Dec 242017
 
M18 golf course.
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M18 golf course.
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WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT OPENING HOLE IN AMERICA? WHAT
IS THE MOST DIFFICULT NUMBER 2 HOLE? THIS WAS THE PGA OF
AMERICA'S MISSION: TO DETERMINE WHICH ARE THE TOUGHEST 18 HOLES
FROM ALL THE COURSES IN THE UNITED STATES.
THE ASSIGNMENT ITSELF WAS ALMOST TOUGHER THAN THE PRODUCT,
SO IT WAS TURNED OVER TO 9,500 MEMBERS OF THE PGA OF AMERICA WHO
WERE INDIVIDUALLY ASKED FOR THEIR VOTES. THESE PGA MEMBERS
DIRECT GOLF ACTIVITIES AT MOST OF THE COUNTRY'S COURSES, AS WELL
AS COMPETE ANUALLY IN REGIONAL AND SECTION EVENTS ACROSS THE
NATION. MORE THAN 300 OF THEM ARE ALSO MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
WHO HAVE A BROAD KNOWLEDGE OF U.S. COURSES BASED ON THEIR
COMPETITIVE CAREERS ON TOUR AND DURING THEIR AMATEUR DAYS.
MORE THAN 2,000 HOLES RECEIVED VOTES. AFTER THE
NOMINATIONS WERE RECEIVED, THE TOP 5 VOTE-GETTERS FOR EACH HOLE,
1 THROUGH 18, WERE SUBMITTED TO A BLUE-RIBBON PANEL OF 55
GOLFING AUTHORITIES FOR FINAL BALLOTING. THE EXPERTS WERE
INVITED TO SERVE ON THE PANEL BY THE PGA'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
THE FINAL SELECTIONS CORRESPOND TO THE ACTUAL POSITION
OF THE HOLES ON THEIR RESPECTIVE GOLF COURSE, BEGINNING WITH THE
468-YARD, NO. 1 HOLE AT OAKMONT COUNTRY CLUB IN PENNSYLVANIA AND
WINDING UP WITH THE 424-YARD 18TH AT DORAL CC, MIAMI, FLORIDA.
THE RESULT IS A COMPOSITE COURSE 8,075 YARDS LONG, PAR 72 WITH
HOLES THAT HAVE SEEN 14 U.S. OPENS, NINE PGA CHAMPIONSHIPS, 50
MASTERS, AND SEVEN U.S. AMATEURS... AND OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
WILL SEE ONE MORE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (OAK TREE, 1988), AND ONE
MORE U.S. OPEN (MEDINAH, 1990) AND THE INTERNATIONAL RYDER CUP
MATCHES (PGA WEST, 1991).
"THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THE PGA'S MOST EXCITING PROJECTS AND
I AM EXTREMELY PLEASED WITH THE ENTHUSIASTIC AND CONSCIENTIOUS
RESPONSE OF THE GOLF AUTHORITIES THAT TOOK PART," PGA PRESIDENT
MICKEY POWELL SAID.
POWELL POINTED OUT THAT THE HOLES WERE CHOSEN STRICTLY ON
THE BASIS OF DIFFICULTY. "BUT, OBVIOUSLY," POWELL NOTED, "AS WE
KNEW FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS TASK THESE HOLES HAVE BEEN
SINGLED OUT FROM AMONG THE BETTER-KNOWN COURSES IN THE COUNTRY
BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MOST FAMILIAR TO OUR PANELISTS."
SOME INTERESTING DATA ON THE COURSES FROM WHICH THE
TOUGHEST 18 WERE SELECTED:
* 19 DIFFERENT ARCHITECTS WERE INVOLVED IN THEIR CONSTRUCTION
AND DESIGN. PETE DYE HAS DESIGNED FIVE OF THE COURSES.
* ELEVEN OF THE COURSES WERE BUILT BEFORE WORLD WAR II, AND
THE OTHER SEVEN WERE BUILT IN THE LAST 25 YEARS. NONE OF
THE COURSES WERE BUILT BETWEEN 1935 AND 1962.
* WATER COMES INTO PLAY ON 11 OF THE HOLES, WHILE MORE THAN
80 SAND BUNKERS NARROW THE FAIRWAYS AND SURROUND THE
GREENS.
* HALF OF THE COURSES ARE REGULAR PGA TOUR STOPS THEY
INCLUDE: RIVIERA (LA OPEN), COLONIAL (NIT), BUTLER NATIONAL
(WESTERN OPEN), PEBBLE BEACH (AT&T PRO-AM), TPC, SAWGRASS
(TPC), HARBOUR TOWN (HERITAGE), CYPRESS POINT (AT&T
PRO-AM), DORAL (DORAL/RYDER OPEN), AND AUGUSTA (THE
MASTERS).
* GEOGRAPHICALLY, THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA HAS THE MOST
COURSES WITH FIVE.
* JACK NICKLAUS HAS WON 17 TIMES ON THESE COURSES, 8 OF WHICH
WERE MAJOR TOURNAMENT VICTORIES.

