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8 of the Hardest Holes in Golf

There are some golf holes that strike fear into even the best golfers on the planet, and here at Hole19 HQ we've been discussing (and researching) which ones could viewed as the hardest golf holes in the world.

Check out the list below where we've gathered together a collection of fearsome foes that could easily destroy any scorecard. As difficult golf holes go, this octet will be hard to beat.

Cypress Point - 16th Hole

Though it's one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, Cypress Point has the ability to bear its teeth on a number of holes. In fact, the difficulty of the track is provided by those beautiful surroundings and that is no more evident than on the monstrously punishing 16th.

A 235 yard par 3 over the Pacific Ocean is going to test the golf game of every golfer and, although there's a relatively safe bail-out option, when you step up to the tee it's almost impossible not to be drawn into an attempt to find the putting surface.

Cape Kidnappers - 15th Hole

You could scour almost every golf course in the world and fail to find a golf hole more dramatic than the 15th hole at Cape Kidnappers.

From the tee, you can see a fairway ahead which is flanked on both sides by a plunging descent into the Pacific Ocean, while some of the swirling gales experienced around Hawkes Bay can make winds of other courses seem like a gentle breeze.

This one is not for the faint-hearted. Hole 15 wears its nickname ‘Pirate's Plank’ like a badge of honour.

Augusta National - 12th Hole

When the great Jack Nicklaus selects 'Golden Bell' as 'the hardest hole in all of golf', you won't hear us arguing with the 18-time major champion.

This short par-3 can cause many problems. As countless golfers have realised to their detriment over the years, the toughest part of this hole is getting the right wind and picking the right club. Back in 1980, Tom Weiskopf found this out the hard way as he carded a 13, which remains the highest score relative to par in Masters history.

Pebble Beach 17th Hole

When it comes to Pebble Beach, we could have selected many holes on the course for this list, but to explain the true complexity of the 17th, here's a quote from Tiger Woods:

It’s one of the hardest holes in golf if the wind is blowing. You have a long iron or a wood into the green and you have absolutely no bail-out area. There’s nowhere to go. You need to hit the ball right there at the right spot and try to make par. If you make par, you know you’re probably going to pick up a couple of shots.

St Andrews - 17th Hole

The 17th Hole at St Andrews is a regular stop on the Open Championship rota so any golf fan knows the peril that awaits upon the tee of the 'Road Hole'. That very tee shot, over the corner of the hotel, is one of the most famous in the world.

The approach shot is where the main danger lies. A long iron will be needed to find the long green that is guarded by a terrifying pot bunker and on the right hand side by the road and out of bounds.

Oakmont C.C.- 1st Hole

Oakmont presents a brutish golfing challenge from the tee shot on its highly-demanding opening hole. The fairway ahead measures only 24 yards wide and is flanked by nasty rough and greedy bunkers waiting to snare any errant drives.

If you end up short, expect a blind approach shot into a green that slopes from front to back and, therefore, is almost impossible to hold.

Carnoustie - 18th Hole

There's no doubting the 18th at Carnoustie is a fearsome test. It's revered as one of the toughest finishing holes in the game, and made all the more difficult due to the Barry Burn meandering through the layout on three separate occasions.

The hole requires steely nerve and a few confident hits. There are hazards galore and accuracy on the tee shot is key. If you're ever in doubt of the hole's card-wrecking ability, just ask Jean Van de Velde!

Legend Golf and Safari Resort - 19th hole

Striking a tee shot from the top of a mountain would have to be the most awesome thing any golfer could do. Next time you’re in the Limpopo region of South Africa, make sure to get a round in at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort.

After a regulation 18 holes you can take the short journey to play the bonus 19th; and what a bonus it is.

Which holes do you know are more challenging that the ones above? Have you played any of the holes listed? Let us know in the comments.


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