Ten of the Best: Island Greens

We take a look at the best island greens in the world

Charlie Lemay's picture
Fri, 9 May 2014
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No.1 – 17th at TPC Sawgrass

Par 3, 137 yards

With the Players Championship taking place this week, it seemed logical to start in Florida and the infamous 17th.

The  green wasn’t even meant to an island but when it was under construction there were some some issues which forced the hand of the designers Pete and Alice Dye.

The hole has been the making and breaking of so many players and the record number of balls to go into the drink is 93 in 2007. A scuba tank and some goggles could really reap reward!

No.1 – 17th at TPC Sawgrass

Par 3, 137 yards

With the Players Championship taking place this week, it seemed logical to start in Florida and the infamous 17th.

The  green wasn’t even meant to an island but when it was under construction there were some some issues which forced the hand of designers Pete and Alice Dye.

The hole has been the making and breaking of so many players and the record number of balls to go into the drink is 93 in 2007. 

No.2 – 17th at Secession Golf Club 

Par 3, 134 yards

Following on with the short-par-3-with-an-island-green theme, this little tester should not be underestimated.

Unlike TPC Sawgrass, if you miss the green you will not end up in a watery grave but rather in a marsh. At low tide, you can recover it, at high tide…

No.3 – 15th at English Turn Golf and Country Club

Par 5, 540 yards

You can play this hole perfectly but if you’re approach to the green isn’t just right then you’re walking away with a red number.

While par 5s offer you the chance to recover, they also offer you ample opportunity to throw away shots. This Jack Nicklaus designed course offers you a helping hand in doing so.

It hosted a PGA Tour event 16 times before it moved to TPC Louisiana and the hole is part of a challenging stretch from 14-16 which you should be over the moon with if you pass at level par.

No.4 - 15th  at Galen Hall Golf Club

Par 3, 193 yards

Long par 3s are hard enough without having to navigate onto an island green. Also known as “the Moat Hole” this is believed to be the oldest island green and it paved the way for those that came after it.

While you don’t see a great deal of water from the tee, it needs to be a well struck ball to land softly and stop on the dancefloor. A round-wrecker if ever I saw one.

No.5 – 17th at Apple Tree Resort


Par 3, 180 yards

Essentially a novelty hole, you would be foolish to relax on this one. Many have enjoyed the unique nature of the hole, lost concentration, and then sent their ball for a dip.

The apple themed hole has a bunker at the back left (the leaf) and the stem is used as a bridge to the green.

It’s a well-designed hole that will stick in the mind of all who play it…hopefully for the right reasons. 

No.6 – 3rd (b) at Four Seasons Mita

Par 3, 194 yards

Jack Nicklaus has thrown a spanner in the works here. You’re in Mexico for a jovial round of golf and then you are faced with a long par 3 with a treacherous island green on THE THIRD hole…not nice.

However, Jack was obviously in a kind mood as this is actually the alternative hole known as the “Tail of the Whale”.

It is a natural island green and the Great One’s hand may have been forced, in regards to making it an alternate hole, as it is inaccessible at high tide via foot but you can trudge over the sandy path at low tide if you want to take it on. 

No.7 – 14th at Coeur d’Alene Resort

Par 3, 218 yards

This is the world’s only floating island green and it’s so tough that you earn a certificate if you manage to make par.

The 15,000 square foot green is only accessible via  a six-passenger boat called “Putter”. At 218 yards it requires a decent bash if you want to even give yourself a chance of making par.

No.8  - 17th at PGA West Stadium Course, Palm Springs

Par 3, 168 yards

This hole almost didn’t get created as Pete Dye was unsure whether he should replicate his famous hole at TPC Sawgrass but thanks to some encouragement from his pals, the hole was built.

Known as “Alcatraz” the green is much larger and longer that Dye’s original at Sawgrass but on a windy day it can be just as treacherous. 

No.9 – 9th at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

Par 3, 157 yards

This is one of the first island greens and you will see that the generous bailout area makes it one of the friendliest – if there is such a thing of course.

Herbert Strong is the architect and it opened in 1928. The Ryder Cup was scheduled to be played here in 1939 but unfortunately World War II forced the event to be cancelled. 

No.10 – 16th at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club

Par 3, 169 yards

This is one of the most beautiful island greens in the world but also one of the most punishing.

Built in 1963 and designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr, the hole is well known in the local area and is undoubtedly feared and respected by all that take it on. 

 

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