Like to play from the tips? Check out the 10 longest golf courses in the world

It's no secret that the PGA Tour pros play on long golf courses, some of them really long.

Chambers Bay , site of the 2015 U.S. Open, for example, can play more than 7,800 yards. Erin Hills in Wisconsin, where the 2017 U.S. Open was played, is around the same distance, and three-time PGA Championship venue Whistling Straits comes in at just less than 7,800 yards.

Few golfers -- and really even the pros -- should think about taking on these courses from the back tees unless they're compelled to in a tournament. But incredibly, there are courses that are significantly longer, which is part of the appeal for those wanting to play them. Often, golfers simply tee it up from the tips without regard to score on these courses just to say they did it. Although we advise, in most cases, that simply playing one of the world's longest golf courses from any tee is good enough.

With that said, here's a rundown of the 10 longest golf courses in the world. (Australia's Nullarbor Links, billed to be the world's longest golf course with its scattering of holes from different golf courses that stretches out to around 850 miles long, doesn't qualify.) Most of the courses on this list are open to the public, and seven are in the United States.

1. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club, Lijiang, China
8,548 yards, par 72

It makes sense that the longest golf course in the world would be at elevation, so it shouldn't be too surprising that no. 1 on the list is in the Himalayas of China. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club sits at 10,800 feet and it's actually in a valley, facing Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which is 18,360 feet high. Designed by Robin Nelson and Neil Haworth, the course is located in the Yunnan Province of China near Lijiang. The longest hole is the fifth, a 711-yard par 5, and the air is so thin, oxygen is provided in the golf carts.

2. Legend Golf & Safari Signature Course, Waterberg, South Africa
8,473 yards, par 72

Probably better known for its par-3 Extreme 19th hole, the Legend Golf & Safari Signature Course is pretty cool in its own right. Not only is it nearly 8,500 yards, making it the second-longest course in the world, but also a different big-name golfer or designer designed each of the holes, many from South Africa. (Retief Goosen designed the 18th, for example.) Most of the holes feature elevated tees, but none so elevated as the auxiliary par-3 hole. The tee is only accessible via helicopter (which will cost more than $200 extra to play) and the tee shot is to a green shaped like Africa some 1,200 feet below.

3. Blair Atholl Golf Course, Johannesburg, South Africa
8,420 yards, par 72

Just slightly shorter than Legend Signature Course, the Gary Player-designed Blair Atholl Golf Course is part of a private development just outside Johannesburg. The course, which opened in 2007, has several holes that run along the Crocodile River, plus it provides views of the Magaliesburg mountains, the oldest mountain range in the world. There aren't any ridiculously long holes, but there are five par 5s and two of them are more than 600 yards.

4. The International Golf Club - Pines Course, Bolton, Mass.
8,325 yards, par 73

The Pines Course at The International Golf Club opened as a nine-hole course in 1901, and was designed by Geoffrey Cornish (with input from Francis Ouimet). In 1957 it was expanded to 18 holes and, in 1972 a Robert Trent Jones Sr. redesign not only changed the character of the holes, but also made it, at the time, the world's longest golf course. The par-73 course, which is as difficult as it is long, is part of the private 36-hole International Golf Club, which also features the excellent Tom Fazio-designed Oaks Course , which seems diminutive by comparison at just less than 7,000 yards.

5. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge, Hoover, Ala.
8,191 yards, par 72

The former home of a Champions Tour event (The Regions Charity Classic from 2006-10), Ross Bridge is not only one of the longest golf courses in the world, but also a favorite of the 10 courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail . Most golfers never see the back tees on this wonderfully scenic parkland course, which features 10 holes that play along the banks of two man-made lakes connected by a waterfall dropping 80 feet between the ninth and 18th greens. The course, which can be played as short as 5,300 yards, is part of the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa.

6. Antler Creek Golf Course, Peyton, Colo.
8,114 yards, par 72

This outstanding public golf course can easily compensate for the elevation-added distance by moving players in tournaments to the back tees. Most players, of course, move up a tee or three to enjoy this player-friendly layout. Designed by Rick Phelps and located in the Pikes Peak region, Antler Creek is a prairie dunes-style course, mixing Colorado terrain with prairies grasses. It features three lakes and 73 bunkers, and it has played host to numerous USGA major tournament qualifiers as well as the Colorado Golf Association Stroke Play Championship.

7. French Lick Resort, Dye Course, French Lick, Ind.
8,102 yards, par 72

Not only is the Dye Course at French Lick one of the longest golf courses in the world, but it's also one of the most difficult with its endless uneven lies, high grass and difficult greens and bunker. So you'll want to think twice about playing anywhere near the back tees. In fact, during the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, a dozen players failed to break 80, and they played the course at just over 7,000 yards. Still, it's one of the country's most breathtaking courses, and combined with the Ross Course, French Lick Resort makes for a great (albeit expensive) golf getaway.

8. Promontory Club, Painted Valley, Park City, Utah
8,098 yards, par 72

Hailed as the toughest golf course in Utah, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Painted Valley Course is one of two courses at Promontory Golf Club (the other is the Dye Signature Course ). With views of Park City's three major ski mountains, the front nine plays down and up a valley and starts with a 718-yard par 5, the longest hole on the course. The back is laid out more along meadows and features plenty more long holes, including the par-5 12th at 673 yards and the par-4 18th at 480 yards.

9. The Shoals Golf Club, Fighting Joe, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
8,092 yards, par 72

The second course from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail to the make the list is the Fighting Joe at The Shoals , named in honor of the only Confederate general to later attain the same rank in the U.S. Army. It's a links-style course with some terrific scenery. Overlooking the Tennessee River and Lake Jackson, the course features generous fairways, but stray from them and you're likely to find water or high grass, which makes the course tough from any tees.

10. The Prairie Club, Dunes Course, Valentine, Neb.
8,058 yards, par 72

Designed by Tom Lehman and Chris Brands, the Dunes Course at The Prairie Club is laid out along the Sand Hills of Nebraska on the rim of the Snake River Canyon to create a most memorable golf setting. With a rolling landscape of prairies grasses, undulating fairways, elevated tees and big sky, golfers not only have to hit it long, but also control their ball flight and direction. The Dunes Course is one of three terrific layouts (the other two being the Pines Course and the 10-hole, par-3 Horse Course) at The Prairie Club , which offers reasonable stay-and-play packages.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Like to play from the tips? Check out the 10 longest golf courses in the world
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