Best 18 holes in golf by their actual hole number

The golf holes we'd love to just pick up and stick on one big golf course - keeping their exact same numbers on the card. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 2 Jun 2017
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Every golfer has a bucket list of courses they'd love to complete one day, but what if you could build one big course featuring all your favourite holes without changing their numbers on the scorecard? 

From the momentous first at St Andrews to the iconic 18th at Pebble, we reveal - with insight from Tour pro Gary Boyd - what we consider to be the 18 perfect golf holes around the world. 

Check out our selections below and then have a go yourself - it's actually much harder than you'll think...

HOLE 1: ST ANDREWS, OLD COURSE, PAR-4 376 YARDS

Standing on the first tee of the Old Course, 600 years of history and innovation plays out in front of you. It might not be the flashiest hole in the world, but it represents our opener simply because of the moment. You should also find the fairway with your tee shot given it's some 130 yards wide, and you'll unlikely have more than a short iron into the green. Just be careful not to come up short in the Swilcan Burn. 

HOLE 2: LE GOLF NATIONAL, PAR-3 190 YARDS

Make par here and you will be absolutely delighted. Have a mare, and well, at least your bag will feel considerably lighter heading to the third. The sensible play is to take enough club and get the wind direction right. Short and left and you'll be wet. Long or right and you'll have a bunker shot back towards the water. A real toughie, and one the players at the 2018 Ryder Cup will be dreading. 

HOLE 3: KINGSTON HEATH, PAR-4 269 YARDS

Australia's Kingston Heath is one of the world's great courses, featuring hard, fast greens and perfectly manicured bunkering by Alister MacKenzie - the master of a strategic par-4, just like the third. It's only a long iron off the tee and a short iron to find the dancefloor, but if you decide to Bite off more than you can chew on the tee shot, it can leave you in all sorts of mess. One very beautiful, short, strategic golf hole. 

HOLE 4: OLD HEAD, PAR-4 427 YARDS

A truly spectacular hole located in County Cork, Ireland. At the fourth, the golfer is advised to use the natural contours on the right side, which feeds the ball towards the centre of the fairway. Playing to an elevated green, you'll need to take an extra club to find the putting surface. With a mid-iron in hand, it's no easy feat, especially with thick rough to the right and long, and the cliff hugging the entire left side. 

HOLE 5: AUGUSTA NATIONAL, PAR-4 455 YARDS

Augusta National features heavily in this feature, as you might expect, and the fifth kicks things off nicely. Everything about this hole is difficult from the drive to the putt. Should you miss the right side of the fairway, your ball will likely fall down off the plateau, leaving you a completely blind shot over the bunkers - all you will see is blue sky. Many great approach shots have been struck here, only to not even find the green. Things don't get much easier up on the green, with a severely contoured putting surface and run-off areas all over the place. Take par and run.

HOLE 6: MUIRFIELD, PAR-4 469 YARDS

One of Muirfield's toughest holes. Playing over and around a corner, usually with a crosswind, it's a semi-blind tee shot and approach shot. Miss the fairway and you'll likely be in the haystacks. A par here will feel like a birdie, every time. 

HOLE 7: WOBURN, MARQUESS COURSE, PAR-5 538 YARDS

We absolutely adore Woburn's Marquess Course so we had to find a place for one of its holes in here - and there are none better than the seventh. You have two choices off the tee so you can either hit down the right or left. The right side leaves you a flatter shot into the green, but a more difficult choice as you have to contend with bunkers on the fly. If you lay up, it's an easier option to take the left route as you don't have trees to contend with. A pure putting surface awaits, no matter the time of the year. If you've never teed it up at one of Woburn's three tracks, we highly recommend you do. 

HOLE 8: PEBBLE BEACH, PAR-4 428 YARDS

The eighth forms the start of Pebble Beach's iconic, yet notorious 'Cliffs of Doom' stretch of holes. The fairway has recently been moved to the right so that it abuts the cliff and increases the chance of a ball running off the course. An alternate landing area left of the green has also been expanded, providing a bailout for those who find trouble off the tee. At least if you do find trouble down the right, a deep breath out across the clifftops should quickly calm you down. 

HOLE 9: ROYAL COUNTY DOWN, PAR-4 427 YARDS

Royal County Down represents our favourite golf course in the United Kingdom. Located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve of Northern Ireland, the course sits against a magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne. The layout stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole. There are many standout holes on the course, but we give rave reviews about the testing ninth that plays from one side of a huge mound down to a fairway some 60 feet below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two bunkers to a raised green. A beautiful golf hole. 

HOLE 10: THE BELFRY, BRABAZON, PAR-4 311 YARDS

A hole known to millions of golfers around the world. Since its opening in 1977, the Brabazon's 10th hole has figured in four Ryder Cups and 11 European Tour events. A plaque was laid down after the late Seve Ballesteros became the first just to hit the green when playing against Nick Faldo in the 1978 Hennessy Cup. Do you go for the green and let it rip over the stream and all the trouble on the right, or do you sensibly lay up with a long iron and send an attacking wedge over the paint of the flagstick? We definitely prefer the latter, but the former can be fun every now and then. 

