What's the Hardest Course(Based on Slope Rating) That You Have Played

Started by : Brady G |

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Brady G


I love playing challenging golf courses.  I have heard that the slope rating goes up to 150 but I have yet to come across a course that's rated in the 140's.  The highest rated set of tees I have played was the tips at Kokopelli golf course in southern Illinois rated at a 137.  In your golf travels whats the highest rating you have come across and where was that at? 

Todd T


1. THE OCEAN COURSE
Kiawah Island, S.C. | 7,356 YARDS / PAR 72
Pete Dye, 81, has been torturing golfers for half his life, and the Ocean Course, strung along the Atlantic coastline with fairways and greens perched above sand, sea oats and sweetgrass, is perhaps his most Dye-abolical design. (Eight of our top 50 were created by the man they call the "Marquis de Sod.") The Ocean has the highest combination of Slope Rating (155) and Course Rating (79.6) in America, according to the U.S. Golf Association. With forced carries over marshes, endless waste bunkers and roll-resistant Bermuda grasses, the Ocean is a rare course that can bring tears and fears even to tour pros — it was dubbed Looney Dunes after multiple mishaps in the 1991 Ryder Cup. For the rest of us, it kicks sand in our face — literally when howling winds turn club covers into windsocks. Play it in the mornings when it's walking only. You can't cross the Rubicon in a golf cart.
>>Best Places to Play Directory: More course data | Course Web site

Joel L


I am a member at Echelon in North Atlanta. Our gold tees carry a rating of 74.9 with a 150 slope rating, 7100 yards. The course can be setup for tournament conditions rating 77.4 and a slope rating of 154 at 7500 yards. We regularly play 2 par 5s that measure over 600 yards and are 3 good shots to get on the green. When the wind blows it can get brutal. The biggest complaints I have heard from others are about the 510 yard par 5 14th. It rises 100+ feet from tee to green and plays 560+ yards, big bunkers in the layup area.

The biggest reason for our slope rating is the changes in elevation. The back nine has significant changes from tee to green and demands your entire game, uphill, down hill and side hill lies. The finishing holes on both nines are 2 of the hardest par 4s I have ever played. The rough is thick and the greens firm and fast. Rees Jones created a monster and I love playing it everyday. Check it out, http://www.echelonliving.com.

Joel L

Dan H


Brady,

I'm right there with you man.  I like playing new courses over the same one everyday and am always up for the challenge of a tough course.  The toughest course I have ever played is a course that is no longer in existence as it was bought by Trump and used to be famous for the public course near Pine Valley.  It was called Pine Hill located just outside Philly and sloped @ 145 from the tips.  I have played others from the tips that were over 140 or right at it.  Most of the time I am with a group that is so intimidated by length and ready to quit the game I move up and play with them and work on my game in the meantime.   Keeps the game interesting for sure. 

Josh G


The top rated course I've played was 74.7/144- TPC Boston I got a feeling the course wasn't playing all the way up to its potential the day I played it. 

73.3/143- lost canyon in CA was a beast. 

Both were a lot of fun

Greg P


Bull Valley CC in Woodstock, Il.

151 from the tips at 7300 yds.  Shot an 83 despite hitting 3 OB.  Pretty proud of that accomplishment, but the course beat me up.

The other one that killed me was Butler National.  I think that plays from the tips at around 150 also.

T.Tiger


Cedar Ridge here in Oklahoma is 76.7/129 @ 7290  and is as tough a test as I have played from the tips.

Paiute Wolf Course in Las Vegas is 75.5/145 @ 7604.  Longest Nevada course and is a beast.

For reference, Medinah #3 is 78.3/152 @ 7657 .   Just shows how good the Tour guys really are.

TT

Tony C


I have played at Erin Hills before the reconstruction began for the US Open. I played from the tips for fun which was 8200 and had a rating of 80.7 and slope of 152. This dims in comparison to when I played Erin Hills recently. Now it plays at a mere 7800, 77.9, 145! Cool note, I met Pro V1x loyalist Mark Wilson at lunch during an event at Erin Hills!

