‘TPC Impossible’: Toughest composite course on the PGA Tour in 2021

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If you think golf is hard enough, you may want to pass on checking this course off of your bucket list.

Of course, we’re talking about “TPC Impossible,” which, as you probably can gather, is not a real course. There are no tee times available. No course rating or slope. No membership. All probably for the best.

What “TPC Impossible” is, though, is it’s actually a composite course of the most difficult holes, by number, on the PGA Tour in 2021. A par-68 layout measuring at over 7,600 yards and featuring no par-5s, six par-4s over 500 yards and absolutely zero birdie holes.

With a scoring average of more than six shots over par, it makes the Green Mile look like the Green Millimeter, the Bear Trap like the Bear Claw and Tiger proofing like Barkley proofing (sorry, Chuck!).

Forget playing it, you may even need an aspirin after reading this:

Course snapshot

Par: 34-34–68
Length: 3,736-3,894–7,630 yards
Scoring average: 36.58-37.502–74.082 (+6.082)

1 – TPC San Antonio (Oaks)

Par: 4
Length: 454 yards
Scoring average: 4.364

There’s no easing into the round with this hole. Jordan Spieth managed to play it in 1 under and bogey-free en route to winning the Valero Texas Open here last April. However, the hole also forced 26 double bogeys and five triples during the week. Less than 37% greens in regulation and less than 48% scrambling doesn’t typically equate to low scores.

Next toughest: Bay Hill, Par 4, 461 yards, 4.265

2 – Quail Hollow Club

Par: 4
Length: 452 yards
Scoring average: 4.233

Quail Hollow may be known for its difficult finishing holes, but it’s two of its early holes that make this scorecard, including the dogleg left, par-4 second, which boasted two triple bogeys and three times as many doubles (12) than the second toughest second hole, the par-3 second at Bay Hill. The green is this hole’s defense as it had the shortest average length of putt made (3’7″) during the Wells Fargo.

Next toughest: Bay Hill, Par 3, 231 yards, 3.214

3 – Quail Hollow Club

Par: 4
Length: 483 yards
Scoring average: 4.233

Staying in Charlotte, North Carolina, the par-4 third at Quail Hollow also saw 12 double bogeys this year while totaling 127 bogeys, 24 more than any other third hole in the past 12 months.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 4, 390 yards, 4.204

4 – Accordia Golf Narashino CC

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.345

The Zozo Championship host keeps Augusta National from having four holes on this composite layout. Narashino’s par-4 fourth actually yielded the same amount of birdies as double bogeys (15). Sepp Straka played the hole in 5 over over the four rounds, making a double and one of three triples on the week.

Next toughest: Augusta National, Par 3, 240 yards, 3.304

5 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 495 yards
Scoring average: 4.431

The recently lengthened par-4 fifth at Augusta National, “Magnolia,” is the hardest fifth hole, and it’s not close, as this year’s next hardest fifth hole, PGA National’s par-3 fifth, is nearly two-tenths of a shot over par easier. Xander Schauffele made double here, one of 14 scores of double or worse for the tournament, on Sunday as part of a 4-over, three-hole stretch. He lost by three shots to Hideki Matsuyama.

Next toughest: PGA National (Champions), Par 3, 217 yards, 3.276

6 – PGA West (Stadium)

Par: 3
Length: 223 yards
Scoring average: 3.235

Considering players teed it up on the Stadium Course just once in the first two rounds before the layout hosted solo on the weekend, 15 doubles and two triples is scary. Twenty balls found the water in four days, including two off the clubface of Erik van Rooyen, who doubled the hole in both weekend rounds.

Next toughest: Muirfield Village, Par 4, 455 yards, 4.212

7 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 450 yards
Scoring average: 4.297

The third of four Augusta National holes on this course, “Pampas” yielded only 21 birdies last April, the lowest birdie total of any seventh hole this year.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 4, 462 yards, 4.228 (Farmers)

8 – PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament)

Par: 3
Length: 172 yards
Scoring average: 3.256

The American Express had quite the duo of treacherous par-3s, with Stadium’s sixth and Nicklaus Tournament’s eighth. Though players saw the hole just once the entire week, the eighth forced 15 doubles, three triples and, gulp, two quads. Four of the five others were made during the second round, where the scoring average was almost a half-shot over par.

Next toughest: Pebble Beach, Par 4, 428 yards, 4.221

9 – TPC Twin Cities

Par: 4
Length: 502 yards
Scoring average: 4.285

Almost to the turn, but not before playing a hole that saw 25 double bogeys, plus a triple by amateur Ryan Hall, at this year’s 3M Open. Eighteen balls went swimming, all on approach shots to this green guarded heavily by water. Winner Cameron Champ had little issue with the ninth, though, as he birdied it each of the first two days.

