, I just looked it up and it's permanently closed.  Played there when I was stationed in Hawaii moons ago.

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 11.00.38 AM.png

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Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 11.07.42 AM.png

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There are CR's and Slopes that are each higher than Koolau's.... Though such are way up there.

 

I played it before it closed.  It is a beautiful course as those pics show.  And it is plenty hard - one could lose a ball on every shot.  It's definitely up (down?) there in the list of hardest courses.

 

But I'll still take the military-era Bayonet for sadism/brutality.

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5 hours ago, 5 O'Clock Charlie said:

On paper, Koolau Golf Club in Hawaii is the "hardest" from a slope/rating perspective (75.7/152).

A lot of forced carries and no room for bailing out. Greens are a circus as well.

 

Too bad, I just looked it up and it's permanently closed.  Played there when I was stationed in Hawaii moons ago.

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 11.00.38 AM.png

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Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 11.07.42 AM.png

Musgrove Mill-Clinton, SC-6940 yd., 153 slope.

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I thought I read the ocean course was the toughest in the US?

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15 hours ago, caniac6 said:

Musgrove Mill-Clinton, SC-6940 yd., 153 slope.

 

I was answering the thread title as in "the hardest course that I have played". I have edited my post. Thanks.

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my local muni can be set up tough if you just let the rough grow.. I dont think losing balls just off the fairway should define a course as 'tough'. 

 

highest slopes Ive played in the uk, St Mellion, Castle St Andrews, Trump Aberdeen, R.Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, could be wrong but I think they are all high 140's? None are likely to cost you many golf balls. The last two, honestly I didnt find too hard. RD's bunkers are tough, and WS is tight off the tee. Other than that, very playable.  Of the first 3, SM has that very lush american style rough and small greens, which we arent used to. The Castle gives you chances but the greens, despite being modified, are still the toughest Ive seen anywhere. TA though.. greens nearly as hard, even the 5's dont give you much chance, there's barely a birdie hole on the course for me. Throw in the usual Aberdeen hoolie blowing in.. its the one course I doubt I would ever make a respectable score on 

 

 

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Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, MA takes the cake for me.  Anything hit in the fescue was either long gone or had to be hacked out, sometimes multiple times. Many blind shots. I played it in a light breeze and it felt almost impossible, can't imagine playing it with stronger wind.  Not a super long course but you are punished for any errant shots.  Still would very happily try my luck again if I had the opportunity though.

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Spyglass is so sneaky hard.  At 7k yards it feels like 7.5k.  #8 is a sub 400 yard par 4 that I have hit hybrid into after a decent tee ball.  That whole course plays sooo long.  Very strategic and penal hazards on par 5's (two greenside ponds, and two heavily bunkerd) and very few really scorable holes.  Routinely a top ten most difficult site for the PGA.  I dont know if it is the most difficult course I have ever played, but it is the most difficult course I play routinely.  If only 9 and 18 weren't absolute dogs.

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For me it's the Cordillera Summit Course in the Vail Valley. I've played it a lot and it eats my lunch every time. I've never played in the UK, but I have played every PGA West course and all of the Bandon tracks and I don't think any of those are nearly as difficult as whatever in god's name Jack Nicklaus was thinking when he designed the Summit Course.  That being said, I love it. Great views.

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