Tony C

Josh G


T.Tiger

Cedar Ridge here in Oklahoma is 76.7/129 @ 7290  and is as tough a test as I have played from the tips.

Paiute Wolf Course in Las Vegas is 75.5/145 @ 7604.  Longest Nevada course and is a beast.

For reference, Medinah #3 is 78.3/152 @ 7657 .   Just shows how good the Tour guys really are.

TT

I played The Wolf as well. We moved up a set and that course was still a beast. Frequent visits from a very persuasive cart girl didn't help my score, but we had a heck of a time. 

Allen L


I’ve played four that were right up there in being tough courses.  A few years ago I went to each and played three full days from first tee time until dark.   I’d start on the whites then moved back to experience the game from the long tees.  At the time I was playing to a 4 handicap on my home course sloped at 124.

Pinehurst #2, Pinehurst, NC.  My favorite course anywhere.   Slope rating 130 from whites, 136 from blues.  Had a Double Eagle on my first day on the “Hall of Fame” hole.  I was used to fast greens but had never seen them like #2 had.  Caddy would give me a perfect line but it took three days to get slightly used to those things.  Broke 80 twice.

Old White Course, The Greenbrier, WV.  Second favorite.  Slope rating 128 from short tees, 141 for the long game.  I always play well here and staying at the hotel is just fantastic, keep going back.  The game from the back tees is challenging on the par 3’s, especially #18.  From the whites I will usually break 80, from the back tees I have done it once.

Harbor Town, Hilton Head, SC.  Third favorite.  Slope of 136 from the whites, 147 from the back tees.  Once I had figured out how to stay out of trouble on this course I had fun.  All of the par 3’s are a challenge with wind coming from the ocean.  Number 18 is spectacular.  Broke 80 on my second and third days.

Ocean Course, Hilton Head, NC.  Slope of 127 from the whites, 144 from the back.  I only played from the long tees once and it was more course than I could handle.

Lance R


Butler National in Oak Brook , ill is by far the hardest i have seen. Its 7,335 from tips with 78.1/ 152 for slope and course rating. The course is a beast. The second is Isleworth from the Tiger tees that plays about 7700 yds ( few tee boxs arent included on scorecard measurements) with greens elevated and crowned and guarded by deep face bunkers. I shot 78 at Isleworth and thought it was the round of my life and way better than the few 70s i have posted.

DANNY


Bethpage Black Par 71 // 7,366 yards // Rating 76.6 // Slope 148

I keep getting my backside handed to me on this course. My goal for next season is to break 80 on the Black.

Chris92009


TPC Riversbend near Cincinnati, Ohio has a slope of 144 but that seems like nothing compared to these other courses! LOL

Todd T


PGA West in La Quinta is by far the hardest and visually the most intimidating course I've ever seen... When you see a sign on 15 or 16 that warns of a bunker with a twenty foot drop off you know you're in trouble... Gotta love Mr Dye

jeff l


Todd T

1. THE OCEAN COURSE
Kiawah Island, S.C. | 7,356 YARDS / PAR 72
Pete Dye, 81, has been torturing golfers for half his life, and the Ocean Course, strung along the Atlantic coastline with fairways and greens perched above sand, sea oats and sweetgrass, is perhaps his most Dye-abolical design. (Eight of our top 50 were created by the man they call the "Marquis de Sod.") The Ocean has the highest combination of Slope Rating (155) and Course Rating (79.6) in America, according to the U.S. Golf Association. With forced carries over marshes, endless waste bunkers and roll-resistant Bermuda grasses, the Ocean is a rare course that can bring tears and fears even to tour pros — it was dubbed Looney Dunes after multiple mishaps in the 1991 Ryder Cup. For the rest of us, it kicks sand in our face — literally when howling winds turn club covers into windsocks. Play it in the mornings when it's walking only. You can't cross the Rubicon in a golf cart.
>>Best Places to Play Directory: More course data | Course Web site

     I played two rounds there and this course will put you in your place and if the wind is blowing GOOD LUCK

Josh G


DANNY

Bethpage Black Par 71 // 7,366 yards // Rating 76.6 // Slope 148

I keep getting my backside handed to me on this course. My goal for next season is to break 80 on the Black.

How tough was it to get on?  My friends and I are trying to plan a little trip.

DANNY


Well... It's almost impossible to get on now. They've been closed since 11/17. They will reopen the Black course 4/15. Even then it's pretty tough to get on. They have been legendary with the wait times. People actually show up at about 4:00 in the morning just to get a tee time in the afternoon. I think you might be able to register with them. Just give them a call (631) 429-0701.

tdogg21


Josh G

DANNY

Bethpage Black Par 71 // 7,366 yards // Rating 76.6 // Slope 148

I keep getting my backside handed to me on this course. My goal for next season is to break 80 on the Black.

How tough was it to get on?  My friends and I are trying to plan a little trip.

Josh - I might be going there next summer.  I have a friend who lived in NY for a while and knows some people that can help us get on.  I'll keep you updated if you're interested.

tdogg21


Has to be Pinehurst #2.  The greens were unreal.  You get too close to the edge and the ball is going right off the green and 10 or 20 yards down into the fairway.  Brutal, but a lot of fun.  Can't wait until I can get back there.

DANNY


Definitely... Keep me posted and I'll make the reservation. I'm allowed 1 reservation per month for the Black. 

Allen L


Hey tdogg21, I'd have to agree with you 100%.  That is an amazing course.  When I played there I was used to fast greens, about like Pinehurst.  I arrived ther with my best and played from the back tees.  Those slopes, crowns, and funnels on the greens were just unbelievable.  I had the same caddy for three days and on the final day I was "starting" to get the hang of the greens.  All I can say to anyone going to Pinehurst is, take your A game, and expect to be fully challenged on the greens.  Pinehurst is fairly easy from tee to green, the game starts on the green.

Josh G


Sounds great Tim

Markus B


If you all come to spain sometime then here is my favorite:

Golf de Andratx (Mallorca)

18-Holes Men white          Par:72 Slope: 144 CR: 73.7

... The 18 hole championship course is already well known as one of the most difficult and challenging in the Mediterranean. Hole 6, 609 meters (666 yards) from the championship tee (known as the "Green Monster"), is the longest hole in Spain and one all golfers look forward to playing. It winds uphill, through trees and water hazards, and is fraught with danger. ...

cu Markus

Markus B


If you all come to spain sometime then here is my favorite:

Golf de Andratx (Mallorca)

18-Holes Men white          Par:72 Slope: 144 CR: 73.7

... The 18 hole championship course is already well known as one of the most difficult and challenging in the Mediterranean. Hole 6, 609 meters (666 yards) from the championship tee (known as the "Green Monster"), is the longest hole in Spain and one all golfers look forward to playing. It winds uphill, through trees and water hazards, and is fraught with danger. ...

cu Markus

Mike B


Amen to that!  I played The Ocean Course last March on back-to-back days . . . the first day had winds steady at 35-40mph and the second day was the "calm" day with winds at "only" 20mph.  Although I have been fortunate enough to play some of the top courses in the Southeast and Arizona, I would have to say this is the most difficult course I have played - especially with the winds factored in.  I discussed the winds with one of the pros during our stay and he said that it was pretty typical given the number of holes that are on the ocean, but the PGA wouldn't make the pros play in those types of conditions, so when the PGA Championship was there they postponed one of the rounds due to the winds kicking up.

