Scary Hard: The Most Nightmarish Golf Courses In The Country

Tad Desai

Halloween is here and it’s the time to get spooky and scary. For many PGA golfers, their nightmares are haunted by these toughest courses from all over the country.

These are the same things that scare them, like clowns in the sewers scare us. Whether it’s the tight fairways or natural obstacles, these are the things that make golfers want to hide under their beds and hope no trick-or-treaters show up dressed as TPC Sawgrass’s island hole.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at five of those scariest courses:


  1. TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee

The course is infamous for its 94 bunkers and ten water hazards but the thing it is most well-known for is its 14th hole. The 231-yard par-3 forces golfers to use a wood or long iron to get to the green that has a water hazard on its entire right side.

Doesn’t sound too hard right? Wrong. The green is also one of the narrowest ones on the PGA Tour making the margin for error just as narrow. The 11th hole par-3 also boasts a green that is a small island giving the players absolutely no room for mistakes. While this course isn’t the most terrifying, it’s still one of the tougher ones on the Tour and have golfers scared nonetheless.

  1. Bay Hill Club and Lounge, Orlando, Florida

This course is owned by Arnold Palmer and of course he wanted to make sure that they have to play up to his level in his prime to succeed on this course. Golf Channel analyst Jerry Foltz summed it up best:

“Whatever the scorecard says, it seems to play about 300 yards longer…I kept waiting to get to the easy holes, and next thing you know, we were finished. Even the shorter holes are made very demanding by the precision required into the greens in order to leave a make-able putt.”

The courses toughest hole is undoubtedly its final one. The 458-yard par-4 seems easy enough but the way the course is laid out makes it one of the most challenging ones in the country. The hole has a slight curve to the ride with the entire right side being by the water. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but the left side is riddled with bunkers leaving those playing it safe with no good options. It’s the equivalent of the Saw movies. A win-win situation doesn’t exist.


  1. Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin

What is always a key part to a horror movie? Creepy, abandoned places. Whistling Straits is as close as you’re going to get to that. The course is located on an abandoned artillery range near Lake Michigan. The scariest thing about it? It has 967 bunkers.

The site of the 2020 Ryder Cup will undoubtedly be haunting many of the PGA golfers today but one particular. Lee Westwood was very open to his fears to the course when asked about it last September, “I’d been told there are 10 difficult holes and eight impossible ones. I’m still trying to work out which the 10 difficult holes are.”


  1. The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Perhaps the most unfairly designed course on this list is scary because the unfairness of it all was done very much on purpose. The course layout right next to the Atlantic Ocean not only offers golfers a beautiful view of the water but also force them to be exposed to the gales as well.

If the roll-resistant Bermuda grass along with the hefty number of bunkers isn’t enough to scare you, the course’s slope rating of 155 should. It was so bad that pros in 1991 were winning holes with double-bogeys. From there on it was been nicknamed “The Looney Dunes”.

  1. The Pines, Bolton, Massachusetts

You know the part of your nightmare when you’re running and running but you just aren’t moving and everything seems like it will go on forever? Well that is exactly what it’s like to play at The Pines.

The course is infamous for its unfair pars given the yardage of multiple holes. The 18th hole is a 656-yard par 5 and yet still isn’t the longest hole on the course. In fact, it was a par 6 on the fifth hole that’s 715 yards. That hole’s green is 91 yards just by itself. The 11th hole has 24 bunkers.

This is truly the most unfair course in the country and one that will haunt golfer’s, pros and amateurs, for the rest of time.


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