Many of us have different opinions when it comes to crowning the ultimate Jim Zielinski creations in the latest installment. With the game out for more than six weeks, however, we’ve all had ample time to establish our own opinions regarding the holes that make us say things are mothers would be appalled to hear.
There’s also something clarification required when it comes to defining “toughest.” To me—and for the sake of our top five we will be revealing over the next few weeks—these are the designs that are the most difficult to reach the desired score. Well, duh.
The drivable par-4s where eagle is most difficult to come by, the par-5s that are the most difficult to reach and the par-3s that can be downright mean when it comes to birdie seeking—these are what make a design both fair and challenging. Playing for birdie can make these more than manageable, but as we all know that’s not what the game is all about.
No. 4 in our toughest in 2013 takes us to paradise, although this hole is far from it.
Coconut Beach 17 it is, a tricky par-4 that can be aced, although it also provides one of the toughest eagles to come by.
The layout of this hole is pretty simple. There are no tricks, shortcuts, secrets, or teleports (unfortunately) to the green. The giant hill, stone, and trees are serious obstacles between the tee boxes and the green, and you’re going to need a perfect shot to even have a shot at sticking it.
With the right setup, a Golden Tee, and some courage, you can clear the wall, stay under the trees and get to the green. More time than not, however, you will go around this hill with a C-3-type shot and hope that you give yourself a manageable eagle putt.
Clearing the hill is one thing, managing the green and the surrounding trouble is another. A fairway wood (or even driver) will likely be coming in hot, and the hard-slopping green makes this a challenge to stick.
The stone situated in front of and behind the green can work for and against you. The wrong bounce off this surface and you’re doomed. The right bounce, however, can simplify spin and maybe even be how you strategically play this hole.
A lot of this will be determined by where the pin is located. Perhaps more so than any other hole in this game, a tough pin placement will make you consider laying up. If it’s located in the back, top corner of the green, you certainly have your work cut out for you.
If the conditions are perfect—and really, they’ll never be perfect—this shot will be a struggle. With a strong side wind (either left or right) you have to seriously consider putting it in the fairway and playing for birdie.
Any shot into the green that ends up short, slightly off, or long, and you’re almost certainly going to be wet. The bunker isn’t a bad place to be, although there’s always that chance that you’ll be tucked up against the rock wall and be without a shot. This doesn’t always happen, but it does happen.
And finally, there’s the putting. With this substantial slope towards the water, you’ll likely end up with a putt with major break. Even if you hit a superb shot to stay alive and on the short stuff, you have to cash in. That’s not always the easiest thing to do.
But… this hole can be had and it has before. Here are a couple of the finest aces we’ve seen to show you what it takes.
And finally, whatever you do, don't end up getting burner here.