Todd T

1. THE OCEAN COURSE
Kiawah Island, S.C. | 7,356 YARDS / PAR 72
Pete Dye, 81, has been torturing golfers for half his life, and the Ocean Course, strung along the Atlantic coastline with fairways and greens perched above sand, sea oats and sweetgrass, is perhaps his most Dye-abolical design. (Eight of our top 50 were created by the man they call the "Marquis de Sod.") The Ocean has the highest combination of Slope Rating (155) and Course Rating (79.6) in America, according to the U.S. Golf Association. With forced carries over marshes, endless waste bunkers and roll-resistant Bermuda grasses, the Ocean is a rare course that can bring tears and fears even to tour pros — it was dubbed Looney Dunes after multiple mishaps in the 1991 Ryder Cup. For the rest of us, it kicks sand in our face — literally when howling winds turn club covers into windsocks. Play it in the mornings when it's walking only. You can't cross the Rubicon in a golf cart.
>>Best Places to Play Directory: More course data | Course Web site

Brandon C


I've never played there but I would have to imagine Cog Hill "Dubsdread" would have to fall on that list somewhere.

David B


Throw back to my favorite course for this one.  The Honors Course in Ooltewah, TN (Chattanooga) is by far the toughest I've played.  From the tips it's 7450 yards, 76.8 CR, 152 Slope.  We played it from the blacks and blues which were 6915/74.7/145, and 6630/73.4/145 respectively.  I made four birdies one round and at least that many doubles to go with them.

ross g


 Ko ' olau Golf Course on Oahu has a rating of 78.2 with a slope of 153.  It is the most challenging course I have ever played.

It was worth playing and I would play it again if I go back there on vacation.

sten m


If you ever get a chance to play in Hawaii on Oahu try the Ko Olau course on the east side near Kaneohe.  The course is cut out of the mountains and the scenery it self is work it.  It you play from the tips the slope is 153  Champion 150 and resort 141.  Try to play if it hasn't rained on that side of the island for a couple of  days or so, or your ball doesn't go too far .  It is the wet side of the island.  Lots of elevation changes and ravines you either challenge and  lay up or go over.  The last hole is a beauty.  waste bunker all the way and across that are 12 traps guarding the green.  Lots of fun.  First time is a learning experience and then the next you will have a better idea on what clubs to use and when.   Good luck

Ted K


Brady - TPC San Antonio, AT&T Oaks Course from the Tiburon tees is 76.5/148 playing at 7435 yards. It is also home to the PGA TOUR's Valero Texas Open. When you add the South Texas wind, this place is tough.

vurich


Definitely the tips at Quintero in Peoria, Arizona.

hellahard course but magnificent!

it you get out to AZ, it's a must!

ToddL


By far the toughest course I ave played is The Pines course at The International in Bolton, MA.  At over 8,300 yards, a course rating of 80.0 and a slope of 154, it sink ply was brutal!  A day to always remember, but just brutal!

Jeff K


I agree 100%

Played it twice, once a month before the PGA and the 2nd time the Sunday Following the PGA. Super tough course that will get you into trouble if you miss hit a hot at all.

Ritch G


I agree on PGA West.  I have played it several times and always enjoyed it even though I knew it was going to be a beating.  Friend of mine was in so many bunkers during one round we started calling him Rommel for all the time he spent in the sand.  Others on my list would be Oakland Hills South and Carnoustie.

Rob P


I've played all five of the Bandon courses, and the one that kills me is Bandon Trails.  The slope is only 133, but I've never broken a hundred there.  Bandon Dunes is supposed to be the toughest slope-wise at 143.  

The Crosswater course at Sunriver (in Bend, OR) is also a great test at 145.

Mark C


Played a lot of the top courses ranging from Sawgrass to Whistling Straits. By far the toughest was Oakmont playing firm and fast!