Next toughest: Congaree GC, Par 4, 510 yards, 4.273

10 – PGA National (Champion)

Par: 4
Length: 508 yards
Scoring average: 4.304

Twenty-seven birdies were made on the Champion’s back-nine opener during this year’s Honda Classic, though just one of those came during the final round (congrats, Stewart Cink). Players hit this green in regulation just 37.77% of the time in 72 holes.

Next toughest: Muirfield Village, Par 4, 472 yards, 4.261

11 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.399

If Collin Morikawa was playing this composite layout, he’d likely skip this hole. He played “White Dogwood” in 5 over with two weekend doubles last April. Not that anyone had success there, as just 15 birdies were made in the most recent tournament.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 3, 222 yards, 3.393 (U.S. Open)

12 – Torrey Pines (South)

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.401 (Farmers)

Torrey Pines’ South Course might’ve hosted a U.S. Open this summer, but it’s place in this course isn’t represented by that championship. The par-4 12th for the Farmers Insurance Open averaged nearly as many doubles or worse as birdies. It’s just tough to hit the ball close here, evidenced by the hole’s average proximity of 51 feet, 8 inches for the tournament.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 4, 501 yards, 4.389 (U.S. Open)

13 – Congaree GC

Par: 4
Length: 465 yards
Scoring average: 4.361

With players trying to get the best angle into the green, which featured front pins on three of the four days, 23 tee balls were rinsed left of the fairway. In total, 25 double bogeys and six triples were made on the week. Chesson Hadley also bogeyed the 18th to finish a shot out of a potential playoff with winner Garrick Higgo.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 4, 497 yards, 4.272

14 – Memorial Park GC

Par: 4
Length: 529 yards
Scoring average: 4.353

For a municipal course, this sure is a lengthy par-4. Players were barely over 20% in hitting this green in regulation on the weekend, as they were coming into the green with mainly long-irons, and they combined for just seven birdies in the final 36 holes. For the week, there were 143 bogeys, 12 doubles and three triples made here, yet there was also a hole-out eagle, by Luke List from 179 yards out.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 3, 238 yards, 3.348

15 – Ocean Course at Kiawah

Par: 4
Length: 466 yards
Scoring average: 4.348

Kiawah’s back nine was the toughest of the year (+1.756) thanks to most holes playing into heavy winds. However, while scoring averages were also slightly skewed by the club professionals, it’s not like the club pros were the only ones responsible for the 24 doubles and four triples on the 15th hole. In fact, most of the biggest numbers were made by the Tour guys, including doubles by George Coetzee, Jason Scrivener and Peter Malnati. Tommy Fleetwood, Thomas Pieters and Victor Perez were responsible for one triple each.

Next toughest: Royal St. George’s, Par 4, 496 yards, 4.342

16 – Port Royal GC

Par: 3
Length: 235 yards
Scoring average: 3.341

The Butterfield Bermuda Championship claims a plot of land on this composite course (and boy, is it a beautiful piece), partly due to brutal playing conditions in this fall’s first round, where severe winds and rain wreaked havoc. But even without the assist from Mother Nature, this hole was plenty tough. It actually played to the same scoring average (+0.410) in each of the first two rounds, and the third round’s four birdies were fewer than the first round’s six. There was one triple in every round, and the second round even had a quad from Andres Romero.

Next toughest: El Camaleon GC, Par 4, 515 yards, 4.298

17 – Ocean Course at Kiawah

Par: 3
Length: 223 yards
Scoring average: 3.531

Featuring one of the most intimidating tee shots in golf thanks to Pete Dye digging an 8-acre lake right of this green and deep bunkers left, the Ocean Course’s 17th first earned its reputation at the 1991 Ryder Cup. “The hardest hole in the history of the universe,” David Feherty called it back then. Two decades later, it was the hardest at the PGA, yielding just three of 23 total birdies in the final round and causing 43 doubles, 12 triples, one quad and one smashed tee marker. Players found the green in regulation just 34.39% of the time and 40 balls were deposited in the manmade lake. Phil Mickelson bogeyed it twice, including on Sunday, during his record-breaking victory.

Next toughest: Quail Hollow, Par 3, 190 yards, 3.261

18 – Bay Hill

Par: 4
Length: 458 yards
Scoring average: 4.464

Blustery conditions for much of this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational made this finishing hole even more demanding, especially on Sunday. Only 11 of 72 players in the final round hit the green in regulation, knocking the weekly average down almost below 30%. The scoring average for the 18th hole in that final round was slightly more than a shot over par. Harris English made the only birdie here on Sunday. For the tournament, the closing hole handed out 23 doubles (11 on Sunday), nine triples (five on Sunday) and one final-round quad by Luke List. Bryson DeChambeau played boldly to win that week, but he played safely at No. 18, making four straight pars.

Next toughest: Quail Hollow, Par 4, 494 yards, 4.456

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