Arguably the biggest grand opening in modern golf course design took place last year with the unveiling of TPC Impossible.
Okay, so we’re very biased.
The complex course featuring the most difficult holes from the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, by number, drew more bruised egos than rave reviews, but who’s counting? No other golf course in the world could claim holes from Augusta National, Kiawah’s Ocean Course and Torrey Pines (we hear this course produces some great leaderboards).
Fantastic though it may be, TPC Impossible is just that – impossible. The poor souls, also made, who had the opportunity to try their games on it agreed. Many of them, in fact, complained that it was too difficult, so what did we do? We went to work to fix it stronger – with more than half time left.
Why should we be complacent? Only three holes from last year’s course were retained as part of this extensive $7.4 billion redesign (or is that renovation?) — Augusta National’s fifth hole, Memorial Park’s 14u and Port Royal’s oceanside par-3 16thu – and par increased from 68 to 70 while adding more than 400 yards, pushing the total length over 8,000.
We said last year that TPC Impossible made the Green Mile look like the Green Millimeter and the Bear Trap like the Bear Claw. The redesigned TPC Impossible takes things a few steps further, making Hogan’s Alley look like the Katy Freeway (26 lanes!) and Horrible Horseshoe like the Hanging Horseshoe.
Anyway, here’s the new-and-improved TPC Impossible:
Average score: 38,066-38,619–76,685 (+6,685)
1 – Augusta National
Length: 445 yards
Average score: 4.3
Birdies have been hard to come by in the opener at this year’s Masters. Just 17 were made as players combined for 10 double bogeys and one other. It didn’t help that the fairway ranked second hardest to hit all week.
The next hardest: Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Par 4, 495 yards, 4,292
2 – Twin Cities TPC
Length: 468 yards
Average score: 4,422
Players hit the water off the tee 73 times – or 16% of all tee shots – in 72 holes during the 3M Open. As a result, 43 double bogeys (season high) and nine triples were accomplished. No other second hole on Tour has yielded more than 26 doubles and four triples or worse.
The next hardest: The Country Club, Par 3, 215 yards, 3,389
3 – The Country Club
Length: 499 yards
Average score: 4.248
While it was the toughest third hole last season, it was only the sixth toughest among the 18 holes at the TCC. But the third green was the hardest to hit from the fairway (48%) during the US Open. Cameron Young made four here in the second round of the US Open, although after three holes he bogeyed the sixth hole.
The next hardest: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, Par 3, 225 yards, 3,189
4 – St. George’s Golf and Country Club
Length: 474 yards
Average score: 4.401
Not only did the field find the green in regulation just 37% of the time – and just 10% when approaching from the correct rough – but the bogey rate was just 40%. No wonder there were 160 bogeys, 22 doubles and three triples.
The next hardest: Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Par 4, 505 yards, 4,345
5 – Augusta National
Length: 495 yards
Average score: 4,332
Of the par-4s at Augusta National, only the 11th hole produced fewer birdies. Just 13 birdies were made in 72 holes on No. 5, which had the highest stroke average, fewest one-putts (78) and second-most three-putts (28). Scottie Scheffler birdied this hole in every round en route to winning the green jacket this year.
The next hardest: Colonial Country Club, Par 4, 481 yards, 4,302
6 – PGA National (Champion)
Length: 479 yards
Average score: 4,378
Players just couldn’t hit that green at the Honda Classic, as there was a GIR rate of 29.7%. That percentage included only 12 of the 73 players who scored a GIR in the third round. And if you hit the right rough off the tee, you hit the green with your approach less than 16% of the time.
The next hardest: Southern Hills, Par 3, 214 yards, 3,237
7 – Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore)
Length: 226 yards
Average score: 3,312
The first non-par-4 at TPC Impossible. In three rounds during this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, this hole produced 11 birdies and 53 bogeys or worse. Much tougher than that other memorable seventh hole at MP.
The next hardest: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium), Par 4, 451 yards, 4,227
8 – Spyglass Hill
Length: 399 yards
Average score: 4,417
Another Pro-Am rota layout. This hole had more threes (17) than birdies (15) in three rounds.
