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What Are The Most Difficult U.S. Courses? Golf Academy of America Pros Weigh In

May 29, 2014

You may know the ins and outs of all the courses in a 100-mile radius of your front door. You might have mastered the hometown country club. Sure, those courses have their challenges, but if you really want to see what you're made of, you'll have to step out of your comfort zone.

GolfDigest recently named "America's 75 Toughest Golf Courses," ranked by a select panel of more than 1000 avid golfers. The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., Pine Valley Golf Club in Clementon, N.J. and Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. topped their collective vote for most challenging.

Likewise, we asked the expert team at Golf Academy of America to share the courses that keep them on their toes. Here's what they had to say:

"Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, N.J., Pebble Beach in California and the Concord "Monster" Course in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y.  All three courses require length and accuracy off the tee and a precise approach to shots. The green speed at Pine Valley can be terribly quick at times."
--Jim Hart, President of Golf Academy of America in Phoenix

"The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina is one of the most difficult I have ever played. When the wind is blowing, and it is most of the time, it is easy to make a big number on so many of the holes."
--Brad Kirkman, PGA Master Professional at Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach

"In our area, it would have to be Ancala Country Club in Scottsdale. There are 6800 yards from the back tees that offer little to no view of the preferred landing area. The greens are undulating and sloped in such a way that getting the ball close is a serious task. Because the course is short by today's standards, the penalty of a misplaced shot is severe for those who go over the green or end up above the hole location, thereby facing a difficult two-putt on fast greens with serious movement. Even the flatter portions of the greens are difficult to read, partly because the course is situated somewhat in the McDowell mountains, creating illusions of break. It's tough to judge and tougher to commit to the shot."
--Ed Ekis, Golf Professional at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix