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Hardest Course you've Ever Played?


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#61 North Butte

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:40 AM

I have a problem because outside of several courses I've called "home" at various times, most of the rest I've only played once or twice. Almost any links course in the UK if the rough is up and the wind is more than 15-20mph I'll lose several balls and shoot a million. But some of those same courses if I catch them in a dry summer and there's little wind, I can play to my handicap without having to play particularly well.

So if I listed the tough courses I've played from hardest to easiest, the top of the list would be the ones where the wind was blowing the hardest then descending order down to the ones I caught under pushover conditions.

In USA I'd have to say it's a tough call between the Ocean Course at Kiawah and Spyglass Hill. For my game I honestly think Spy is slightly tougher. I play the forward tees and from 6,000-ish yards the Ocean Course is generally manageable unless the wind is really up. But even playing up at a comfortable yardage Spyglass Hill was a challenge. For better players than me, playing the back tees I suspect OC is tougher than Spy.

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#62 Grizz06

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

disclaimer:  I have come to accept I'm really just a bomb and gouge guy.  I get off the tee well but tiny landing areas often times negate any prowess off the tee.  I'm not a great ball striker anything over an 8i.  I have a quality short game (100 and in and around the greens)  but putt like an 8th grade girl (who doesn't golf) 90% of the time.  Due to this I will admit I don't like playing over 6700 yds. FWIW the following:

Pine Valley the first time I played it I stopped keeping score.  The second was much better.

Lost Key near Orange Beach,AL is home to many of my rounds +85 but also home to one of my best when everything was working.  No course has more of my balls per round than this place.

Black Bear Casino near Duluth, MN.  Much like Lost Key there's not much room to miss hear.  I've played it many times and many times I think I hit good shots only to never find them.

I have played Hazeltine National from the tips (not really my choice) a few times and the length was a little taxing for me.  Heads up when I have a 5i in my hands.

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#63 noahdavis_7

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:03 AM

View Postrazor_1, on 22 March 2017 - 08:15 AM, said:

Great topic!

The two hardest courses I have ever played is a 9 hole course in Aviano, Italy (Castello di Aviano) and the old 18 hole course in Panama City, FL designed by Bruce Devlin.  I understand that the Devlin course was redone by Nicklaus.  Lagoon legends I think it was called.  The Aviano course sits on the foot of the alps and it was about 100 degrees the day I played it and walked.  The florida course was tricked up beyond belief.  The easiest course in the world to make a triple bogey no matter what your skill level is.  Tobacco Road in North Carolina is not far behind the Devlin course.  More generous in landing areas and the greens much larger but still tricked up (I did not like Tobacco Road).

In my book, the two hardest golf courses (fair) golf courses I have played is Pinehurst #2 (pre-renovation) and Oakmont in Pittsburgh (before all the trees cut down).

That PC course is now Baypoint I believe. Played there once. Super nice. Very expensive though. You from the Panhandle?
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#64 noahdavis_7

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:09 AM

You guys have been on some serious tracks!
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#65 SilverBullets

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 02:18 PM

View PostNorth Butte, on 22 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

I have a problem because outside of several courses I've called "home" at various times, most of the rest I've only played once or twice. Almost any links course in the UK if the rough is up and the wind is more than 15-20mph I'll lose several balls and shoot a million. But some of those same courses if I catch them in a dry summer and there's little wind, I can play to my handicap without having to play particularly well.

So if I listed the tough courses I've played from hardest to easiest, the top of the list would be the ones where the wind was blowing the hardest then descending order down to the ones I caught under pushover conditions.

In USA I'd have to say it's a tough call between the Ocean Course at Kiawah and Spyglass Hill. For my game I honestly think Spy is slightly tougher. I play the forward tees and from 6,000-ish yards the Ocean Course is generally manageable unless the wind is really up. But even playing up at a comfortable yardage Spyglass Hill was a challenge. For better players than me, playing the back tees I suspect OC is tougher than Spy.

I have Spyglass as the toughest track I have played.  I played spyglass and Kiawah on relatively calm days.  With little wind (sub 15 mph), The Ocean Course is very manageable.  Especially for someone like me whom is a high ball hitter and generates a decent amount of spin.  For the most part, I was able to hit and hold greens at Kiawah.  I know a lot of players struggle with that out there (the rest of my group was no exception) but for me it wasn't that big of an issue.  There was also more room to miss at The Ocean course.

