Subscribe to Cigar Aficionado and receive the digital edition of our Premier issue FREE!

Email this page Print this page
Share this page

The Ten Toughest Courses

Are tough courses, and then there are these ten monsters
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Bacon, May/Jun 00

(continued from page 3)

There's enough trouble on the Ocean Course for any three courses. There are forced carries over salt marshes and vast expanses of sand filled with a botanist's candy box of bushes and grasses. The course was softened up a bit after the Ryder Cup matches to give the regular players a break. But there is no break from the wind, which whips off the Atlantic from the south and east--unless a front sweeps in from the west and blows everything out to sea, including your brand-new cap.  

You only need to get to the second hole to find every form of danger and nuance that Dye could muster. No. 2 isn't a long par 5 at 528 yards, but it is a strategically demanding one. The tee shot must carry a salt marsh, though not so far to the right as to end up in sand and high grass. The second shot must carry a marshy area about 130 yards short of the green, a carry that can be easily achieved on days when the wind is at your back. The approach to the small, shallow tabletop green is challenging enough with a wedge in your hand, but it's downright terrifying if you have to hit some sort of long iron or fairway wood. No. 12 is a 462-yard par 4 that usually plays into the prevailing southerly wind. There's water down the right side to menace the drive, and water hard against the green on the right.  

Like Whistling Straits, there are tees on the Ocean Course that don't show up on the scorecard but can stretch the yardage to nearly 7,900. Surely Pete doesn't want you to play it from there. Heh-heh.    

Yardage from back tees
Course Rating
Slope Rating

The Monster Course of the Concord Resort Hotel sits in a peaceful valley in upstate New York, the sort of place you would expect to find old folks on front porches, grandmothers canning jams and parents berating umpires at Little League games.  

Yes, you can find all of that in the Catskills. What you came for, however, is a golf course that can kick the rockers out from under the old folks, bust Granny's canning jars and crush abusive baseball parents.  

The story goes that Ray Parker, who once owned the Concord, wasn't invited to a prominent social event at Grossinger's, another local resort with well-known golf courses. To give Grossinger's the business, he hired architect Joe Finger and told him to build the toughest golf course he could, something he could market against his rival. Parker also hired legendary touring professional and cabaret singer Jimmy Demaret to be his head professional. Demaret also consulted on the course, along with Texas colleague Jackie Burke Jr.  

The Monster opened in 1963. The official length of the course is 7,650 yards, but if the greens superintendent gets up on the wrong side of the bed, he can have his crew push the tees back to more than 7,900 yards. Everything about the Monster is big, but that's what you would expect.  

Consider that there is only one par 4 under 400 yards, and the shortest of the par 4s on the back nine is 451 yards. The toughest par on the course, however, might be the 248-yard par-3 seventh hole. Making the hole effectively longer, your tee shot plays to a green elevated above the tee. To the left of the green is a 30-foot drop, the embankment reinforced with a stone wall. Miss the green left and you might as well be hitting up the side of the World Trade Center.  

Aptly named, this Monster.    

< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 >

Share |

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In If You're Already Registered At Cigar Aficionado Online

Forgot your password?

Not Registered Yet? Sign up–It's FREE.


Search By:



Cigar Insider

Cigar Aficionado News Watch
A Free E-Mail Newsletter

Introducing a FREE newsletter from the editors of Cigar Aficionado!
Sign Up Today