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10 Stress-Inducing Three-Hole Stretches On Tour

Every golf course has at least one hole that is more difficult than the other 17, but only a select few have three consecutive holes that are so difficult, that they sometimes require a nickname.

Some of them make you wait until the closing three like the Green Mile at Quail Hollow, or they could hit you with them on the front side like they do with the Horrible Horseshoe at Colonial. Here are 10 pulse-pounding stretches on some of the most famous courses.

Amen Corner – Augusta National

 
 
 
 
 
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Augusta’s 11th, 12th, and 13th holes are not only the most famous three-hole stretches in golf, but also one of the toughest. 11 is a very difficult 504-yard par-4 with one of the most daunting approach shots in golf down the hill with water guarding the green. The par-3 155-yard 12th is notoriously known for its swirling winds, shallow green, and it usually plays just above par for during the four days. While the 13th is usually a bit of a reprieve from the previous two, it still requires your full attention off the tee. Then add in the patrons and major pressure. There’s a reason why they call it Amen Corner.

The Bear Trap – PGA National 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Bear Trap at PGA National is named after the legend himself, Jack Nicklaus, who redesigned the course. Two demanding par-3s and a very difficult par-4 make coming down the stretch here about as tough as it gets on tour. With water everywhere, there is no room for error. Nicklaus once said, “it should all be won or lost here.”

Horrible Horseshoe – Colonial C.C.

 
 
 
 
 
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Colonial Country Club’s Horrible Horseshoe is so tough because it hits you three holes in. In fact, it’s widely considered the toughest three-hole stretch on tour. All three holes rank in the top four in difficulty on the entire course, with the most difficult being the 480-yard par-4 dog-leg right with zero room for error. The course plays host to the Dean and Deluca Invitational, but it’s still The Colonial for most people.

Holes 10-12 – Bethpage Black 

 
 
 
 
 
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Bethpage Black is one bad course, but technically speaking, the toughest stretch of holes are the three straight par-4s that lead off the back nine. Both numbers 10 and 12 play over 500 yards, while the 11th has one of the more severely sloped greens on the course. If the pros get out of here in level par, they’re happy. 

Holes 16-18 – Muirfield Village

 
 
 
 
 
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Muirfield Village plays host to the Memorial Tournament and always is assured some drama down the stretch. That’s thanks to #16, a daunting 215-yard par-3 over water, followed by two 400+ yard par-4s. These consistently rank in the top-5 most difficult holes during the event. Play these well and you passed Jack’s test.

Holes 8-10 – Pebble Beach Golf Links

 
 
 
 
 
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Pebble Beach’s eight, ninth, and tenth holes are one of the toughest stretches anywhere. In fact, they are nicknamed the “Cliffs of Doom.” While holes six, seven and eight are probably more well known, this run of par-4s is what separates the men/women from the boys/girls.

Green Mile – Quail Hollow

 
 
 
 
 
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There’s a reason why they call the last three holes at Quail Hollow the Green Mile. 16 is a massive 500+ yard par-4, followed by a 220-yard par-3 surrounded by water, and then 18 is your run-of-the-mill 493-yard uphill par-4. These three holes usually play as most difficult three on the entire course.

Holes 16-18 – TPC Sawgrass

 
 
 
 
 
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The Players Championship contested at TPC Sawgrass is usually won or lost on the final three holes. While back in the day 16 was a much more difficult par-5, it still requires your attention. Then comes the diabolical par-3 17th hole with the island green. As if that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, the par-4 18 with water along the entire left side usually plays the toughest on the entire course. 

The Snake Pit – Copperhead Course – Innisbrook Golf Resort

 
 
 
 
 
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The winner of the Valspar Open has to contend with the Snake Pit if they want to claim the trophy. The Copperhead course at Innisbrook resort final three holes consists of bookended 440-plus par 4s and a lengthy 215-yard par 3 17th. Get through these at level par and consider yourself lucky. 

Holes 15-18 – Atlanta Athletic Club

 
 
 
 
 
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Atlanta Athletic Club gives us a four-hole stretch for the price of three. It consists of 2 par-3s measuring over 200 yards, along with the par-4 16th checking in at 440, and the 490-yard par-4 18th. If you survive these, chances are victory will be yours.

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