10/30/2015

It’s Halloween, so myself along (obviously) with Dillon Friday decided to sit down and rank the top-10 scariest holes on the PGA Tour. These holes are intimidating and strike fear into the hearts of even the most talented players in the world.

We had some fun with this, and we’d love your feedback. Reach out to us on Twitter to talk more and share which you agree with and which, in your mind, we left off.

Happy Halloween….boo.

troy and dillon

The 10 Scariest Holes in Golf

10. #16 Innisbrook Copperhead Course

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When I first saw this hole in person, I remember looking back toward the tee and thinking it was a nice, dogleg par-4. It didn’t seem too strenuous at all. But I hadn’t been to the tee yet.

After realizing that the hole measures 473-yards and that the angle in which players tee off brings the water severely into play, at the beginning of a stretch of holes called “the Snake Pit,” my perspective on this beast changed.

The hole offers a jut in the water at the 250-yard mark in the fairway, extending all the way to around 280-yards, where the water again replaces fairway. This gives many players a bit of a landing area for their tee shots. But if they choose to hit something into that area, they can’t miss it left. When the ball runs through the fairway left, the overhanging trees and pine straw make 6 a possibility in a hurry.

I watched most players elect 3-woods off the tee. But I doubt they’ll admit they were scared, just “playing smart.” But we all know…

In 2013, only 42 birdies were made all week, comparing against 25 doubles.

— Troy | troy@usgolftv


9. #18 Quail Hollow

quail hollow

Sorry, Dill, taking two in a row here.

Most wouldn’t think of Quail Hollow when thinking of scary holes, but the finishing hole of “The Green Mile” has made a name for itself as a stingy test of nerve.

Measuring in at almost 500-yards (!), the hole also displays a creek runs the entire left-hand side of the hole. Bailout area– there is none. Hit the fairway (or sliver of available rough), or pay the consequences. The green sits elevated and has trouble surrounding it in the form of brooks, bunkers and wedge tangling rough.

You may remember the way Rickie Fowler won his first tournament, playing gutsy shots into this hole repeatedly, including a wedge to three feet to win. He held off both Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points. It was a big moment, and the way Rickie handled the difficult 18th at Quail Hollow was a sign of his stardom to come.

It was much better than the way David Toms played it, which can be seen in the video below… #hilarious.

— Troy | troy@usgolftv


8. #17 TPC National– The Bear Trap

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“It should all be won or lost here”- Jack Nicklaus on the Bear Trap

The last of the three stops that make up the Bear Trap at PGA National, this 190-yard par-3 can sometimes make its counterpart at TPC Sawgrass look like a putt-putt hole. The tee shot must carry water into a narrow green protected by bunkers. When the wind kicks up, it’s a hope and pray moment for any golfer.

Four-shot leads dissipate with a splash. Simply put, 17 can ruin any player’s weekend no matter how well he plays the other holes.

— Dillon | @noclassfriday


7. #8 Pebble Beach

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Nestled along the Pacific Ocean, no. 8 at Pebble Beach boasts the largest water hazard in golf. And boy is it easy to find.

A simple block, or push, or a nice baby hook from a lefty should do the trick. On the calmest of days the view along can intimidate any golfer. When the wind comes off the ocean, and don’t kid yourself it always does, each shot is downright terrifying.

It plays as a par-four because of its length—428 yards during the US Open—but really it’s a question-mark hole. Sometimes you’ll happily take a five and walk away. Even six can be a good score here, especially for guys like me.

— Dillon | @noclassfriday


6. #18 Doral’s Blue Monster

18 doral

This hole is the exact hole which gave the golf course the nickname “The Blue Monster.”

It’s got the blue, in the form of a hazard surrounding the fairway and green and it’s got the monster, in the form of a 460+ yard par-4 which has played the most difficult on the PGA Tour multiple times over the past decade.

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If you remember a few years back, to Patrick Reed’s first big win on the PGA Tour, he laid up with an iron off the tee shot, needing only a bogey to secure the win. He knew how difficult the hole played and decided, even with the confidence he exuded post interview, to leave this hole alone and take his 5.

The tee shot is demanding. Left is water. Right is palm trees. The green is a difficult carry, especially when the south Florida winds spike.

This could be the scariest finishing hole in golf.

