Pete Dye courses like Pound Ridge Golf Club difficult, but intriguing
If I had to come up with a list of the most difficult public golf courses I’ve ever played, Pete Dye courses would probably make up three out of the toughest five.
The funny part is that I’m a big Pete Dye fan. I always find his courses interesting and usually beautiful, especially if they’re kept in good shape. So even though they kick my you-know-what, I love the experience.
Such is the case with Pound Ridge Golf Club just outside of New York City. It’s one of the most intriguing golf courses I’ve ever played and one of the most intimidating. It’s also one of my most recent reviews, which you can read here.
Intimidating, however, is different than difficult. At Pound Ridge, the holes look harder than they really are – which is just plain hard. If you’re on your game, you can manage your way around the course. You just can’t miss shots to the wrong side, plain and simple.
So if I had to give you my hardest five golf courses of all time, I’d start out with a Pete Dye Course – Luana Hills Golf Club in Oahu in Hawaii. Built out of Jurassic Park, every miss meets with a two-stroke penalty and a lost ball, it seems. And even if you think you’re playing well, you can still lose a dozen golf balls. It’s the only golf course I’ve ever played where I recommended that players purchase used golf balls before taking it on.
No. 2 on my list would be the Dye Course at French Lick Resort in southern Indiana. Incredibly challenging, it’s also very striking visually. And even when it eventually destroys your feeling of self worth, you still enjoy the experience.
Pound Ridge is No. 3, and No. 4 may come as a slight surprise; it’s the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Site of the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open, the Greg Norman-designed Oaks Course recently underwent some changes, especially to the greens and some bunkers, primarily because of complaints from PGA Tour players. If those guys think it’s too hard, well, you get my drift.
And No. 5 on my list is the Prince Course at Princeville at Hanalei Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. I give this one the nod based on the first hole alone, a demanding par 4 that may have the most difficult opening shot in golf.
So what’s the hardest course you’ve ever played? I’d love to know, as would the rest of my readers, I’m sure. My list isn’t the toughest courses in the world; just the ones I’ve played. I’m sure there are tougher. Feel free to comment below.
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