THE GOLFER WHO PARS THIS 18 WILL NEED TO BE ADEPT WITH HIS
LONG IRONS AND FAIRWAY WOODS. THE PAR 4'S RANGE IN DISTANCE
FROM 424 YARDS TO 492 YARDS. THE PAR 3'S ARE 227, 232 AND 255
YARDS LONG AND THE PAR 5'S ARE 568, 583 AND 623.


-------------------------
FINAL SELECTION COMMITTEE
-------------------------

OVER 9,500 PGA OF AMERICA MEMBERS WERE ASKED TO SUBMIT
THEIR CHOICES FOR THE TOUGHEST 18 CONSECUTIVE HOLES IN AMERICA.
AFTER THE NOMINATIONS WERE RECEIVED, THE TOP FIVE CANDIDATES FOR
HOLES (1 THROUGH 18) WERE SUBMITTED TO A BLUE-RIBBON PANEL OF 55
GOLFING AUTHORITIES FOR FINAL BALLOTING.
THE ELITE GROUP OF SELECTORS IS MADE UP OF 11 FORMER PGA
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS, SEVEN FORMER PGA PRESIDENTS, FOUR PGA
SENIORS' CHAMPIONS, 12 PGA CLUB PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
WINNERS, TWO PGA TOUR OFFICIALS, TWO USGA OFFICIALS, THREE PGA
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS, TWO LPGA OFFICIALS, TWO NATIONAL
GOLF FOUNDATION OFFICIALS, FOUR NATIONALLY-KNOWN GOLF WRITERS,
AND SIX NATIONALLY-RENOWNED FIGURES FROM THE GAME OF GOLF



HOLE BY HOLE DESCRIPTION

# 1 OAKMONT CC, OAKMONT, PA PAR 4 468 YARDS

ARCHITECTS: WILLIAM AND HENRY FOWNES OPENED: 1903

OFF THE TEE, U.S. OPEN ROUGH AND FAIRWAY BUNKERS MAKE ACCURACY
A MUST. THE DOWNHILL SECOND SHOT CAN BE DECEPTIVE BECAUSE THE
LARGE GREEN SLOPES AWAY FROM THE GOLFER.


# 2 RIVIERA CC, PACIFICA PALISADES, CALIFORNIA PAR 4 461 YARDS

ARCHITECT: GEORGE THOMAS OPENED: 1926

A SLIGHT DOGLEG TO THE RIGHT THROUGH TO AN ELEVATED NARROW
GREEN MAKES THIS ONE TOUGH. AN AFTERNOON HEADWIND FORCES MOST
GOLFERS TO USE A LONG-IRON FOR THEIR SECOND SHOT.


# 3 COLONIAL CC, FT. WORTH, TEXAS PAR 4 468 YARDS

ARCHITECTS: JOHN BRADEMUS AND PERRY MAXWELL OPENED: 1935

A SHARP DOGLEG LEFT AROUND A FOREST OF TREES TO AN OPEN
TWO-TIERED GREEN. PLAYING INTO THE WIND, TROUBLE CAN BE FOUND
IN THE FORM OF A LARGE OAK TREE ABOUT 100 YARDS OFF THE TEE,
FAIRWAY BUNKERS AND GREEN-SIDE O.B.


# 4 SEMINOLE GC, NORTH PALM BEACH, FLORIDA PAR 4 452 YARDS

ARCHITECT: DONALD ROSS OPENED: 1929

LONG WELL-BUNKERED AND WIND-BLOWN DEMANDING GREAT DISTANCE.
PARALLELED BY THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, THIS HOLE IS OFTEN BATHED IN
SWIRLING WINDS. A SLIGHTLY DOWNHILL SECOND SHOT APPROACHES A
MEDIUM-SIZED ELEVATED GREEN.