Nothing quite like that experience!!! BEAST

Jeff S


I second the vote for Paiute Wolf. I live in Vegas and have played the Wolf many times. When the wind is gusting and blowing at 25+ mph as it usually does in the 100% exposed desert north of Vegas where the Paiute resort is, this course is a torture-chamber. I'm also going to cast a vote for Torrey Pines (South) from the tips. A brute, especially the greens until you figure out the influence of the ocean.

Texal K


I agree that Bethpage Black is a bear!  I live in San Antonio and get to play TPC San Antonio Oaks course where they play the Texas Open.

From regular back tees,  par 72   7034yds  74.7   145. Pretty much all you want.  Narrow landing areas and large moving greens.

Lots of native areas that penalize errant shots. Don't get to play it often, but go whenever I can.

Bobbi B


There are three courses that rank up there as toughest for me.  Bandon Dunes in Oregon with 75.9/136 from forward tees is the highest rated one but played much easier for me than two others.  Crosswater in Sunriver or has 71.6/132 from long red tees but the back nine is 36.1/137.  This course is all about course management.  Be sure you know where to lay up, where to go over and just how much to club up on this one.  The third on Chehalem Glen in Newberg Oregon isn't rated that hard 72.5/131 but has a few holes that make can really put a dent on your scoring.  That par 3 from the forward tees on (12?) is ridiculous.   It's like having a 100 foot cliff 20 yards in front of you to go to a green you can't see!!   Who designed that!!!   Really it would be easier from the whites!

Chuck Z


I live in Mt Pleasant, SC which is a 30 minute drive from the The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.  I have played this beautiful layout many times and it is probably the most unforgiving course I have ever played.  Shot placement is the key to play this Pete Dye design.  Put the ball in the wrong place on the beauty and you are dead.  When the wind is blowing off the Atlantic it is impossible to post respective scores.  Imagine hitting a driver on a par three that you probably would hit a seven or eight iron on.  Tough does not describe this course when she is angry.  She brought the pros to their knees in 1991 at the Ryder Cup.  Since that Pete softened her a bit, but she still is tough to handle.  There is only one sandtrap on the course, but if you are off the fairways, sand dunes and water definitely come in play.  Being it is a links course, the greens are always extremely fast because they are exposed to the elements.  I am fortunate to have worked many PGA tour events (Ryder Cup,  2 World Cups, Warberg Cup, PGA Tour Championship, Sr PGA Tour Championship, Club Professional Championships) at this course since 1991 and Rory is the only pro to have tamed her and I believe he was using Titleist equipment at the time.   Come on down a play her and leave your ego at home.     

Jim H


As others have mentioned, the PGA West Stadium course in La Quinta (Palm Springs) CA.  Played there again the first week of April this year, after a ten year absence.  We played from the Blues, although from the Blacks it plays 7,300 yards, 76.1 stroke rating with a slope of 150.  Massive sand on every single hole.  On a few holes, deep traps line the fairway from tee to green on one side, with water on the other.  Water comes into play on approximately 13-14 holes.  Very few regular lies - mostly downhill or sidehill lies, often with ball well below/above your stance.  The signature 17th is similar to TPC Sawgrass with an island green (including a trap on the left front to intimidate you) of approximately 150 yards from the blue tees.  The other Par 3 on the back side played 228 yards from the blues, with all carry over the water (playing like 240-245).  The greens are excellent but you better be an exceptional reader of breaks on both uphill and downhill lies.

The time of year you play this course adds to the complexity.  This year in April, we experienced tremendous winds (2 to even 3 club lengths) and 97-degree heat, which only increased the difficulty.  When I last played it in June of 2004, it was 112 degrees when we teed off.  Trying to get in 36 holes, after 27 I was taken to the Emergency Room with heat stroke and put on IVs for several hours and an overnight stay.  I couldn't play again for 3 days!  Unless you are from the area, I wouldn't plan on playing there during the summer months.  The heat can truly be deadly and will take away a lot of fun and expectations you probably have about the number of rounds you will get in.