HOLE 11: AUGUSTA NATIONAL, PAR-4 505 YARDS

The start of Amen Corner, and where it typically all happens down the stretch on Masters Sunday. The par-4 11th is typically ranked the most difficult hole at Augusta simply because of its added length. A slight fade off the tee is necessary to reach the fairway, with a number of large pines to dodge down the right and thick bushes on the left. The greenside pond is a huge factor in many players deciding to play well out to the right-hand side of the green, or even right of that. Birdies are few and far between here. A hole of many memories down the years. 

HOLE 12: AUGUSTA NATIONAL PAR-3 155 YARDS

Quite possibly the most famous par-3 in world golf is the par-3 12th at Augusta National, the second hole of Amen Corner's three-hole stretch. Many a Masters has been thrown away here, none more so than in 2016 when Jordan Spieth took a quadruple-seven to fall from two shots ahead to two shots behind. It might only be a short iron, but the swirling breeze often causes havoc with club selection. A remarkably iconic golf hole, and if anyone chooses a different 12th hole to rival this one, we'd love to see it. 

HOLE 13: AUGUSTA NATIONAL PAR-5 510 YARDS

The final hole of Amen Corner is the risk-reward 13th - a hole that has seen numerous meltdowns and miracles down the years. It's also rather beautiful with its pink Azaleas dazzling us from the left side. Do you take out a 3-wood and play for the wide part of the right side of the fairway, leaving a longer second shot into the green or a simple layup, or do you whip it right-to-left around the trees and attempt to narrow down the hole. Or if you're Bubba Watson, completely fly the trees on the left side and set up a wedge into the green. One of the best par-5 holes in world golf, and well deserving of a place in our list. Again, we'd love to see a better alternative for a 13th. 

HOLE 14: COEUR D'ALENE, PAR-3 218 YARDS

One of the best-known holes in golf is the famous 14th at Coeur D'Alene in Idaho, United States. Why? Because it's got a Floating Green. The engineering of the first and only floating, movable golf green, allows the 22,000 ton island to move along an intricate underwater cable system to varied distances from the tee. The distance of the hole changes each day in order to play anywhere from 90 yards from the ladies tees all the way up to 218 yards from the championship tees. This is some exprience! 

HOLE 15: LAKE NONA, PAR-5 578 YARDS

The signature hole at Lake Nona in Orlando hugs the shoreline of Buck Lake and plays strongly from right to left. Trouble presents itself down the entire left side, but a drive favouring the left side of the fairway shortens the hole down if you fancy taking the green on in two shots. With an incredibly small target to aim at, however, the prudent play is to layup and play a third shot into the green. Miss left and you're in the lake. Miss right and you've got a very difficult up and down.

HOLE 16: CYPRESS POINT, PAR-3 218 YARDS

An absolutely cracking par-3 hole. Featuring the most exhilarating tee shot in golf, over 200 yards is required to carry the Pacific Ocean to a peninsula green framed by bunkers, rocks, and ice plant. A fairway left of the green is afforded as on option off the tee in the event the incoming winds are blowing too strong or if you just aren't feeling confident enough with your hybrid or fairway wood to fire straight at the green. The pinnacle of your golfing existance is reached on this tee box. 

HOLE 17: TPC SAWGRASS, PAR-3 137 YARDS

We're playing back-to-back par-3 holes, but who can blame us for choosing this one?! The iconic 17th at TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players Championship, is one of the most exciting holes in all of golf. What is now one of the world's most famous holes was designed by accident. The original plan called for the hole to be only somewhat surrounded by a lake, but during construction a crater was dug around the green. Designer Pete Dye's wife Alice suggested leaving the hole like that - and we're very glad he listened. The four-foot water surrounding the Island Green claims around 120,000 balls each year. Paid seven cents for each ball they recover, divers search for balls four times per year in January, April, July and October. It might only measure 137 yards, but it sends shivers down the spine of even the most established Tour Pro

HOLE 18: PEBBLE BEACH, PAR-5 543 YARDS

The 18th at Pebble Beach represents our favourite finishing hole as it provides the ultimate closing test for golfers of all skill levels. From crashing waves against the Pacific-soaked seawall to the iconic Cypress tree on the fairway, the par-5 18th here provides an everlasting image for golfers and visitors alike. Although the fairway is actually quite wide, the only way to reach the green in two shots is to drive as close to the water as you dare. Anything favouring the right side of the fairway will be blocked out by the lone tree. More often than not, with wind gusting into the player's face, it will be played as a three-shotter into the contoured green. In terms of strategic interest, Pebble’s 18th passes every test, as it does for its stunning beauty.

PAR: 71 (6,754 YARDS)
OUT: 36 (3,579 YARDS)
IN: 35 (3,175 YARDS)

Now it's your turn! What do you consider to be the 18 perfect golf holes? Share your thoughts in the GM Forum and join us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. 

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