Golf is a beautiful sport. It’s not as easy as a lot of people think though. And, it can get tougher depending on where you play.
If you’re a golf novice, it might be best to stick to the easy courses first. However, if you want to challenge yourself, try checking out the toughest golf courses in the world. Here are 10 of them.
1. Ko’olau Golf Club, Oahu, Hawaii, United States
Ko’olau Golf Club is designed by renowned course architect Dick Nugent in 1992. It has been listed as one of the “Top 100 Places You Can Play” by Golf Magazine and has ranked seventh on the “Top 100 United States Golf Courses” in 2008 – 2012 by Golflink.com.
This place boasts of spectacular views and the most challenging 7,310-yard 18-hole golf course that uses ravines as target holes and large sand bunkers as deterrents. It is so tough that former head pro Parris Ernst was quoted as saying that “Ko’olau is the toughest golf course in the universe.”
2. The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, United States
The Ocean Course has been ranked by Golf Digest as #4 Public Golf Course in U.S. and Ranked 25th amongst the 100 Greatest U.S. Golf Courses. One of the most prestigious golf courses in the world, it has played host to the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships and will also host the 2021 PGA.
With 18 holes that offer a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, the course is affected by both the easterly wind and westerly wind and has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Atlantic. The area’s unpredictable sea breezes makes it more demanding. In fact, David Feherty of CBS Golf says that it was the hardest course he has ever seen.
3. Carnoustie Golf Links, Dundee, Scotland
Carnoustie‘s Championship Course has hosted seven Open Championships, on Ladies Open and One Seniors Open. It is regarded as the toughest but the fairest Open venues with the last final four holes being the toughest closing stretch of holes anywhere in the world. Peter Dawson says that “Carnoustie is, day-in, day-out, the toughest course we have (on the Open rota).”
4. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club, Lijiang, Yunnan, China
Golfers enjoy mountain views from almost every place on the course as it is situated at the bottom of a valley facing the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Measuring 8,548 yards, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club is the longest golf course in the world with a 711-yard par-five, a 525-yard par-4 and a 270-yard par-three. And because it is set at 10,800 ft. above sea level, the second highest in the world and the highest in Asia, balls fly 15 – 20% farther than normal and also fly further left or right.
5. Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This international award winning golf course designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak is set at 140 meters above sea level and looks out across the waves of Hawke’s Bay. Cape Kidnapper‘s par 71 golf course measures 7,119 yards and offers seaside golf at its finest. The windy conditions, deep ravines and bunkers make for an exciting, sometimes perilous golfing adventure.
6. Palm Course, Saujana Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Known popularly as “The Cobra”, the Palm Course, designed by Ronald Fream, is said to be deadly for golfers of any level. Measuring 6,992 yards, it has rugged terrains, slopes and steep ravines located in an oil palm plantation. With its numerous bunkers and dense palm clusters, golfers need to negotiate water hazards over seven holes, which is great punishment for errant shots.
7. Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, United States
Whistling Straits is home to the 2015 PGA Championships. It offers two courses crafted by hall-of-fame designer Pete Dye, who hauled 13,126 truckloads of sand to create dunes, hills and fescue grass fairways amidst endless views of Lake Michigan. Measuring 7,790 yards and located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is incredibly rugged with more than 1,000 bunkers.
One of its courses, The Straits, has an open, rugged and windswept terrain ranked #4 in GolfWeek’s 2015 Best Resort Courses and #22 in Golf Digest’s 2015/2016 America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The Irish, on the other hand, has its own set of challenges with its four meandering streams, grasslands and dunes.
8. La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia
La Paz Golf Club is popular for its most striking feature which is its lunar landscape, deep canyons and pinnacles on soft sandstone. It is the highest golf course in the world that sits at 10,800 ft above sea level. It sits so high that players have to deal with breathlessness due to low oxygen levels. The high altitude also makes it more difficult to play because the thin air makes balls go farther than expected.
9. Championship Links, Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
The Murlough Nature Reserve, one of the world’s most naturally beautiful link settings, is where you can find Royal County Down. Championship Links fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, which while beautiful also makes it extremely difficult to recover from.
It also has bearded bunkers, with overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather that is said to be almost impossible to get out of. Plus, many of its domed greens and blind shots makes this course a true test for players’ golfing abilities.
10. Alice Springs Golf Club, Northern Territory, Australia
Alice Springs Golf Club is a picturesque course with its beautiful, green lush grass and large greens. It is known not only as one of Australia’s top courses but has also earned worldwide acclaim. Though the greens are fantastic, the course calls for excellent driving skills in order to avoid rocky outcrops lurking along the edges. Players also have to endure extremely high temperatures since Alice Springs Golf Club is known as the hottest golf club on earth.
If you’re looking for a true extreme golfing adventure, these are the golf courses that you’d want to try. Test your golfing abilities and see if you can conquer the world’s toughest courses.