Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

As 2021 draws to a close, there’s one hole the world’s top players will be glad to see the back of.

The fearsome par-3 17th on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

Once described as “the hardest hole in the history of the universe” by David Feherty, this 223-yard brute bared its teeth once again during the US PGA Championship in May.

It played more than half-a-stroke over-par across the four rounds (+0.531, to be exact) and did its best to derail Phil Mickelson’s bid to rewrite the game’s history books. The 51-year-old bogeyed it twice, including during the final round, en route to becoming the oldest man ever to win one of the game’s four marquee tournaments.

• Check out the men’s major venues for 2022

• A Ryder Cup in Bolton? Quite possibly…

In that final round, there were only 23 birdies on the hole. For context, there were 42 doubles, 12 triples and one quad.

Players hit the green just 34.39% of the time, whilst 40 balls found a watery grave in the huge, eight-acre lake between the tee and green.


The next-toughest hole was, perhaps unsurprisingly, found at the US Open and it, too, was a par-3.

The 228-yard 11th at Torrey Pines’ South Course played 0.393 shots over-par and, across the week, yielded just 16 birdies as compared to 150 bogeys and 21 doubles or worse. The par-5 13th wasn’t much easier. It played 0.389 shots over-par for the week.

• Bob Mac lands huge new sponsor for 2022

• Scottish clubs to reintroduce COVID measures

The hardest hole at a regular tour stop was the 529-yard par-4 on the Memorial Park Golf Course in Texas, host venue for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. It played 0.353 over-par for the week and coughed up only one eagle and 23 birdies.

Memorial Park was also the toughest non-major course the tour visited in 2021, playing an average of 0.799 shots over-par per round.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses

Latest podcast

The 2024 Masters Commute - Day 1 LIVE from Augusta