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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 4)

NO. 6 LAGOON LEGEND Marriott's Bay Point Resort, Panama City, Florida
Yardage from back tees
72 Course Rating 75.3
Slope 152  

The devil works in mysterious ways. Right in the middle of a family resort on the Florida panhandle sits one of the nation's toughest courses, and it isn't even 7,000 yards long.  

Affable golf pro and television commentator Bruce Devlin collaborated with the architect Robert von Hagge to fashion a Disney World of penal golf guaranteed to make Dad wish he had stayed home, or make the family wish that Dad had stayed home.  

In the true spirit of Florida golf, there is enough water on this course to declare it a second Everglades. Penalty strokes can mount up faster than day-trading losses. Bring balls, because you won't find the ones you hit out of play here. Losing a dozen balls a round isn't unusual. Heck, it's the average. There is water on 16 of the holes, though the number-one handicap hole, the 450-yard par-4 third, doesn't have a drop on it.  

The first hole is a quick hello, a 542-yard par 5 with water to the front and right of the green and a nasty nest of mounds at the back of it. The par-3 eighth is 208 yards to an island green. There's a short par 4 at the 13th, just 300 yards. Water guards the green. Alligators guard the water. No kidding. The 18th hole isn't that long at 392 yards, though there seems to be more water than fairway, and there's definitely more water than green.    

NO. 7 PGA WEST'S STADIUM COURSE La Quinta, California
Yardage from back tees
Course Rating
Slope Rating

Hello, Mr. Dye. So nice to see you again. But we can't keep meeting like this. I'll run out of balls.   Yes, Pete Dye was up to his Hitchcockian ways again when he built the Stadium Course at PGA West. Miss a green, miss a fairway, and you are severely punished. How severely? Well, there's a 19-foot-deep bunker to the left and back of the short par-4 16th. It's a 240-yard carry over water to the 255-yard par-3 sixth hole. You can bail out to the left on this hole and only carry the ball 220, but there's water on the left of the bailout area, too.  

The Stadium Course is so grueling that it is no longer used as one of the venues for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The touring pros found it difficult to get around, and their amateur partners couldn't get around it at all. You need a forklift to get some less than agile players out of Pete's bunkers.  

The shortest holes tend to be surrounded by the biggest trouble. The 12th hole is only 363 yards, but a 10-foot-deep sand bunker surrounds the green. It's called the Moat on the scorecard. The 17th hole is a par 3 surrounded by water with rocks at the water's edge. It's named Alcatraz.   There's no telling what you might be calling the Stadium Course after you play it. Just don't call Pete Dye. He's heard it all before.    

Yardage from back tees
Course Rating
Slope Rating

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