At Spyglass, I found if you missed the fairway you were dead.  Now my swing was a mess the day I played Spyglass... I just didn't have it together.  Spyglass ate me alive.  I probably had my C game that day and it led to maybe my highest score on a golf course.  At Kiawah, I played it with my B game and shot pretty close to a normal score I would shoot at a CC with a B game (I think I shot around 82/83).  It just wasn't near as punishing to me as Spyglass.

I also thought Whistling Straits was harder than The Ocean Course.  I was hitting the ball pretty well that day (I was -1 through 3 holes) and then just starting missing.  I wasn't missing by a lot, but, any miss at Whistling becomes a product of the bounce you get.  I had a lot more bad bounces than good that day.  Some of those 'bunkers' at Whistling at just stupid.  The green complexes are also very tough to navigate... especially when you miss the green.  The day we played WS it was pretty windy so that surely led to me saying it was more difficult.

I was a bit surprised with The Ocean Course though.  I was expecting it to beat me up and punish me even on a calm day.  It simply didn't.  I could see how a windy day would change things a lot, but to me it wasn't as tough as advertised.  I thought Spyglass and Whistling were more difficult.

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#66 SilverBullets

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 02:21 PM

View PostBEND OF THE RIVER GC, on 21 March 2017 - 04:29 PM, said:

Wolf Run near Indy is pretty difficult as was Arcadia Bluffs.

Wolf Run is an underrated mention.  That course is tough.  Now there are some holes out there where you can score... but things can go south very quick.  On essentially every hole if you miss the fairway, you are dead.  You have no shot at a green from most spots off the fairway.  But, there is some room on most holes in the fairway.   Really good course.  Great test of golf.
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#67 noahdavis_7

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 02:36 PM

View PostSilverBullets, on 22 March 2017 - 02:18 PM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 22 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

I have a problem because outside of several courses I've called "home" at various times, most of the rest I've only played once or twice. Almost any links course in the UK if the rough is up and the wind is more than 15-20mph I'll lose several balls and shoot a million. But some of those same courses if I catch them in a dry summer and there's little wind, I can play to my handicap without having to play particularly well.

So if I listed the tough courses I've played from hardest to easiest, the top of the list would be the ones where the wind was blowing the hardest then descending order down to the ones I caught under pushover conditions.

In USA I'd have to say it's a tough call between the Ocean Course at Kiawah and Spyglass Hill. For my game I honestly think Spy is slightly tougher. I play the forward tees and from 6,000-ish yards the Ocean Course is generally manageable unless the wind is really up. But even playing up at a comfortable yardage Spyglass Hill was a challenge. For better players than me, playing the back tees I suspect OC is tougher than Spy.

I have Spyglass as the toughest track I have played.  I played spyglass and Kiawah on relatively calm days.  With little wind (sub 15 mph), The Ocean Course is very manageable.  Especially for someone like me whom is a high ball hitter and generates a decent amount of spin.  For the most part, I was able to hit and hold greens at Kiawah.  I know a lot of players struggle with that out there (the rest of my group was no exception) but for me it wasn't that big of an issue.  There was also more room to miss at The Ocean course.

At Spyglass, I found if you missed the fairway you were dead.  Now my swing was a mess the day I played Spyglass... I just didn't have it together.  Spyglass ate me alive.  I probably had my C game that day and it led to maybe my highest score on a golf course.  At Kiawah, I played it with my B game and shot pretty close to a normal score I would shoot at a CC with a B game (I think I shot around 82/83).  It just wasn't near as punishing to me as Spyglass.

I also thought Whistling Straits was harder than The Ocean Course.  I was hitting the ball pretty well that day (I was -1 through 3 holes) and then just starting missing.  I wasn't missing by a lot, but, any miss at Whistling becomes a product of the bounce you get.  I had a lot more bad bounces than good that day.  Some of those 'bunkers' at Whistling at just stupid.  The green complexes are also very tough to navigate... especially when you miss the green.  The day we played WS it was pretty windy so that surely led to me saying it was more difficult.

I was a bit surprised with The Ocean Course though.  I was expecting it to beat me up and punish me even on a calm day.  It simply didn't.  I could see how a windy day would change things a lot, but to me it wasn't as tough as advertised.  I thought Spyglass and Whistling were more difficult.

I wanna get on the Island course so bad. Looks awesome
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#68 lordbyron

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:58 PM

I have played a lot of really high slope courses but I think Kemper Lakes was the most difficult for me, several holes with no where to miss.  Pretty penal golf course.  No bail outs, OB one way, water the other.  made it tough for me.

