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America's 20 toughest golf courses

golf course toughest

44 replies to this topic

#1 Roadking2003

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:11 AM

I thought this Golf Digest list was interesting, but maybe a little flawed.  Here are the courses I have played on their list;

1.  The Ocean Course (agree it should be #1)

4.  Spyglass Hill

7.  TPC Sawgrass

8.  PGA West (Stadium)

10. Pinehurst #2

13.  Olympic Club (Lake)

14.  Pebble Beach

17.  Torrey Pines (South)

19.  Desert Mtn. Club (Renegade)

I agree with all of these except Pebble.  

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#2 dlygrisse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"
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#3 vallygolf

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:27 AM

Pebble only makes the list because the typical amateur miss will be to the right.  Holes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, are all double bogey holes if you miss it right, as recovery shots are difficult to such small greens.  Course is wide open on the left, as this is my miss pebble would not crack the top 50 most difficult courses I have played.  Pinehurst is quite open as a lie in the waste areas will be playable 90% of the time.  For amateurs the green complexes are what resist scoring, IMO that alone puts it just about right on the list.    For me spyglass plays more difficult than The Ocean Course.

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#4 duffer987

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:36 AM

LOLOLOL!!!
There is no way, simply no way, that Pacific Dunes is one of "America's 20 Toughest". Think it would struggle to make the 20 toughest in the Pacific Northwest.
Pebble has tiny greens, and some really strong holes, but I don't think too many walk off 18 thinking it was tough, per say.

Agree with DG - they just bunged together a list of randoms for a click bait slideshow: duly baited.

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#5 dlygrisse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:51 AM

I have played Pebble, Pinehurst and Spyglass.  Granted I did not play from the tips, which I know changes things....but these are NOT the toughest courses I have played.  Maybe the 3 coolest and most memorable, but not the toughest.

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#6 raynorfan1

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.

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#7 cardoustie

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:29 PM

I've only played 3

Bethpage
Sawgrass
Torrey South

Bethpage was a full ditch pig, scary tough
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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:30 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM, said:

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.

I think this is correct ^^  

Yet another reason these rankings are trivial at best.

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#9 Kenny Lee Puckett

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:32 PM

if you came from the area you'd replace Pebble with Fort Ord Bayonet.
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#10 SilverBullets

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:04 PM

Im not even sure Pacific Dunes is the toughest course on the Bandon property.  Certainly not a top 20 toughest in the country.  

To me, this list is the toughest 20 of the top 50 greatest courses in the country lol.  And even with that, it's still not accurate.

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#11 rblmp32

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:08 PM

Only played one of these, the Ocean Course, many times.  I will comment that when the wind blows (which is 95% of the time) it's a hard golf course, especially from the tips (only tees I've played).  But we played it one morning when the wind laid down and it was very easy.  Fairways are wide.

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#12 Charleston Green Apparel

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:24 PM

Pacific Dunes is a joke...it's 6500 yards with decently wide fairways.

PV and Spyglass being rated that high is wrong too. Bethpage is the toughest. Should be #1 on any list. Ocean course is only when the wind blows. When it doesn't, it is scoreable. I haven't found a scoreable day on the Black yet.

Pound Ridge should be added to that list. Might be the second toughest course I've played.

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#13 Roadking2003

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:08 PM

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I played Sawgrass twice and it kicked my butt both times.  I would vote to keep it on the list.

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#14 TUGolfer06

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:27 PM

View PostCharleston Green Apparel, on 11 July 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

Pacific Dunes is a joke...it's 6500 yards with decently wide fairways.

PV and Spyglass being rated that high is wrong too. Bethpage is the toughest. Should be #1 on any list. Ocean course is only when the wind blows. When it doesn't, it is scoreable. I haven't found a scoreable day on the Black yet.

Pound Ridge should be added to that list. Might be the second toughest course I've played.

I've had the chance to play Pound Ridge a few times but politely turn it down. Paying $225 to be tortured by some tricked up Dye course in the NYC suburbs does not seem appealing to me. I've yet to hear anyone give the course a ringing endorsement.
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#15 duffer987

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:29 PM

View PostTUGolfer06, on 11 July 2017 - 03:27 PM, said:

View PostCharleston Green Apparel, on 11 July 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

Pacific Dunes is a joke...it's 6500 yards with decently wide fairways.

PV and Spyglass being rated that high is wrong too. Bethpage is the toughest. Should be #1 on any list. Ocean course is only when the wind blows. When it doesn't, it is scoreable. I haven't found a scoreable day on the Black yet.

Pound Ridge should be added to that list. Might be the second toughest course I've played.

I've had the chance to play Pound Ridge a few times but politely turn it down. Paying $225 to be tortured by some tricked up Dye course in the NYC suburbs does not seem appealing to me. I've yet to hear anyone give the course a ringing endorsement.

