Golf is a game of highs and lows. The external challenges are immense, yet they are always overcome by internal determination.
For most of us, this is the finest aspect of the sport. It is when that perfect swing comes together and the ball flies just as we pictured towards its target.
Therefore, I must preface this article that the greatest hole in golf will always be the one most emotive to you.
It does not take a trip across the world or pay thousands of dollars in membership fees to experience the best golf has to offer.
The true greatest holes in golf are your first birdie, the first time you beat your father, or even just your favorite hole at the local course.
Unfortunately, those experiences and memories are impossible to replicate, but these 10 great and iconic holes on this list definitely make an honorable attempt.
- Unequivocal Beauty – 16th @ Cypress Point
Built in California by the legendary designer Dr. Alister MacKenzie in 1928, this may very well be the most magnificent hole in golf. The 16th hole is a 222-yard par 3, which does not initially sound too challenging until you realize much of that distance is across the Pacific Ocean. Golfers must face the often prevalent incoming coastal winds. For any who have played it, teeing off here will forever be etched into their memories.
- Pirate’s Plank – 15th @ Cape Kidnappers
This New Zealand course is situated high above the ocean on sheer cliffs. The location gained its iconic name by Captain Cook himself in 1769. The entire course embodies a rugged beauty that is equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying. Designed by Tom Doak, the 15th hole is a beautiful 650-yard par 5, affectionately known as “Pirate’s Plank”.
- Home of Golf – 18th @ St Andrews
When ranking the greatest holes in all of golf, it is hard to ignore the first. The St Andrews Old Course in Scotland is the oldest course in the world. The 18th hole is a seemingly unremarkable par 4. Besides the gorgeous clubhouse views and the old bridge you cross, you may be mistaken in feeling underwhelmed. However this is the birthplace of golf. This is the 18th hole, which all other holes have been derived. As the saying goes, imitation is the highest compliment.
- Island Green – 17th @ TPC Sawgrass
Home to the PGA Tour’s headquarters, TPC Sawgrass is the pinnacle of modern golf. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the course is widely considered one of the hardest in the world. The pinnacle of this impressive course is the 17th hole. This hole, like many on this list, is not impressively long. It is a 137-yard par 3, but is incredibly unforgiving.
- Postage Stamp – 8th @ Royal Troon
Few holes are as unforgiving as the 8th hole at Royal Troon. This 123-yard par 3 features an iconicly narrow green. The course itself dates back to the nineteenth century in Scotland. This is a hole many golfers have come to hate, but it certainly demands respect. Scotland still has some of the greatest golf anyone can play.
- Shortest on Tour – 7th @ Pebble Beach
Famously deemed “unfit” for professional play by architect William Herbet Fowler, the 7th hole at Pebble Beach is now an esteemed favorite. The par 3 is a mere 106 yards, which makes it the shortest on the PGA Tour. The hole drops almost 40 feet from the tee to the green, with the beautiful Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. It is a remarkable and unforgettable hole.
- NASCAR – 7th @ Brickyard Crossing
Unlike the other courses on this list, Brickyard Crossing has what some may call a gimmick. The course itself is highly esteemed and well regarded. However, it is not included on this list merely for its play alone. The 7th through 10th holes are located inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 7th hole is often considered the best hole of those four and is a 181-yard par 3.
- Golden Bell – 12th @ Augusta National
You be hardpressed to find a golfer who has not seen a picture or painting of the 12th hole at the iconic Augusta National. The backdrop of the 155-yard par 3 is unmistakable and beautiful. There are many holes from Augusta that could have made this list and the beauty of the 12th hole was the deciding factor.
- Most Beautiful Hole in the World – 3rd @ Mauna Kea Beach
This may be a controversial addition to this list. However, the setting of this course is magnificent. Located in Kamuela, Hawaii this course was built in 1964 on barren lava fields. The 3rd hole is a 273-yard par 3 that requires hitting over the ocean.
- Loudest Hole in Golf – 16th @ TPC Scottsdale
The final hole on this list is something different. Golf is a spcectator sport. However, it often lacks the spectator feeling that other sports with massive stadiums can invoke. The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale changes that. The par 3 is said to be the loudest hole in golf and has massive stands around it. Whether playing or watching, this hole truly brings a unique factor to golf.
Tell us in the comments what your favorite hole is! Did we list your favorite?