Matt Ginella's 10 toughest golf courses you can play in the U.S.



Golf is a tough game, particularly when a course is built and set up to challenge the best in the world. My list of the top 10 toughest courses you can play coast-to-coast has a good dose of Pete Dye and PGA Tour venues. It also has a well known brute in Hawaii and, of course, the famed Black Course at Bethpage State Park, host of The Barclays during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, not to mention past U.S. Opens and a future PGA Championship.

Tell me the toughest courses you've ever played on Twitter @MattGinellaGC using hashtag #ToughestCourseEver, and see below for some of your responses so far.

Ginella's 10 toughest courses you can play in the U.S.



10. Bayonet Golf Course at Bayonet Blackhorse

Seaside, Calif.


9. Straits Course at Whistling Straits

Sheboygan, Wis.


8. River Course at Blackwolf Run

Kohler, Wis.


7. Black Course at Bethpage Black

Farmingdale, N.Y.


6. Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach Resorts

Pebble Beach, Calif.


5. Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.


4. Blue Monster at Trump National Doral Miami

Doral, Fla.


3. Stadium Course at PGA West

La Quinta, Calif.


2. Ko'Olau Golf Club

Kaneohe, Hawaii


1. Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island, S.C.


Some of your best #ToughestCourseEver responses so far:

Aug 24, 2016



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u000006383388's avatar
u000006383388 wrote at 2016-11-04 18:01:33+00:00:

If you ever play Ko'olau, you will never forget it.  It's all tee ball.  If you are a little wild off the tee, you will run our of balls.  Anything slightly off the fairway will be difficult or impossible to find.  If you are in control of your tee ball, you find it challenging and fun.  It is extremely scenic so be sure to take a camera and forget about the score card.

u000006383388's avatar
u000006383388 wrote at 2016-11-04 17:55:53+00:00:

If you ever get to play Ko'olau, you won't forget it.  It's all tee ball.  If you are a little wild off the tee you will run out of balls.  Anything slightly off the fairway is lost forever.  If you are in control of your tee ball, you will have a lot of fun and challenges.  Be sure to take a camera - your friends won't believe you unless they see it.  Definitely the hardest course I ever played!

servaas19's avatar
servaas19 wrote at 2016-08-30 23:30:51+00:00:

Two words Matt----Wolf Creek .Slope rating of 157!

SweeneyFrenchLick's avatar
SweeneyFrenchLick wrote at 2016-08-30 16:13:04+00:00:

Matt...you could not even come close to busting 90 at The Pete Dye Course...what are you thinking?

u00000602374's avatar
u00000602374 wrote at 2016-08-26 20:17:45+00:00:

Played 36 holes one day at Ko'olau several years back, and was told the course record there was 63.....lost balls in one round!  They play lateral rules everywhere because rounds would take 8 hours if they didn't.  That being said, I loved the experience of playing there.  The views of the Ko'olau Mountain Range is absolutely breathtaking at times.  It's a great course not to keep score on....

lifechurchchip's avatar
lifechurchchip wrote at 2016-08-27 11:33:46+00:00:

Ko'olau was like playing golf at Jurassic Park. Only playing through t-rex territory might have been easier. 

sailcara1's avatar
sailcara1 wrote at 2016-08-26 11:39:40+00:00:

All courses are hard, if ones is having a ba day.

Laurelcreek's avatar
Laurelcreek wrote at 2016-08-25 19:31:54+00:00:

Victoria national in Indiana. Close 2nd. Galloway national near Atlantic city.  Harder than pine valley


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Matt Ginella

Special Contributor

Matt Ginella is Golf Channel's resident travel insider. He writes for GolfChannel.com and appears weekly on "Morning Drive." Before Golf Channel, Ginella was senior travel editor for Golf Digest and Golf World from 2007-2012 and covered courses, resorts and the avid amateur golfer's annual buddies trips to over 60 destinations around the country. Ginella graduated from St. Mary's College (Calif.) in 1995 and earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2003. Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattginellagc and on Instagram at @Matt_Ginella.