# 5 PINE VALLEY GC, CLEMENTON, NEW JERSEY PAR 3 227 YARDS

ARCHITECTS: GEORGE CRUMP AND HARRY T. COLT OPENED: 1922

OPEN OF GOLF'S GREAT PAR 3'S, REQUIRING DISTANCE AND ACCURACY.
NATURAL SETTING AND SAND BUNKERS AND TREES EVERYWHERE LEAVE
LITTLE ROOM FOR ERROR.


# 6 PGA WEST, TPC COURSE, LAQUINTA, CALIFORNIA PAR 3 255 YARDS

ARCHITECT: PETE DYE OPENED: 1986

ONE OF THE YOUNGEST HOLES TO BE FEATURED, REQUIRES A TEE SHOT
OF OVER 220 YARDS TO CARRY THE WATER. LESS COURAGEOUS GOLFERS
CAN BAIL-OUT LEFT WHICH BRINGS GRASS BUNKERS AND MOUNDS INTO
PLAY.


# 7 BUTLER NATIONAL GC, OAK BROOK, ILLINOIS PAR 5 623 YARDS

ARCHITECTS: GEORGE AND TOM FAZIO OPENED: 1974

A NARROW FAIRWAY BORDERED BY "SALT CREEK" AND WILLOW TREES TO
THE RIGHT PROMPTS THE SMART PLAYER TO USE AN IRON OFF THE TEE.
ANOTHER LONG-IRON FOR THE SECOND SHOT TO THE LEFT-CENTER OF THE
FAIRWAY LEAVES A THIRD SHOT OF ABOUT 120 YARDS. SWIRLING
CROSS-WINDS AND LARGE OAK TREES KEEP THE PLAYERS FROM REACHING
THIS ONE IN TWO.


# 8 PEBBLE BEACH GL, PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA PAR 4 487 YARDS

ARCHITECTS: JACK NEVILLE AND DOUGLAS GRANT OPENED: 1919

PAINFULLY SCENIC, THIS LONG PAR-4 DISTRACTS EVEN THE BEST
GOLFERS. DRIVES ALONG THE ROCKY PACIFIC COASTLINE AND SECOND
SHOTS THAT ALSO MUST BE PLAYED OVER THE OCEAN CHALLENGE ALL
LEVELS OF GOLFERS. SWIRLING WINDS ADD TO THE HAVOC.


# 9 TPC, SAWGRASS, PONTE VEDRE BEACH FLORIDA PAR 5 583 YARDS

ARCHITECT: PETE DYE OPENED: 1980

A DOUBLE-DOGLEG WITH A MEANDERING CREEK THAT CUTS THROUGH THE
DRIVING AREA. THE SECOND SHOT NARROWS WITH WASTE BUNKERS ON
THE LEFT AND SLOPING SPECTATOR MOUNDS ON THE RIGHT. FROM THE
OLD LONELY TREE IN THE FAIRWAY, A THIRD SHOT FACES A NARROW,
UNDULATING GREEN WITH SEVERE BUNKERS.


# 10 AUGUSTA NATIONAL GC, AUGUSTA, GEORGIA PAR 4 467 YARDS

ARCHITECT: ALISTER MACKENZIE OPENED: 1932

A SWEEPING DOWNHILL DOGLEG LEFT. POSITIONING OFF THE TEE CAN
MEAN THE DIFFERENCE IN DETERMINING DISTANCE. LEFT CENTER IS
CLOSER YET AND FORCES A SIDEHILL LIE, WHILE ON THE RIGHT SIDE
THE LIE IS LONGER AND MORE DOWNHILL. A LONG UNDULATING GREEN IS
PROTECTED BY DEEP SAND BUNKERS.


# 11 OAK TREE GC, EDMOND, OKLAHOMA PAR 4 485 YARDS

ARCHITECT: PETE DYE OPENED: 1976

FEATURING AN ELEVATED TEE TO AN OPEN FAIRWAY WITH OUT-OF-BOUNDS
ON BOTH SIDES. AN INNOCENT LOOKING HOLE, BUT WITH SOUTHERN
PLAINS CROSS-WINDS, OFTEN THE SECOND SHOT TO AN UNDULATING GREEN
REQUIRES THE BEST SKILLS.


# 12 SOUTHERN HILLS CC, TULSA, OKLAHOMA PAR 4 492 YARDS

ARCHITECT: PERRY MAXWELL OPENED: 1935

AS BEAUTIFUL AS IT IS TOUGH. A SLIGHT DOGLEG LEFT AROUND A
LARGE FAIRWAY BUNKER LEAVES THE GOLFER WITH A LONG-IRON TO A
LARGE GREEN. BUT DON'T BE SHORT WITH THE SECOND SHOT, AS A
NARROW CREEK CUTS IN FRONT OF THE GREEN.


# 13 MEDINAH CC, NO. 3, MEDINAH, ILLINOIS PAR 4 455 YARDS

ARCHITECT: TOM BENDELOW OPENED: 1928

ANOTHER TIGHT TREE-LINED DOGLEG. THE STRATEGY HERE IS TO AIM AT
THE FAIRWAY BUNKER THROUGH THE FAIRWAY WITH MAYBE A FARIWAY WOOD
OR LONG-IRON. THE SECOND SHOT FORCES THE PLAYER TO BRING THE
BALL IN HIGH, WITH LOTS OF SPIN TO STOP ON A VERY SMALL
CONTOURED GREEN.


# 14 CHERRY HILLS CC, ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO PAR 4 488 YARDS

ARCHITECT: WILLIAM FLYNN OPENED: 1923

A DOWNHILL DOGLEG LEFT REQUIRES AN IRON OFF THE TEE. TROUBLE
LIES BOTH LEFT IN THE FORM OF A CREEK AND RIGHT WITH "OSCAR
BROWN". THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN AIR MAKES CLUB SELECTION TOUGH AS
THE BALL CARRIES EXTRA YARDS.

# 15 HARBOUR TOWN GL, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. PAR 5 568 YARDS

ARCHITECT: PETE DYE OPENED: 1969

TREE-LINED AND LONG. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR MISTAKES HERE. OFF
THE TEE, FAIRWAY BUNKERS ON THE RIGHT FORCE THE GOLFER LEFT.
THE SECOND SHOT MUST BE LONG ENOUGH TO REACH A DOGLEG LEFT
APPROACH TO THE GREEN. A LARGE POND NARROWS THE LANDING AREA.
THE THIRD SHOT IS A DELICATE SHORT-IRON OVER GREEN-SIDE BUNKERS.


# 16 CYPRESS POINT GC, PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA PAR 3 232 YARDS

ARCHITECT: ALISTER MACKENZIE OPENED: 1928

LONG AND BREATH-TAKING ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST. STRATEGY
REQUIRES THE BRAVEST OF PLAYERS TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLUB. MANY
WILL LAY UP SHORT LEFT AND TAKE THEIR CHANCES ON SCRAMBLING FOR
PAR. EVEN THE SAND BUNKER CAN BE RELIEF FROM THE OCEAN.

# 17 LAQUINTA HOTEL GC, DUNES COURSE PAR 4 440 YARDS
LAQUINTA, CALIFORNIA

ARCHITECT: PETE DYE OPENED: 1982

A WATER-BORDERED DOGLEG LEFT. FAIRWAY BUNKERS TIGHTEN THE
DRIVING AREA LEAVING AN EXTREMELY LONG SECOND SHOT OVER WATER.
AVERAGE GOLFERS WILL BAIL OUT RIGHT WHICH THEN LEAVES THEM WITH
A SHOT TO A LONG GREEN SLOPING TOWARD THE LAKE. DEEP SAND
BUNKERS AROUND THE GREEN ARE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET
UP-AND-DOWN FROM.


# 18 DORAL CC, BLUE COURSE, MIAMI, FLORIDA PAR 4 424 YARDS

ARCHITECT: DICK WILSON OPENED: 1962

A CHAMPIONSHIP DOGLEG AROUND THE WATER ON THE LEFT THEY CALL
"GATORLAND". OFF THE TEE, A WINTER SWIRLING WIND FORCES PLAYERS
TO HIT DOWN THE RIGHT SIDE. ANYTHING LEFT AND YOU ARE WET. A
TUCKED-PIN MAKES THE SECOND SHOT JUST AS SCARY. A MEDIUM-IRON
CARRY ACROSS WATER IS ALSO FACED WITH GREEN-SIDE BUNKERS TO A
NARROW GREEN.


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