Augusta National's 11th hole might end up being the scariest hole on the PGA Tour in 2017. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) The fourth hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines played well over par last year. (Courtesy of the USGA) The 14th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links is a rare par 3 ranked among the toughest holes on the PGA Tour. (Courtesy of Getty Images) No. 18 on the Golf Club of Houston's Tournament Course is one of the most difficult finishers on the PGA Tour. (Courtesy of the Golf Club of Houston) In 2014, Jack Nicklaus moved the green more toward to the water on the 14th hole of PGA National's Champion Course, which plays host to the Honda Classic. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) The 13th hole on the famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort is one of the most difficult holes at the Valspar Championship. (Courtesy of Salamander Resorts) The famous 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. is beautiful -- but it's also dramatically difficult. (Courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort) Dawie van der Walt of South Africa plays out of a bunker on the 14th hole of the Champion Course at PGA National during the 2016 Honda Classic. (David Cannon/Getty Images ) Look for the 18th hole at Quail Hollow to terrorize players at the 2017 PGA Championship. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images ) K.J. Choi smacks a drive on the 12th hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines during the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.  (Donald Miralle/Getty Images )

The 18 most difficult holes on the 2016-17 PGA Tour schedule



Let's debunk the myth right now.

No. 17 on the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is not the hardest or most intimidating hole on the PGA Tour.

It might be scary for you and me, but pros with wedges in their hands aren't afraid of a little water. Don't believe me? We have the numbers to back it up.

Golf Advisor consulted Shotlink to find the holes on Tour that played the hardest, in relation to par, during the 2015-16 wraparound schedule. What we found is a devilish collection of mean par 4s and dangerous par 3s.

The hardest hole last year was of little surprise to anyone who has played Royal Troon, the site of the 2016 Open Championship. The famous 11th hole -- Railway -- is narrow and nasty, inducing 26 scores higher than a double bogey, by far the highest total of "others" on Tour all year. It averaged .56 strokes over par.

But we're not using this data just to look back. Let's focus on what's ahead during the 2016-17 season. We've rounded up the scariest holes the guys will face this year, according to Shotlink*:

1. No. 11 at Augusta National

Tournament: The Masters.

Hole length/Par: 505/4.

Scoring average last year: 4.521.

Comment: Added length in recent years has made the start of Amen Corner even tougher, bringing the pond near the green more into play.

2. No. 12 on the South Course at Torrey Pines

Tournament: Farmers Insurance Open.

Hole length/Par: 504/4.

Scoring average: 4.508.

Comment: Bunkers are left and right off the tee and again at the semi-elevated green.

3. No. 14 on the Champion Course at PGA National

Tournament: The Honda Classic.

Hole length/Par: 465/4.

Scoring average: 4.49.

Comment: The redesign of the 14th hole by Jack Nicklaus in 2014 pushed the green closer to the water. The scores last year (13 higher than double bogey) reflect the changes.

4. No. 18 at Quail Hollow Club

Tournament: The old Wells Fargo Championship venue will host the 2017 PGA Championship after a renovation.

Hole length/Par: 493/4.

Scoring average: 4.481.

Comment: The demanding finishing hole, capping a three-hole stretch called "The Green Mile," won't change during the renovation. The stream up the left side is always a concern. Two bunkers guard a sloping green.

5. No. 14 at Harbour Town Golf Links

Tournament: RBC Heritage.

Hole length/Par: 192/3.

Scoring average: 3.441.

Comment: Water right forces most players to bail out on the toughest par 3 on Tour, leaving a tough, up-and-down for par.

6. No. 14 at Glen Abbey Golf Club

Tournament: RBC Canadian Open.

Hole length/Par: 457/4.

Scoring average: 4.422.

Comment: Players who try to cut off too much of the dogleg right could end up in a creek. Elevation changes add up to two clubs on the approach to an undulating green.

7. No. 18 at Harbour Town Golf Links

Tournament: RBC Heritage.

Hole length/Par: 474/4.

Scoring average: 4.415.

Comment: The candy-striped lighthouse is merely a distraction for the task at hand -- avoiding the marshes of the Calibogue Sound on every shot.

8. No. 11 on the Champion Course at PGA National

Tournament: The Honda Classic.

Hole length/Par: 450/4.

Scoring average: 4.412.

Comment: The pond that fronts the green is also in play off the tee on the right as the fairway slides diagonally left.

9. No. 7 on the South Course at Torrey Pines

Tournament: Farmers Insurance Open.

Hole length/Par: 462/4.

Scoring average: 4.395.

Comment: Awkward downhill or side-hill lies on the sloping fairway, featuring a bunker on the left, creates a difficult approach. Blocking the ball right off the tee leaves players in a jail of trees.

10. No. 6 on the Champion Course at PGA National

Tournament: The Honda Classic.

Hole length/Par: 479/4.

Scoring average: 4.392.

Comment: Since this is a par 5 for members, length is always the issue. Water left and two bunkers right pinch the landing zone. The green slopes severely to the back left.

11. No. 18 at the Golf Club of Houston

Tournament: Shell Houston Open.

Hole length/Par: 488/4.

Scoring average: 4.391.

Comment: Players must reload if they dunk a tee shot in the water up the left side of the fairway. Most golfers try to hit a right-to-left tee shot playing off the massive fairway bunkers on the right.

12. No. 14 on the El Camaleon Course at Mayakoba

Tournament: OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Hole length/Par: 452/4.

Scoring average: 4.381.

Comment: This hole is carved from dense mangroves, where a drive placed up the right side of the fairway provides the best angle into the elevated green.

13. No. 10 on the Champion Course at PGA National

Tournament: The Honda Classic.

Hole length/Par: 508/4.

Scoring average: 4.374.

Comment: Normally a par 5 for everyday play, no. 10 plays long, bending over a bunker on the right side of the dogleg.

14. No. 4 on the South Course at Torrey Pines

Tournament: Farmers Insurance Open.

Hole length/Par: 488/4.

Scoring average: 4.371.

Comment: With cliffs on the left and the wind usually a factor, the tee shot is nerve wracking. The two-tiered green, perched on the edge of land, is well protected.

15. No. 13 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort

Tournament: Valspar Championship.

Hole length/Par: 200/3.

Scoring average: 3.365.

Comment: Misses short or right splash in the water. This is the most picturesque portion of the course.

16. No. 1 at Augusta National

Tournament: The Masters.

Hole length/Par: 445/4.

Scoring average: 4.360.

Comment: The tee shot on "Tea Olive" is difficult on this dogleg right. Shorter hitters face an uphill approach to an undulating green.

17. No. 8 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula C.C.

Tournament: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Hole length/Par: 454/4.

Scoring average: 4.359.

Comment: The dogleg left bends towards the famous 17 Mile Drive.

18. No. 16 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort

Tournament: Valspar Championship.

Hole length/Par: 475/4.

Scoring average: 4.354.

Comment: The start of the stretch of holes called the "Snake Pit" delivers the biggest bite. A pond protects the turn of the dogleg right. John Daly made a 12 in 2014 -- a score more familiar to amateurs than pros.

* Difficult holes from Royal Troon, 2016 U.S. Open host Oakmont Country Club and the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral were omitted from this story. Shotlink data wasn't available for courses new to the schedule this year -- first-time U.S. Open venue Erin Hills Golf Course, 10-time Open Championship host Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Kingston Heath Golf Club (site of the World Cup of Golf), the Club de Golf Chapultepec (site of the new World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship), and Albany (host of the Hero World Challenge).

Oct 31, 2016



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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.