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#69 Chomper

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:14 PM

View Postryu123, on 21 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

White Horse in Kingston, WA, because there are few bailout areas near most of the greens. The greens are relatively small; some are narrow. The course is not that long (7000 yds), but penal near the greens. Didn't really matter whether I played the tips, blacks or blues - I got beaten down.

To give some context, I've also played Riviera CC from the professional tees, Torrey Pines South (pre-renovation - white tees), Spyglass Hill (gold tees), Wolf Creek, & Bayonet GC (blues & whites).

To Chomper: did you play Desert Forest before the recent renovation? I played there about 10 years ago & loved it; thought it was the best Scottsdale course, but not the toughest.
After. Most of the members say it's harder post renovation.

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#70 Roadking2003

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:38 PM

View PostOne_Putt_Blunder, on 20 March 2017 - 03:00 PM, said:

Koolau Oahu, HI

78.2/153 from tips 7310
75.4/140 from 6797 (where I played)


Course basically built on the side of a mountain in a rain forest. Course itself reminded me a bit of desert target golf, but just not in a desert, not much room to miss. What really made it difficult is how wet it is. I lost 3 balls in fairways where I knew exactly where I hit them, just sucked up by the earth and disappeared. One of the most beautiful places I have played but, pretty much a joke of a place to try and put up a serious score unless you are there in the dry season.


When I played it many years ago the slope was 164.  I played the tips and it was fun, but there were several 230 - 240 yard carries on par 4s.


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#71 Sean2

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:40 PM

I played a course from the white tees, and only 5400 yards, with a slope of 130. From 6700 the slope was 147.
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#72 tnord

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:46 PM

I'll be playing Oak Tree National from the tips one week from tomorrow...that should be interesting and a major contender for this list.
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#73 longballjs

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:56 AM

Baltusrol lower a few weeks before the 2016 PGA championship. The greens were fast and hard and the rough was 2 inches longer than they played it for the pros.  First time I legitimately had to wedge out of the rough

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#74 MichiganMan

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:53 AM

View PostSilverBullets, on 22 March 2017 - 02:18 PM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 22 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

I have a problem because outside of several courses I've called "home" at various times, most of the rest I've only played once or twice. Almost any links course in the UK if the rough is up and the wind is more than 15-20mph I'll lose several balls and shoot a million. But some of those same courses if I catch them in a dry summer and there's little wind, I can play to my handicap without having to play particularly well.

So if I listed the tough courses I've played from hardest to easiest, the top of the list would be the ones where the wind was blowing the hardest then descending order down to the ones I caught under pushover conditions.

In USA I'd have to say it's a tough call between the Ocean Course at Kiawah and Spyglass Hill. For my game I honestly think Spy is slightly tougher. I play the forward tees and from 6,000-ish yards the Ocean Course is generally manageable unless the wind is really up. But even playing up at a comfortable yardage Spyglass Hill was a challenge. For better players than me, playing the back tees I suspect OC is tougher than Spy.

I have Spyglass as the toughest track I have played.  I played spyglass and Kiawah on relatively calm days.  With little wind (sub 15 mph), The Ocean Course is very manageable.  Especially for someone like me whom is a high ball hitter and generates a decent amount of spin.  For the most part, I was able to hit and hold greens at Kiawah.  I know a lot of players struggle with that out there (the rest of my group was no exception) but for me it wasn't that big of an issue.  There was also more room to miss at The Ocean course.

At Spyglass, I found if you missed the fairway you were dead.  Now my swing was a mess the day I played Spyglass... I just didn't have it together.  Spyglass ate me alive.  I probably had my C game that day and it led to maybe my highest score on a golf course.  At Kiawah, I played it with my B game and shot pretty close to a normal score I would shoot at a CC with a B game (I think I shot around 82/83).  It just wasn't near as punishing to me as Spyglass.

I also thought Whistling Straits was harder than The Ocean Course.  I was hitting the ball pretty well that day (I was -1 through 3 holes) and then just starting missing.  I wasn't missing by a lot, but, any miss at Whistling becomes a product of the bounce you get.  I had a lot more bad bounces than good that day.  Some of those 'bunkers' at Whistling at just stupid.  The green complexes are also very tough to navigate... especially when you miss the green.  The day we played WS it was pretty windy so that surely led to me saying it was more difficult.