The next hardest: The Renaissance Club, Par 4, 448 yards, 4,392
9 – Bay Hill
Length: 480 yards
Average score: 4,312
Bay Hill is well represented at TPC Impossible, and that’s not even including its three toughest holes. The back nine is the fourth toughest at Arnie’s Place with a tournament low 21 birdies recorded here at this year’s API.
The next hardest: TPC Twin Cities, Par 4, 502 yards, 4,298
10 – Vidanta Vallarta
Length: 475 yards
Average score: 4,409
This hole played harder at the Mexican Open than the hardest hole at the US Open. It’s a 475-yard par-4 where you can’t really hit driver (278.9-yard average), you probably can’t hit the green in regulation (32.9%), and you’ll definitely struggle to gain strokes with potter (-0.03 SGP ).
The next hardest: The Country Club, Par 4, 499 yards, 4,391
11 – TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm
Length: 470 yards
Average score: 4,489
There are some tough No. 11 holes on the PGA Tour, but this was the third toughest of any number of holes – and not the toughest. 18 – thanks to 153 bogeys, 34 doubles, six others and some very bad weather. Martin Laird scored a ‘9’ here during this year’s Wells Fargo.
The next hardest: Augusta National, Par 4, 520 yards, 4,477
12 – Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
Length: 490 yards
Average score: 4.306
Torrey’s 12th hole was dethroned this year as the second-toughest hole at the 2021 Zozo. Twelve doubles and 93 bogeys were launched on No. 12 during that match – oh, and 17 three-putts.
The next hardest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 4, 505 yards, 4.29
13 – The Country Club
Length: 440 yards
Average score: 4.341
No hole at the TCC produced more doubles (28) while the field found its way off the tee just 42.5 percent of the time. Jinichiro Kozuma recorded four here in the 2nd round of the US Open. On the other hand, Matt Fitzpatrick drained a huge birdie on No. 13 on Sunday en route to his maiden title.
The next hardest: St. Andrews Links (Old), Par 4, 465 yards, 4,301
14 – Memorial Park
Length: 529 yards
Average score: 4,353
We didn’t touch anything when it came time for TPC Impossible’s 14th hole as Memorial Park’s monster par-4 makes another appearance on this list. 27.9% GIR rate in 2021, and when players hit the green, they averaged 59 feet, 2 inches from the hole.
The next hardest: Harbor Town, Par 3, 192 yards, 3,273
15 – Bay Hill
Length: 467 yards
Average score: 4.307
Out of bounds lurks to the left and a crop of trees right over this dog hole. We’re honestly surprised that the fairway was only the seventh hardest in this year’s API. It’s not a popular hole on Tour, but it’s perfect for TPC Impossible.
The next hardest: The Country Club, Par 4, 510 yards, 4,305
16 – Port Royal Golf Course
Length: 235 yards
Average score: 3.341
Another hole with seemingly nowhere to get off the tee – only this one happens to be a par-3 with the ocean to the left, a hill to the right and usually strong winds and bad weather affecting the shot. Just hit it on the green, right? Well, only 90 of the 399 tee balls made it to the 2021 Butterfield.
The next hardest: Vidanta Vallarta, Par 4, 505 yards, 4,338
17 – Links St. Andrews (Old)
Length: 495 yards
Average score: 4,456
The Road Hole continues to stand the test of time as one of the toughest holes in golf. His 199 bogeys or worse allowed ranked second-highest on Tour last season.
The next hardest: Vidanta Villarta, Par 3, 226 yards, 3.28
18 – The Renaissance Club
Length: 483 yards
Average score: 4,617
The finishing hole of the Scottish Open was the toughest hole on the PGA Tour last season. His six birdies allowed were the fewest of any hole and his 211 bogeys were the most by 48! Amazingly, no player did worse than double par on the hole, although they carded 40 doubles. Xander Schauffele won the No. 18 Friday-Sunday in his win this year.
The next hardest: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium), Par 4, 462 yards, 4.53