If you are from back East or the Midwest, you'll gain a completely new respect for dessert golf.  Bring plenty of balls as you will likely donate many to the water, not to mention several you will never find if you are at all eratic off the tee.  One guy in our fore some, an 18 handicapper, lost 15 balls his first time out. We even managed to lose two balls in two different sand traps!  The 16th hole has a trap running the entire length of the left fairway.  Up at the green, that trap presents a 20-foot wall you must climb to reach the green or fairway level. It literally has walkways built into the sides so that you can hike down into the trap and then climb your way back out, similar to the hiking path at the Grand Canyon.  It's the best golf challenge I've faced.

Hal B


I don't now what the slope is , but it plays 7250 yards and by far is the hardest course I have played in my 56 years of golf :

Muirfield  in Scotland, It was the first time in my life that I have shot in the the 100's , 103 to be exact with a 13 on a hole. It was an experience that I will never forget . But I am glad that I had the chance to play it.

Harmon A


Aloha Ross G. 

You are correct, Most Challenging. The risk/ reward is always there. I play every Friday, since I work there and still the most challenging. Very close 2nd is Wolf Creek in Mesquite Nv.

john c


We have a course here in Colorado Springs Antler Creek that plays 8114 yards from the tips at 150 slope and rated at 77.5. 

No I have not ever entertained the thought of playing from there.LOL They have 5 sets of tees I play from the blue (3rd set) 

7007 135 @ 72,7.  I used to think I had to play the tips, had the long ball, paid for it might as well use the who;e course. Well found 

out that is not always that enjoyable. Not moving forward yet. Play to a nine. I like to play as many different courses as I can to keep 

it interesting. 

Brady thanks for the post very interesting. 

Bentley


John C, I once played a course at a USGA qualifier, I don't recall the name. On a par 5 I reached the putting surface. This was a two tier green with heavy sloop from front back. Sad to say my putting was not up to my approach shot...I offer two "really tough" course that I've played. Royal Troon in Scotland, and where I played well. And the courses I grew up on in Farmingdale, LINY. All the course at Bethpage State Park, the Black is well known from the USA Opens, 2009 was really wet and muddy. I give the re course a strong second. The 450 yard par 4 #1 is very tough. In the fall you will loose multiple balls as the leave become a problem. Lots of great memories from Bethpage. Hole in one on 17 Black!

Josh G


Jeff S

I second the vote for Paiute Wolf. I live in Vegas and have played the Wolf many times. When the wind is gusting and blowing at 25+ mph as it usually does in the 100% exposed desert north of Vegas where the Paiute resort is, this course is a torture-chamber. I'm also going to cast a vote for Torrey Pines (South) from the tips. A brute, especially the greens until you figure out the influence of the ocean.

Paiute Wolf is a tough one too.  The greens are tricky and that wind can be a killer.

Mike C


I believe the maximum USGA slope is 155 and there are only a handful of courses out there with this slope designation.  Have played Pine Valley and TPC Sawgrass that both have a 155 slope designation.  Most recently, played Ballyhack Golf Club outside Roanoke, VA which is rated at 76.6/155 at 7,294 yards from the tips.  This is my brother in-law's course and can be quite challenging but is in a beautiful setting up in the mountains.  Even the next set of tees forward are still rated 74.0/153 at 6,753 yards.

Mitch O


the two hardest courses I have played are as follows:

  • Desert Mountain- Chiricahua- 72.5/151, 7,347 yards.  It is an absolute beast as many of the fairways are tight and shots into the green can be in huge trouble if not hit right on line.  Combine that with the greens usually running at about a 13 makes for quite the challenge.  
  • Desert Mountain Renegade Gold Flags- 75.2/147, 7,435 yards.  This course has two pins on every hole and the Gold flags are generally stuck in impossible places.  When you are hitting in to the green from 200+ out on nearly all par 4's the day can be very tough!
As always, its tough to not enjoy out at "The Mountain" regardless of how hard the course is or how good/bad you are playing!