Golf Courses & Travel

America's 20 Toughest Golf Courses

Golf Digest course panelists comment on America's 20 toughest golf courses

January 2012

Note: America's 75 Toughest Golf Courses ranking is available in the January issue of Golf Digest and on the tablet.

The last time Golf Digest ranked America's Toughest Courses, in 2007, a group of editors got together and compiled the list based on their experiences. This year we took a scientific approach. We sent a survey to the Golf Digest Panelists, the roughly 1,100 avid golfers who create our 100 Greatest Courses rankings, and asked them to list the 15 courses that wear them out the most. The survey ballot included all 50 courses from our 2007 list, the 100 courses with the highest combined USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating scores, and the 100 courses that panelists rated highest in Resistance to Scoring—one of the seven criteria they use when evaluating 100 Greatest candidates. We also encouraged panelists to include write-ins. Courses earned points for appearing on panelists' top-15 lists: five points for being first-, second- and third-toughest, four points for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-toughest, and so on. The courses appear in order of their point scores. —Peter Finch

The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, S.C.

1. The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Par 5, 16th hole
Golf Digest Panelist Comments:
"I think the 17th hole is the toughest par 3 in the world. If the wind blows, watch out."
"The course is really, really challenging for all levels of player. When the wind is blowing, par on many of the holes is an excellent score."
"If your idea of a good time is a fistfight, this is the place for you."
Stephen Szurlej
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