18 Toughest Holes on the PGA Tour

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Every course has a somewhat easy hole, right? Not these. They're the 18 most difficult holes on the PGA Tour for the 2013-14 season, like No. 6 at PGA National and No. 4 at Augusta National. Be glad you don’t have to play them all at once.
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1. Cherry Hills Golf Club -- No. 5, 526-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.483 They held the BMW Championship at Denver’s Cherry Hills in September and an old-fashioned U.S. Open broke out. New back tees, dense rough and firm greens with bewitching contours took their toll on the pros, nowhere more so than on the 526-yard, par-4 5th that averaged 4.483 strokes. For the week, it yielded exactly as many double-bogies, 15, as birdies.
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2. Congressional Country Club -- No. 11, 489-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.482 Home to the Quicken Loans National event, Congressional’s 489-yard, par-4 11th wreaked more havoc on scorecards in the Washington D.C. area than at any time since the last Obama-Boehner match. With water edging the entire right side of the hole, it came close to toughest on tour, at 4.482 average strokes. “There’s no question about it-- it’s a par 4 and a half,” said Tour player James Driscoll. “If not higher.”
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3. Augusta National -- No. 11, 505-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.480 Augusta National’s 505-yard, par-4 11th hole is so dangerous for those who pull their approaches that Ben Hogan once stated that if he hit the green in two, he will have missed the shot, because he was aiming safely to the right of the green. A realigned fairway, recently planted trees and that pesky pond left of the green add to the peril.
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4. Pebble Beach Golf Links -- No. 10, 446-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.463 Bob Hope once called Pebble Beach, “Alcatraz with grass.” There’s certainly no escape at Pebble’s 446-yard, par-4 10th, which tilts left-to-right, forcing approaches from sidehill lies, to a small green with the Pacific Ocean edging its right side. Shanks for the memories!
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The Wanamaker trophy on the 14th hole at Quail Hollow.
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6. PGA National -- No. 6, 479-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.442 PGA National’s Champion course, host to the Honda Classic, is best known for its killer trio of 15-16-17, known as the Bear Trap. Yet it’s the equally watery and equally scary 479-yard, par-4 6th that played toughest of all in 2014, with a stroke average of 4.442.
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7. Trump National Doral -- No. 7, 471-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.417 Trump National Doral Miami debuted its redesign in 2014 and this was clear: The Blue Monster had its fangs restored. Toughest of the new teeth was the 471-yard, par-4 7th. Formerly a wedge into the green, Sergio Garcia noted, “I hit 3-wood, 4-iron and the water was in play.” A stroke average of 4.417 and a 5:1 ratio of bogeys and double-bogeys to birdies attest to the hole’s new demands.
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8. Golf Club of Houston -- No. 18, 488-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.412 Disaster and the closing hole at the Golf Club of Houston (fka Redstone’s Tournament course) go hand-in-hand and 2014 was no exception. Shell Houston Open leader Matt Kuchar came to the 488-yard par-4 and dunked his approach into the lake on the left, when staying dry would have won him the tournament. A stroke average of 4.412 shows Kuchar wasn’t the only victim.
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9. Augusta National -- No. 4, 240-yard Par-3 Stroke Average: 3.409 The hardest par-3 in golf that has no water trouble has to be the brutish 240-yard, par-3 4th at Augusta National. As usual in 2014, it played well over par, to an average of 3.409, making it the toughest par-3 on tour.
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10. Spyglass Hill -- No. 6, 446-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.400 On a course full of rugged tests, the 446-yard, par-4 6th at Spyglass Hill proved toughest of all during the course's role as co-host of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Its uphill climb through the pines and away from the ocean is further complicated by bunkers, rough and an elevated green.
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11. Pebble Beach Golf Links -- No. 12, 202-yard Par-3 Stroke Average: 3.394 Another puzzler is the 202-yard, par-3 12th at Pebble Beach. It has no water in play, yet ranked as the second most challenging one-shotter on Tour, with a stroke average of 3.394. What adds to the difficulty for competitors at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is its firm, shallow green that’s surrounded by lush rough and fronted by a long, diagonal bunker.
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12. Harbour Town Golf Links -- No. 14, 192-yard Par-3 Stroke Average: 3.393 One of the greatest quartets of par-3s anywhere was crafted by Pete Dye at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, home to the RBC Heritage. Best—and toughest—of the bunch is the 192-yard 14th that plays over a pond bulkheaded by railroad ties to an alarmingly small green, resulting in its 3.393 stroke average.
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13. Trump National Doral -- No. 14, 484 yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.387 Yet another redesigned par-4 at Trump National Miami’s Blue Monster that smacked the field around in 2014 was the 484-yard 14th. Once a simple little dry hole, the 14th asks for a much longer approach, where, as Sergio Garcia observed, “water is now in play because the green goes all the way to the left.”
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14. Pebble Beach Golf Links -- No. 9, 466-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.376 Sibling rivalry is as old as civilization itself. In 2014, the 466-yard par-4 9th hole at Pebble Beach was fractionally edged in difficulty by Pebble’s 10th hole—4.463 to 4.376. Together, however, these oceanside tests form the hardest back-to-back holes on tour.
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15. Riviera Country Club -- No. 12, 479-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.374 Set in the canyons of Pacific Palisades, the 479-yard, par-4 12th hole at Riviera bullied everyone at the Northern Trust Open in 2014. Newly lengthened, the narrow green is guarded by a deep bunker right and by Bogey’s Tree left, a tall sycamore named for Humphrey Bogart, who used to hang out there during tournament play.
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16. Pinehurst No. 2 -- No. 6, 219 yard Par-3 Stroke Average: 3.374 Pinehurst No. 2 proved a hard test for the entire U.S. Open field-- except for Martin Kaymer. Of all the firm and fast holes and turtle-back greens at No. 2, the most vexing proved to be the 219-yard, par-3 6th. Always a beat-down, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw expanded the left greenside bunker to create a straightforward, if stern examination.
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17. TPC San Antonio -- No. 4, 481 yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.373 Year after year, the JW Marriott TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks course is one of the toughest on tour, thanks to small, undulating greens, desert- and rock-tinged rough, deep sand pits and fairways narrowed with trees. Each of the elements came into play to send scores soaring at the 481-yard, par-4 4th.
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18. Royal Liverpool Golf Club -- No. 7, 480-yard Par-4 Stroke Average: 4.367 There was an absence of wind at Royal Liverpool this year for the British Open, so the course was more docile than usual. Yet the 480-yard, par-4 7th still grabbed a spot among the 18th toughest holes with a 4.367 average, thanks to a slender fairway bracketed by bunkers in the landing area and by gorse bushes on the right, often brought into play by the westerly winds.