Golf Advisor's 25 toughest courses, based on your reviews

We're counting down the top 50 toughest golf courses according to reviews submitted through Golf Advisor. We've ranked them based on each course's difficulty rating (scored 1-5 based on the selection made by the golfer on the review form). The Top 25 features major championship and PGA Tour venues as well as some of the most notorious courses in destination golf.

For more on how we uncovered the Top 50 and to view courses 50-26, click here.

Golf Advisor's 25 toughest courses

25. Olde Stonewall Golf Club

Ellwood City, Pa.
Yardage: 7,103 | Slope/Rating: 148/74.2
Architect: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry
What they're saying: "The further up the hills you go the more accuracy is required." - GLBrocks

24. Crumpin-Fox Club

Bernardston, Mass.
Yardage: 7,007 | Slope/Rating: 141/73.8
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr. Roger Rulewich
What they're saying: "Tough to score well here the first time around; I can't wait to go back now that I know what's out there." - threedollardip

23. Muskoka Bay Club

Gravehurst, Ontario, Canada
Yardage: 7,367 | Slope/Rating: 146/76.1
Architect: Doug Carrick
What they're saying: "Every hole makes you stand in awe from the tee boxes. It is by far the most challenging course I have played." - sprogis1

22. The Rock Golf Club

Minett, Ontario, Canada
Yardage: 6,649 | Slope/Rating: 144/72.0
What they're saying: "Lots of blind tee shots, narrow fairways, rocks and other obstacles to bounce off. Between two of us, we lost 13 balls." - ghawke

21. PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Yardage: 7,215 | Slope/Rating: 155/76.8
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: " I would recommend taking a forecaddie as they really help with the sight lines and finding your ball in the deep rough (sinks right to the bottom every time)" - rdbuchan87

20. The Shattuck Golf Club

Jaffrey, N.H.
Yardage: 6,764 | Slope/Rating: 153/73.5
Architect: Brian Silva
What they're saying: "They make no secret about the course being a 'ball eater'." - Jselesnick

19. TPC Stadium Course at PGA West

La Quinta, Calif.
Yardage: 7,300 | Slope/Rating: 150/76.1
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "This course boasts more very deep bunkers than you will encounter anywhere." - laxdca11

18. The Ranch Golf Club

San Jose, Calif.
Yardage: 6,747 | Slope/Rating: 150/72.8
What they're saying: "The frustration of the course is that If you do not hit your ball just right, it is gone!!!" - bjfranzen

17. AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio

San Antonio
Yardage: 7,435 | Slope/Rating: 148/76.5
Architect: Greg Norman
What they're saying: "Some devilish pin positions out there, and there really isn't an easy approach shot on the course" - BrandonTuckerGA

16. Bulle Rock Golf Club

Havre de Grace, Md.
Yardage: 7,375 | Slope/Rating: 148/76.6
Architect: Pete Dye

What they're saying: "There is not a round of golf here I haven't felt tested for 4 hours and left exhausted, both physically and mentally." - bfalker

15. Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort

Kiawah Island, S.C.
Yardage: 7,356 | Slope/Rating: 144/77.3
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "you'll probably shoot your highest round of the season - if not of your entire gilding career. I shot 86 and striped it all day." - in2themystyc11

14. Ko'olau Golf Club

Kaneohe, Hawaii
Yardage: 7,310 | Slope/Rating: 153/78.2
Architect: Dick Nugent
What they're saying: "There must have been 10+ 200 yard carries, the finishing hole had two canyon carries." - Timoatop

13. Echelon Golf Club

Alpharetta, Ga.
Yardage: 7,558 | Slope/Rating: 154/77.8
Architect: Rees Jones
What they're saying: "As someone new to the game, I probably bit off more than I could chew, but it was worth it." - asw1614

12. Rio Secco Golf Club

Henderson, Nev.
Yardage: 7,313 | Slope/Rating: 153/75.0
Architect: Rees Jones
What they're saying: "Had a great day, but trouble is all around. Forced carries can be tough for seniors/short hitters." - PingDave

