Golf Advisor's 25 toughest courses, based on your reviews

EDITOR'S NOTE: WE'VE SINCE UPDATED THIS TOP 50 TOUGHEST COURSES IN THE U.S. LIST. CLICK HERE FOR THE 2020 LIST.

We're counting down the top 50 toughest golf courses according to reviews submitted through Golf Advisor. We've ranked them based on each course's difficulty rating (scored 1-5 based on the selection made by the golfer on the review form). The Top 25 features major championship and PGA Tour venues as well as some of the most notorious courses in destination golf.

For more on how we uncovered the Top 50 and to view courses 50-26, click here.

Golf Advisor's 25 toughest courses

Ellwood City, Pa.
Yardage: 7,103 | Slope/Rating: 148/74.2
Architect: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry
What they're saying: "The further up the hills you go the more accuracy is required." - GLBrocks


Bernardston, Mass.
Yardage: 7,007 | Slope/Rating: 141/73.8
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr. Roger Rulewich
What they're saying: "Tough to score well here the first time around; I can't wait to go back now that I know what's out there." - threedollardip


Gravehurst, Ontario, Canada
Yardage: 7,367 | Slope/Rating: 146/76.1
Architect: Doug Carrick
What they're saying: "Every hole makes you stand in awe from the tee boxes. It is by far the most challenging course I have played." - sprogis1


Minett, Ontario, Canada
Yardage: 6,649 | Slope/Rating: 144/72.0
Architect:
What they're saying: "Lots of blind tee shots, narrow fairways, rocks and other obstacles to bounce off. Between two of us, we lost 13 balls." - ghawke


Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Yardage: 7,215 | Slope/Rating: 155/76.8
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: " I would recommend taking a forecaddie as they really help with the sight lines and finding your ball in the deep rough (sinks right to the bottom every time)" - rdbuchan87


Jaffrey, N.H.
Yardage: 6,764 | Slope/Rating: 153/73.5
Architect: Brian Silva
What they're saying: "They make no secret about the course being a 'ball eater'." - Jselesnick


La Quinta, Calif.
Yardage: 7,300 | Slope/Rating: 150/76.1
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "This course boasts more very deep bunkers than you will encounter anywhere." - laxdca11


San Jose, Calif.
Yardage: 6,747 | Slope/Rating: 150/72.8
What they're saying: "The frustration of the course is that If you do not hit your ball just right, it is gone!!!" - bjfranzen


San Antonio
Yardage: 7,435 | Slope/Rating: 148/76.5
Architect: Greg Norman
What they're saying: "Some devilish pin positions out there, and there really isn't an easy approach shot on the course" - BrandonTuckerGA


Havre de Grace, Md.
Yardage: 7,375 | Slope/Rating: 148/76.6
Architect: Pete Dye

What they're saying: "There is not a round of golf here I haven't felt tested for 4 hours and left exhausted, both physically and mentally." - bfalker


Kiawah Island, S.C.
Yardage: 7,356 | Slope/Rating: 144/77.3
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "you'll probably shoot your highest round of the season - if not of your entire gilding career. I shot 86 and striped it all day." - in2themystyc11


Kaneohe, Hawaii
Yardage: 7,310 | Slope/Rating: 153/78.2
Architect: Dick Nugent
What they're saying: "There must have been 10+ 200 yard carries, the finishing hole had two canyon carries." - Timoatop


Alpharetta, Ga.
Yardage: 7,558 | Slope/Rating: 154/77.8
Architect: Rees Jones
What they're saying: "As someone new to the game, I probably bit off more than I could chew, but it was worth it." - asw1614


Henderson, Nev.
Yardage: 7,313 | Slope/Rating: 153/75.0
Architect: Rees Jones
What they're saying: "Had a great day, but trouble is all around. Forced carries can be tough for seniors/short hitters." - PingDave


Daniels, W.Va.
Yardage: 7,122 | Slope/Rating: 149/75.1
Architect: Ault, Clark & Associates
What they're saying: "I had made a joke to my friends over social media that I am playing on the Wii Golf course." - u827694085


Panama City Beach, Fla.
Yardage: 7,159 | Slope/Rating: 152/76.0
Architect: Tom Fazio
What they're saying: "The greens are large and very undulating which requires precision on approach shots." - samallenkawa