I was a bit surprised with The Ocean Course though.  I was expecting it to beat me up and punish me even on a calm day.  It simply didn't.  I could see how a windy day would change things a lot, but to me it wasn't as tough as advertised.  I thought Spyglass and Whistling were more difficult.

Spyglass is extremely difficult also. I would put it slightly behind The Ocean Course for me personally, but they're certainly interchangeable based on a number of factors.
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#75 nitram

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:54 AM

View PostZBUCK, on 20 March 2017 - 02:43 PM, said:

bethpage black from the tips

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honorable mention to Pikewood National

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#76 teejaywhy

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 08:44 AM

View Postaz2au, on 21 March 2017 - 10:24 AM, said:

View Postryu123, on 21 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

To Chomper: did you play Desert Forest before the recent renovation? I played there about 10 years ago & loved it; thought it was the best Scottsdale course, but not the toughest.
I don't think he was a member pre-restoration but I've been a member there for around 9 years. The course is significantly harder now but the FWs are probably slightly easier to hit.

Interesting that you refer to it as a restoration although I'm admittedly unfamiliar with the course as it was originally presented.

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#77 mrwinky

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:10 AM

For me it would be Athabasca G&C in Northern Alberta, Just a Gem of a course, I go up every year for there mens open. I tried the gold's once its 7228 142/76.6.... Needless to say it beat me into submission lol

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#78 jjthomp2

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:13 AM

Top 3 for me:

1. The Concession
2. Wolf Run
3. Ocean Course

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#79 wobgon

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

I played the ocean course at Kiawah from the tips just after the ryder cup was played there on an extremely windy day.......Toughest I have ever played with out a doubt.

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#80 goduke7

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

Purgatory in Indianapolis from the Tippy Tips. Day I played there was a 20 MPH wind too. It was brutal. That long par 5 was dead into the wind. I walked to the tee, noticed i was on the not farthest back tees- 600+ and decided i didn't want a 700 yd par 5.

That course has so much sand.


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#81 sheldonjhacker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:48 AM

BeastPage Black !!!  :russian_roulette:

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#82 az2au

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 11:23 AM

View Postteejaywhy, on 23 March 2017 - 08:44 AM, said:

View Postaz2au, on 21 March 2017 - 10:24 AM, said:

View Postryu123, on 21 March 2017 - 08:40 AM, said:

To Chomper: did you play Desert Forest before the recent renovation? I played there about 10 years ago & loved it; thought it was the best Scottsdale course, but not the toughest.
I don't think he was a member pre-restoration but I've been a member there for around 9 years. The course is significantly harder now but the FWs are probably slightly easier to hit.

Interesting that you refer to it as a restoration although I'm admittedly unfamiliar with the course as it was originally presented.

It is a little bit of both. One of the biggest goals was restoring the greens to their previous size and removing non-native plants that had been added over the years. One hole was a complete redo and one other green had already been lost on a previous effort so... yeah, a little of both.

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#83 bwrichmond

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    Bomb and gouge??? More like bomb, search, gouge if you find it

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 11:45 AM

View Postgoduke7, on 23 March 2017 - 10:45 AM, said:

Purgatory in Indianapolis from the Tippy Tips. Day I played there was a 20 MPH wind too. It was brutal. That long par 5 was dead into the wind. I walked to the tee, noticed i was on the not farthest back tees- 600+ and decided i didn't want a 700 yd par 5.

That course has so much sand.

+1... It's pretty fair from the shorter tees, but the tips are brutal.  Hole 13 is a 741 yard par 5 with about 25 bunkers, predominantly flat, and into the prevailing wind.  I played the back tee on that hole one time just for fun, and couldn't carry the start of the fairway (about 285 or so), hit a bad 3 wood, then a good 3 wood, then a 5 iron, and made a 45 foot putt for one of the better pars of my life...
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#84 Caddykev

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:14 PM

View PostZBUCK, on 20 March 2017 - 02:43 PM, said:

bethpage black from the tips
On anyday, I agree with this 100%. Snuck back on a few holes and played the us open plates,  wow that course is tough if you miss the fairway or green. It never gives up.

Edited by Caddykev, 23 March 2017 - 01:14 PM.


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#85 Ping Zings

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:49 PM

Victoria National from the tips 7239 77.0/148

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#86 North Butte

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:59 PM

View PostPing Zings, on 23 March 2017 - 01:49 PM, said:

Victoria National from the tips 7239 77.0/148

Oh good grief. From watching the Web.com guys on TV that's gotta be a scary-big course from back there.