— Troy | troy@usgolftv


5. #17 St. Andrews– The Road Hole

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Perhaps golf’s most famous hole at its most famous course, the Road Hole continues to buttress its reputation even after centuries of play. Look no further than this past summer’s Open Championship.

During the opening round, the nearly 500-yard par-four failed to yield a single birdie. The final tally: 54 pars, 102 bogeys or worse.

Jordan Spieth, golf’s golden boy, had this to say following the tumultuous outing: “And then 17 today, you purposely try and miss the green on the second shot. There’s almost no other way around it. That kind of takes away the point of the hole, but at the same time, it’s the Road Hole at St. Andrews, and today’s pin position is really the only time you can’t really play the hole.”

He made bogey that day and then again in Monday’s final round, which derailed his pursuit of the Grand Slam. The pot bunker in front of the green is something like the Sarlacc. The road to the right doubles as a place of no return for a champion. The hotel at the tee shot offers an ironic sort of comfort; hospitality adjacent to treachery.

— Dillon | @noclassfriday


4. #1 Oakmont

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“A poor shot should be a shot irrevocably lost”- William Fownes, son of Henry Fownes, architect and designer of Oakmont

Trees on the right, fairway bunkers on the left, a down-sloping green to hit into and the potential for a blind approach make for one of the toughest opening holes in golf. Precision is the name of the game at Oakmont and no hole is a better representation of that than the first.

Imagine stepping up to the tee at the US Open for the first time, with all that surrounds that moment, and thinking “I need to hit two near-perfect shots to get to the second even.”

Much of the US Open’s reputation was made at this Western Pennsylvania Country Club. Part of it was Arnold Palmer’s status there. Part of it was the challenge that epitomized America’s championship.

— Dillon | @noclassfriday


3. #1 Augusta National

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Standing on the 1st tee at Augusta National is plenty enough of a reason to be fearful and sprinkle some wee down your pant leg. Imagine doing it in the Masters. Legends like Arnie, Jack and Gary teed off just a few hours ago. Would you be able to stand the ball on the tee without help from your caddy?

Now, take in the fact that “Tea Olive,” its given nickname, among the hardest ranking starting holes in golf, averaging a quarter-of-a-stroke over par by the world’s best.

With a massive bunker on the right hand side of the fairway that requires a 300-yard carry to clear, most players are forced to thread one into the left hand landing zone. Miss it left? Trees. Miss it right, bunker trouble, or trees.

The second shot is an uphill shot into an undulating green on some of the fastest putting surfaces in the world. If I ever play Augusta, I’ll just be crossing my fingers and hoping for a 5.

— Troy | troy@usgolftv


2. #17 TPC Sawgrass

sawgrass

This was always going to be up there, wasn’t it Troy? There’s good reason for the high ranking.

Let’s start with the water, which surrounds the green on this par-3 to give it the appearance of an island (and as we all know, it’s really an isthmus). You can avoid it with your shot, but not with your mind. It’s everywhere and the large crowds that stand in the background only add to the oceanic feel to the hole. You are alone.

Then you add 17’s place in the round. It’s the penultimate stop, the one that causes you to press at the holes preceding and succeeding it. The PLAYERS Championship wouldn’t be the same without it. Neither would golf.

— Dillon | @noclassfriday


1. #12 Augusta National

augusta

It’s 155 yards. A simple 8-iron. A par-3. Not scary…at all.

WRONG!

Back in the grove of trees which marks Amen Corner sits the world’s most famous, and curious, par-3.

Augusta National’s 12th hole only measures 155 yards, but when asked to professionals who tee it up there, they’ll say this shot is baffling. With the tall trees fixated behind the green, the wind swirls around like a spinning top, leaving golfers in bewilderment on the other side of Rae’s Creek.

Many, many Masters runs have come to an end at the 12th hole, making it the back nine’s scariest hole. Jack Nicklaus once said, the Masters Tournament didn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. With reachable par-5s and some getable par-4s, birdies await. Even the 12th has its fair share of birdies.

But also, it’s fair share of splashes, dashing Masters dreams on an annual basis.

— Troy | troy@usgolftv


Well, there you have it. The 10 scariest holes in golf. What do you think? Any obvious one’s we’re missing. And no, we’re talking PGA Tour sanctioned holes, not this: