BIG SKY, Montana - Standing on the 17th tee of the Reserve at Moonlight Basin, I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the challenge ahead.
Forget the altitude bump at 7,500 feet above sea level and the fact that the hole plays downhill. The 676 yards from the Lone Creek tees still feel long. Wisely, I'm not playing from the tips, which are 101 yards back.
At 777 yards, the 17th is one of the 10 longest holes in America. It's a big reason why the 8,000-yard private Jack Nicklaus design is one of the longest courses in the world. Even though I teed it forward, I lived up to the 7 I mentally wrote down on the card even before teeing off. Playing at extreme distances can be intimidating.
Thank goodness, yardage from the tips is largely irrelevant for amateurs like me who don't hit it like Bryson. Most of us tee up from more manageable distances by moving up a tee box or two.
But, when we're talking about the longest holes in the country, they tend to attract golfers looking for a unique challenge. I wouldn't recommend playing them from the tips every day for pace of play and sanity's sake, but giving them a go once in a while might be fun.
Here's where to find them.
What's the longest hole you've played? Share the experience in the comments below.
841 yards, 12th, Meadow Farms, Locust Grove, Va.
The longest hole in America, another par 6, is part of the novelty of Meadow Farms, which features 27 holes of other one-of-a-kind experiences, including another hole in the theme of a baseball diamond.Ready to add some distance to your drives? In our latest GolfPass video series, Bryson Dechambeau joins Chris Como to share his secrets on becoming the longest hitter on the PGA Tour.
808 yards, 9th, Links at Kahite Golf Course, Vonore, Tenn.
Featuring a backdrop of the Smokey Mountains, the Links at Kahite opened in 2002 and has hosted multiple state events and competitions. Two holes stand out - the 18th hole with 12 bunkers and, of course, the par-6 9th.
777 yards, 9th, The Links Golf Course, Post Falls, Idaho
User 'Tome1' calls this course a "long ball hitter's dream". That's not the kind of course I'm looking for, but hey, different strokes for different folks. He wrote in a 2015 review: "My normal drive is 300+ and find most courses I don't even pull out my driver, but not here. Links is a Long Ball hitter's dream. A couple holes I hit 330 and still came up short." I'm guessing the par-6 9th was one of them.
777, 17th, Reserve at Moonlight Basin, Big Sky, Montana
Mountain scenery doesn't get more spectacular than Moonlight Basin. Nicklaus has a reputation for building tough courses. At least this par 5 plays downhill, shortening its actual playing length to a mere 650 yards or so.
773 yards, 13th, TPC Colorado , Berthoud, Colo.Toughest Tracks: TPC Colorado's 13th hole
I had the pleasure of filming GolfPass Managing Editor Brandon Tucker play this daunting par 5 from the tips a few years back. I should have been paid overtime. A deep bunker complex left of the fairway near the green is no man's land no matter what tees you use. Not even Korn Ferry Tour pros playing in the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes tee it up from this far back.
767 yards, 18th, Farmstead Golf Links, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
This hole stands out from the thousand or so others on the Grand Strand for one cool reason: It crosses state borders, playing in both North and South Carolina.
747 yards, 17th, Black Mountain Golf Course, Black Mountain, N.C.
At one time, this famous par 6 on this city-owned muni was the longest hole in the world. The fact that it takes up 12 percent of the course's entire yardage (6,215) makes it even more remarkable. According to the course description on its website: "It may sound strange but 6 is a great score! A birdie 5 is something to really celebrate!"
741 yards, 13th, Purgatory Golf Club, Noblesville, Ind.
The Purgatory is the perfect name for golfers attempting to play holes at such extreme lengths. It's heaven playing golf, but hell trying to score on a par 5 called "Eternal Torment". There's 13 bunkers to avoid and a green that's 36 yards deep. Make sure after you've written your 7 (or 9) to look backwards from the green. The way the bunkers are designed/built up, they are not visible from this direction.
725 yards, 9th, Gallery Golf Club’s North course, Marana, Ariz.
Although the South Course is more famous for having hosted the Accenture Match Play Championships in 2007-08, the North course at the Gallery Golf Club also co-hosted the pros at the 2000 Touchstone Energy Tucson Open won by Jim Carter over Chris DiMarco and Jean Van de Velde. A pond just short and right of a desert wash crossing the fairway make getting to the green safely on this par 5 a chore.