11. Woodhaven at The Resort at Glade Springs

Daniels, W.Va.
Yardage: 7,122 | Slope/Rating: 149/75.1
Architect: Ault, Clark & Associates
What they're saying: "I had made a joke to my friends over social media that I am playing on the Wii Golf course." - u827694085

10. Camp Creek Golf Club

Panama City Beach, Fla.
Yardage: 7,159 | Slope/Rating: 152/76.0
Architect: Tom Fazio
What they're saying: "The greens are large and very undulating which requires precision on approach shots." - samallenkawa

9. Royal New Kent Golf Club

Providence Forge, Va.
Yardage: 7,336 | Slope/Rating: 147/76.5
Architect: Mike Strantz
What they're saying: "Play the wrong tees and I guarantee you'll have a miserable time, so swallow your pride." - pjbalbi

8. Straits Course at Whistling Straits

Sheboygan, Wis.
Yardage: 7,790 | Slope/Rating: 152/77.2
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "Caddies in white uniform sing 'fore' like angels and the wind whistles in harmony." - Gyoju

7. Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club

Princeville, Hawaii
Yardage: | Slope/Rating: 140/76.2
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
What they're saying: "If you aren't straight off the tee and fairways you will require a couple dozen golf balls." - thisisjoelrobinson
(Editor's Note: The Prince Course is currently closed for renovations.)

6. Ballyhack

Roanoke, Va.
Yardage: 7,294 | Slope/Rating: 155/76.1
Architect: Lester George
What they're saying: "don't know of any course with a higher slope rating. You'd have to be a pro to enjoy playing here. It takes the difficulty rating to a new level." - nuckles

5. The Idaho Club

Sandpoint, Idaho
Yardage: 7,089 | Slope/Rating: 148/74.6
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
What they're saying: "Play the correct tees, bring lots of balls and enjoy the scenery and the experience." - jsullivan4419

4. Erin Hills

Erin, Wis.
Yardage: 7,800 | Slope/Rating: 145/77.9
Architects: Ron Whitten, Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry
What they're saying: "Despite the difficulty, this is one of the most beautiful and unique golf courses in America." - MikeBaileyGA

3. Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club

County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Length: 7,143 yards | SSS: 73
Architect: H.S. Colt
What they're saying: "It's all marram grass and dunes, all big drives and wicked putts -- a veritable amusement park of golf." - KielChristianson

2. Kampen Course at Purdue Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex

West Lafayette, Ind.
Yardage: 7,465 | Slope/rating: 146/76.5
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying "The greens were flawless, undulated in all directions, and were extremely fast." - dshot22

1. Black Course at Bethpage State Park

Farmingdale, N.Y.
Yardage: 7,468 | Slope/rating: 152/78.1
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
What they're saying: "Brilliant use of the natural typography and an atmosphere of equity could well mean that Bethpage Black is a golfer’s ultimate American dream." - MattAdamsGA

What are the toughest courses you've ever played? Let us know in the comments below, or leave a course review on Golf Advisor.

Jun 10, 2016

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Rusty Dyson's avatar
Rusty Dyson wrote at 2018-05-09 19:39:54+00:00:

The River Course at Whistling Straits is the most difficult golf course I've ever played... thought it was harder than Bethpage Black and much harder than the Straits Course. Royal County Down in Ireland is also a tough tract.

Rusty D.

mike p's avatar
mike p wrote at 2018-06-18 14:47:18+00:00:

I agree. Love those two courses but having played them both multiple times, Blackwolf Run River is more difficult than Straits.

Ryan's avatar
Ryan wrote at 2017-12-18 00:57:36+00:00:

This is all wrong number one is Kiawah The Ocean Course

Jemeyer1's avatar
Jemeyer1 wrote at 2017-07-20 21:04:41+00:00:

How is winged foot not on this list! I'd like to see anyone play winged foot west and break 80.The winner of the us open in 2006 was 5+! Should be in top ten AT LEAST

BrandonTuckerGA's avatar
BrandonTuckerGA Staff wrote at 2017-07-21 08:27:07+00:00:

not on it because it's private and doesn't have many reviews. 

golfsaps93's avatar
golfsaps93 wrote at 2016-11-10 22:11:17+00:00:

in no way shape or form is whistling straits harder then  the ocean course.  Bethpage black on a normal day is not more difficult then either of those two.  I have played all three at least 5 times and its always windy at whistling and kiawah which makes those courses more difficult then bethpage black. I'm a 1 handicap and played very solid the first time i saw the ocean course and shot 83 the first time i saw the other two i shot 75.