So you've told Pound Ridge to go pound sand ;)


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#16 dlygrisse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:34 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM, said:

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.
I think that is correct.  Very lazy reporting in my opinion.
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#17 raynorfan1

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:43 PM

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 03:34 PM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM, said:

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.
I think that is correct.  Very lazy reporting in my opinion.

Eh. They're just recutting data that they already have. It's a pretty big dataset...up next, America's 20 Best Conditioned Golf Courses!

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#18 rblmp32

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:44 PM

View PostCharleston Green Apparel, on 11 July 2017 - 02:24 PM, said:

Pacific Dunes is a joke...it's 6500 yards with decently wide fairways.

PV and Spyglass being rated that high is wrong too. Bethpage is the toughest. Should be #1 on any list. Ocean course is only when the wind blows. When it doesn't, it is scoreable. I haven't found a scoreable day on the Black yet.

Pound Ridge should be added to that list. Might be the second toughest course I've played.

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#19 italianstallion

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:29 PM

Torrey Pines and Pebble don't belong on this list. Pebble is only hard for the first timer who focuses more on the views than on the golf (spoken from experience). Torrey is hard when they grow the rough and pinch the fairways...but you can make the easier course you can think of that tough when you do that. As a test of golf I was underwhelmed by Torrey (but loved the views).

While it doesn't seem to be the popular opinio, I will agree with them when they place TPC Sawgrass on this list...it's a mental test and a tough design...hardest flat course you'll ever play.

Oakmont and Bethpage belong on that list, so no argument from me there.

And that's all I've got.

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#20 Roadking2003

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:56 AM

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM, said:

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.

So, why is that a problem.


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#21 RichieHunt

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:29 AM

I've played the Ocean Course and it's really about the wind which can make it nearly impossible.  Thankfully, they have a crew that gets a good forecast for how the wind is blowing and can make the course reasonable.  But if they wanted to, they can make it impossible.

Bethpage is really hard if the rough is up.  Just some extremely difficult shots and if the rough is high, fuhgetabouit.

I have yet to play Sawgrass, but I have been on there many times.  1-3 aren't that difficult. #4 is more tricky, but if you hit a good tee shot you're typically going to come away with at least a par, if not a birdie.  #5 is very hard, #6 is pretty easy.  #7 and #8 are very hard.  #10-12 are not that hard.  13 is difficult to make par, but you really shouldn't be coming away with a double.  14 is extremely hard.  15 is above average in difficulty.  18 is very hard, but 16 and 17 are not that difficult.  I just don't see Sawgrass anywhere near in the vicinity of difficulty as Kiawah or Bethpage.






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#22 krtgolfing

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:59 AM

View PostRichieHunt, on 12 July 2017 - 09:29 AM, said:

I've played the Ocean Course and it's really about the wind which can make it nearly impossible.  Thankfully, they have a crew that gets a good forecast for how the wind is blowing and can make the course reasonable.  But if they wanted to, they can make it impossible.

Bethpage is really hard if the rough is up.  Just some extremely difficult shots and if the rough is high, fuhgetabouit.

I have yet to play Sawgrass, but I have been on there many times.  1-3 aren't that difficult. #4 is more tricky, but if you hit a good tee shot you're typically going to come away with at least a par, if not a birdie.  #5 is very hard, #6 is pretty easy.  #7 and #8 are very hard.  #10-12 are not that hard.  13 is difficult to make par, but you really shouldn't be coming away with a double.  14 is extremely hard.  15 is above average in difficulty.  18 is very hard, but 16 and 17 are not that difficult.  I just don't see Sawgrass anywhere near in the vicinity of difficulty as Kiawah or Bethpage.






RH

Course is harder than it looks. Start missing the ball around the green and good luck.
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#23 raynorfan1

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 10:32 AM

View PostRoadking2003, on 12 July 2017 - 08:56 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 11 July 2017 - 01:21 PM, said:

View Postdlygrisse, on 11 July 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

This is a really strange list for the 20 toughest.  Pebble?  Pinehurst?  Sawgrass?  Good courses?  yes.  20 toughest, no.  

Maybe the title should be the "20 toughest the Golf Digest Staff had access to on a short notice list"

I'm pretty sure they just use the highest ranked courses in the "resistance to scoring" category in their regular rankings.

So, why is that a problem.

I don't think it is. Just helpful to understand the methodology. For "resistance to scoring" courses are rated on difficulty for a scratch golfer from the Championship tees. It would be interesting to compare USGA course ratings for the same tees, which is probably a more objective methodology.

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#24 rblmp32

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:39 AM

View Postraynorfan1, on 12 July 2017 - 10:32 AM, said:

I don't think it is. Just helpful to understand the methodology. For "resistance to scoring" courses are rated on difficulty for a scratch golfer from the Championship tees. It would be interesting to compare USGA course ratings for the same tees, which is probably a more objective methodology.

Believe these are all par 72

Ocean Course is 79.2 from the tips
Sawgrass is 76.4
Bethpage is 78.1
Pebble is 74.7
Pound Ridge is 76
Pacific Dunes 73 (Par 71)


A couple of those are a joke.  73 for a par 71 is on the list of most difficult list?  lol

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#25 Bramsuer10

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 01:44 PM

I played Torrey South, and I actually thought it was pretty easy.  I played from as far back as they'd let me, played average, was my first time seeing it, and shot 76.  There are many courses I play on the regular around VA and have yet to shoot better than a 76, lol.


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#26 Roadking2003

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:10 PM

View PostRichieHunt, on 12 July 2017 - 09:29 AM, said:

I've played the Ocean Course and it's really about the wind which can make it nearly impossible.  Thankfully, they have a crew that gets a good forecast for how the wind is blowing and can make the course reasonable.  But if they wanted to, they can make it impossible.

Bethpage is really hard if the rough is up.  Just some extremely difficult shots and if the rough is high, fuhgetabouit.

I have yet to play Sawgrass, but I have been on there many times.  1-3 aren't that difficult. #4 is more tricky, but if you hit a good tee shot you're typically going to come away with at least a par, if not a birdie.  #5 is very hard, #6 is pretty easy.  #7 and #8 are very hard.  #10-12 are not that hard.  13 is difficult to make par, but you really shouldn't be coming away with a double.  14 is extremely hard.  15 is above average in difficulty.  18 is very hard, but 16 and 17 are not that difficult.  I just don't see Sawgrass anywhere near in the vicinity of difficulty as Kiawah or Bethpage.

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The slope at Sawgrass is 155.....not too shabby.  What got me when I played it was the thick rough, especially around the greens since the greens were as hard as concrete.  So hitting a three yard shot out of thick rough and stopping it on the hard greens was a challenge.

FYI, Bethpage slope is 148 and the Ocean Course is 153.

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#27 Roadking2003

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:17 PM

View Postrblmp32, on 12 July 2017 - 11:39 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 12 July 2017 - 10:32 AM, said:

I don't think it is. Just helpful to understand the methodology. For "resistance to scoring" courses are rated on difficulty for a scratch golfer from the Championship tees. It would be interesting to compare USGA course ratings for the same tees, which is probably a more objective methodology.

Believe these are all par 72

Ocean Course is 79.2 from the tips
Sawgrass is 76.4
Bethpage is 78.1
Pebble is 74.7
Pound Ridge is 76
Pacific Dunes 73 (Par 71)


A couple of those are a joke.  73 for a par 71 is on the list of most difficult list?  lol

Course rating reflects the difficulty for a scratch golfer.  So you should also look at slope.

Sawgrass: 155
Ocean Course: 153
Bethpage: 148
Pebble: 145

BTW, the US Open rating for Pebble is 75.5

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#28 rblmp32

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:14 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 12 July 2017 - 02:17 PM, said:

View Postrblmp32, on 12 July 2017 - 11:39 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 12 July 2017 - 10:32 AM, said:

I don't think it is. Just helpful to understand the methodology. For "resistance to scoring" courses are rated on difficulty for a scratch golfer from the Championship tees. It would be interesting to compare USGA course ratings for the same tees, which is probably a more objective methodology.

Believe these are all par 72

Ocean Course is 79.2 from the tips
Sawgrass is 76.4
Bethpage is 78.1
Pebble is 74.7
Pound Ridge is 76
Pacific Dunes 73 (Par 71)


A couple of those are a joke.  73 for a par 71 is on the list of most difficult list?  lol

Course rating reflects the difficulty for a scratch golfer.  So you should also look at slope.

Sawgrass: 155
Ocean Course: 153
Bethpage: 148
Pebble: 145

BTW, the US Open rating for Pebble is 75.5

No I shouldn't.  I'm a 2 handicap.  The course rating is much more accurate than slope for me.  And in regard to Pebble's rating, that's fine, but do you think the Ocean Course was rated when they had the PGA Championship there in 2011?  Or Bethpage when the Open has been there?  Nope.  So you can't compare Pebble's rating for the Open vs the other venues which are rated when they are setup normally.

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#29 Roadking2003

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:22 PM

View Postrblmp32, on 12 July 2017 - 04:14 PM, said:


No I shouldn't.  I'm a 2 handicap.  The course rating is much more accurate than slope for me.  

OK, but not for 90% of the guys on this board.  Both numbers are quite useful.

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#30 Spicoli

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:10 PM

I thought the RTJ trail courses were all a true test, then I watched pros post double digits unders at last year's barbasol at Grand National...


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