Edited by North Butte, 23 March 2017 - 02:00 PM.

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#87 eebomb

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 02:05 PM

Wheatfield Valley.  Williamston Michigan.

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#88 SilverBullets

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 02:42 PM

View Postbwrichmond, on 23 March 2017 - 11:45 AM, said:

View Postgoduke7, on 23 March 2017 - 10:45 AM, said:

Purgatory in Indianapolis from the Tippy Tips. Day I played there was a 20 MPH wind too. It was brutal. That long par 5 was dead into the wind. I walked to the tee, noticed i was on the not farthest back tees- 600+ and decided i didn't want a 700 yd par 5.

That course has so much sand.

+1... It's pretty fair from the shorter tees, but the tips are brutal.  Hole 13 is a 741 yard par 5 with about 25 bunkers, predominantly flat, and into the prevailing wind.  I played the back tee on that hole one time just for fun, and couldn't carry the start of the fairway (about 285 or so), hit a bad 3 wood, then a good 3 wood, then a 5 iron, and made a 45 foot putt for one of the better pars of my life...

That's a fun track from back there.  It's just stupid long.  Beyond the length it really isn't that tough of a track.  The rough isn't too bad and the green complexes aren't bad.  We played 36 there this past summer.  One round from normal yardage tees and one round from the Purgatory tees (although the 741 yard par 5 was playing from the 650 or whatever tees so it was a bit easier).  I was pleasantly surprised to only have a 3 shot difference.  Then again, I don't mind hitting my 4 and 5 irons off deck.  So approaching the greens wasn't as big of a struggle for me as it was for the others in our group (whom saw a BIG stroke difference).  I also swung the club a bit better in the round from the purgatory tees.  Something about knowing that I am not supposed to score well because I will be left with a ton of 190-210 yard approach shots made me swing free and easy that day.
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#89 aabcuue

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 03:08 PM

View Postnsxguy, on 22 March 2017 - 08:24 AM, said:

View Postaabcuue, on 20 March 2017 - 09:07 PM, said:

View PostZBUCK, on 20 March 2017 - 02:43 PM, said:

bethpage black from the tips

Played about a week or so after the 2009 US Open. Setup was still open conditions.

1st cut from the fairway was upper thigh high fescue.
2nd cut 2ft off fairway was over the belly button.

Multiple balls hit into the rough never reached the ground!

Yes the diagonal fairway was exceedingly tough. You needed 300+yd carry to get over the traps before the start of the fairway.
The fairway started @315. I only made it by 10yds.

Nice not-so-passive brag. Only 325 on the fly. You da man.

I expect that's 12 you're talking about (although I guess it could be 5. But neither one requires 300 yard carry. 12's about 265 to carry the bunkers from the tips (to the left probably and longer as you go right on the dogleg left).

5 is about 290 but you have plenty of room to the left that's a lot less to clear (just not as good an angle to the pin/green).

Nice poke anyway but,,,,,,,,,

Forget which hole but it sounds like the 5th.
Hole was a par5 600+ uphill dogleg right around a 150+ft oak and parallel bunkers.

It was the hole pros were complaining they couldn't reach the fairway. In the open conditions, usga moved the tee back further & stopped the mowing to midway through the bunkers. Farthest left & center bunkers were in the rough.

Distance was taken from the other player laser shot. Still took me 3 to get home to back of green.

Trust me I was lucky. It was a 1in10 shot. Fortunate typical 80+% swing miss, a fade, played perfectly on this hole. Normal shot would've been off the tree.

Reread your post. I didn't fly drive 325yds. Total distance was just into fairway with ball clearing the trap and landing in the rough before the fairway. Was still lucky to get that far.

Edited by aabcuue, 24 March 2017 - 12:27 PM.

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#90 bwrichmond

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    Bomb and gouge??? More like bomb, search, gouge if you find it

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 03:21 PM

View PostNorth Butte, on 23 March 2017 - 01:59 PM, said:

View PostPing Zings, on 23 March 2017 - 01:49 PM, said:

Victoria National from the tips 7239 77.0/148

Oh good grief. From watching the Web.com guys on TV that's gotta be a scary-big course from back there.

Fun fact... They don't even play some of the holes all the way tipped.  Hole 11, a par 3, is like 240 over water from the furthest back tee.  They play from one up (like 215 over slightly less water due to angle).  I think hole 6 is another one they don't play all the way back.

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