Robert Reifert's avatar
Robert Reifert wrote at 2016-11-10 18:04:11+00:00:

The Black course has to be right up there as one of the toughest.....would love to walk it and play it in my prime 40 years ago

timo111's avatar
timo111 wrote at 2016-11-10 07:41:26+00:00:

Black River golf course, PAR 73, 6483 meters, CR 79,5 SR 155Bratislava, Slovak Republic

GPS North:48° 12' 04.60''GPS East:17° 17' 17.57''

elmatador721's avatar
elmatador721 wrote at 2016-11-09 20:39:53+00:00:

Tot Hill Farm is more demanding than Tobacco Road (I love both). It should have made the list, too. 

Laurelcreek's avatar
Laurelcreek wrote at 2016-08-26 00:53:52+00:00:

It's obvious that you never played old head.  It's 15 shots harder than Spanish bay 

markcheese's avatar
markcheese wrote at 2016-06-15 11:31:26+00:00:

Really. Rio Secco is on this list? and its #12. Should not even be in the top 50 at all. Great course and I love it but come on! There are way harder courses then this one.

pjmcmahon1's avatar
pjmcmahon1 wrote at 2016-06-14 21:30:34+00:00:

Spyglass should be somewhere in the top 5 but Carnoustie is the hardest I've ever played, esp. if there is a 20+mph wind. 

u00000592604's avatar
u00000592604 wrote at 2016-06-14 18:54:40+00:00:

I think they missed out on Bull Valley. That thing is BRUTAL...

 I'm playing #35 Amana for the first time next week so I'll get to judge that one for myself. 

Alaska00's avatar
Alaska00 wrote at 2016-06-14 18:49:48+00:00:

Ledgerock golf course in Mohnton, PA. Rees Jones design 7245yds, 153/75.6. 

u000005951526's avatar
u000005951526 wrote at 2016-06-14 18:30:30+00:00:

Black course at Bethpage over 40 times. The black is brutal becasue you can only walk and when you cross the road over to the 15th hole, you are really beat up with 3 real tough holes to go before the easier 18th

Jane2438938's avatar
Jane2438938 wrote at 2016-06-14 18:22:51+00:00:

Furry Creek Squamish BC.  Elevation changes are unbelievable and the landing spaces are very narrow. Beautiful mountain and ocean scenery. 

adefoe's avatar
adefoe wrote at 2016-11-10 18:11:54+00:00:

This place is a great photo op, but not a golf course. One of the worst designed tracks I have ever played!  Lots of forced carries, balls bouncing and disappearing from the middle of the fairway and overpriced!It did serve as the backdrop to Happy Gilmour, talk to Shooter!

willcruz's avatar
willcruz wrote at 2016-06-14 18:15:45+00:00:

I cast a vote for the Dye course at Barefoot in Myrtle Beach. 

golfballtx's avatar
golfballtx wrote at 2016-06-14 00:03:27+00:00:

This is laughable.  To list Spanish Bay as #42 and not have Spyglass on the list at all renders it worthless.  You can walk from one to the other and there is NO comparison.  Spyglass is 4-6 shots harder.

BrandonTuckerGA's avatar
BrandonTuckerGA Staff wrote at 2016-06-14 00:32:30+00:00:

Appreciate your comments. The two are very close in our users' ratings but Spanish Bay has the edge. Maybe when both get more reviews there will be some separation. 

Robstnr's avatar
Robstnr wrote at 2016-06-14 18:24:23+00:00:

I totally agree with Golfballtx that Spanish Bay probably shouldn't be on this list.  Spyglass Hill is 10 shots harder than Spanish Bay on any day.

pjmcmahon1's avatar
pjmcmahon1 wrote at 2016-06-14 21:26:28+00:00:

I agree, Spyglass must be on the list somewhere in the top 5!

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.