Providence Forge, Va.
Yardage: 7,336 | Slope/Rating: 147/76.5
Architect: Mike Strantz
What they're saying: "Play the wrong tees and I guarantee you'll have a miserable time, so swallow your pride." - pjbalbi


Sheboygan, Wis.
Yardage: 7,790 | Slope/Rating: 152/77.2
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "Caddies in white uniform sing 'fore' like angels and the wind whistles in harmony." - Gyoju


Princeville, Hawaii
Yardage: | Slope/Rating: 140/76.2
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
What they're saying: "If you aren't straight off the tee and fairways you will require a couple dozen golf balls." - thisisjoelrobinson
(Editor's Note: The Prince Course is currently closed for renovations.)


Roanoke, Va.
Yardage: 7,294 | Slope/Rating: 155/76.1
Architect: Lester George
What they're saying: "don't know of any course with a higher slope rating. You'd have to be a pro to enjoy playing here. It takes the difficulty rating to a new level." - nuckles


Sandpoint, Idaho
Yardage: 7,089 | Slope/Rating: 148/74.6
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
What they're saying: "Play the correct tees, bring lots of balls and enjoy the scenery and the experience." - jsullivan4419


Erin, Wis.
Yardage: 7,800 | Slope/Rating: 145/77.9
Architects: Ron Whitten, Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry
What they're saying: "Despite the difficulty, this is one of the most beautiful and unique golf courses in America." - MikeBaileyGA


County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Length: 7,143 yards | SSS: 73
Architect: H.S. Colt
What they're saying: "It's all marram grass and dunes, all big drives and wicked putts -- a veritable amusement park of golf." - KielChristianson


West Lafayette, Ind.
Yardage: 7,465 | Slope/rating: 146/76.5
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying "The greens were flawless, undulated in all directions, and were extremely fast." - dshot22


Farmingdale, N.Y.
Yardage: 7,468 | Slope/rating: 152/78.1
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
What they're saying: "Brilliant use of the natural typography and an atmosphere of equity could well mean that Bethpage Black is a golfer’s ultimate American dream." - MattAdamsGA


What are the toughest courses you've ever played? Let us know in the comments below, or leave a course review on Golf Advisor.

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Top 10 toughest golf courses

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
22 Comments
Commented on

The River Course at Whistling Straits is the most difficult golf course I've ever played... thought it was harder than Bethpage Black and much harder than the Straits Course. Royal County Down in Ireland is also a tough tract.

Rusty D.

Commented on

I agree. Love those two courses but having played them both multiple times, Blackwolf Run River is more difficult than Straits.

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Commented on

This is all wrong number one is Kiawah The Ocean Course

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Commented on

How is winged foot not on this list! I'd like to see anyone play winged foot west and break 80.The winner of the us open in 2006 was 5+! Should be in top ten AT LEAST

Staff
Commented on

not on it because it's private and doesn't have many reviews. 

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Commented on

in no way shape or form is whistling straits harder then  the ocean course.  Bethpage black on a normal day is not more difficult then either of those two.  I have played all three at least 5 times and its always windy at whistling and kiawah which makes those courses more difficult then bethpage black. I'm a 1 handicap and played very solid the first time i saw the ocean course and shot 83 the first time i saw the other two i shot 75.

Commented on

The Black course has to be right up there as one of the toughest.....would love to walk it and play it in my prime 40 years ago

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Commented on

Black River golf course, PAR 73, 6483 meters, CR 79,5 SR 155Bratislava, Slovak Republic

GPS North:48° 12' 04.60''GPS East:17° 17' 17.57''

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Commented on

Tot Hill Farm is more demanding than Tobacco Road (I love both). It should have made the list, too. 

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Commented on

It's obvious that you never played old head.  It's 15 shots harder than Spanish bay

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Commented on

Really. Rio Secco is on this list? and its #12. Should not even be in the top 50 at all. Great course and I love it but come on! There are way harder courses then this one.

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Commented on

Spyglass should be somewhere in the top 5 but Carnoustie is the hardest I've ever played, esp. if there is a 20+mph wind.

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Golf Advisor's 25 toughest courses, based on your reviews