The 10 Toughest Golf Courses In America

journey at pechanga golf course

Photo: journeyatpechanga.com

You know that PGA Tour courses are harder than your local municipal.But how much harder?

Well, the United States Golf Association maintains a database of official course ratings for almost every golf course in America.

Check out the top 10 courses →
Those rankings will let you know just how many frustrated hacks it will take you to navigate a given course.

The USGA’s official course rating system was designed to measure and compare the difficulty of any golf course, using objective criteria like distance, roll, elevation, and location of hazards. The end result is a simple number given as a stroke count, that allows for a rough comparison of every course no matter how it’s laid out.

There are, however, other numbers that will give you additional information.

The USGA Course Rating is the difficulty rating for the “scratch” golfer, or a golfer who can expect to shoot par on almost any course under normal conditions.

The Bogey Rating is the same calculation, but adjusted for the skill level of a bogey golfer, or one who has a handicap of about 20. (That means they get about one extra stroke per hole during a round.)

Because certain distances and obstacles will affect the bogey golfer and the scratch golfer differently, there is also the Slope Rating, which measures the relative difference between the two numbers. The more difficult the course gets, the faster a bogey golfer’s score will rise compared to a scratch golfer.

The maximum Slope Rating is 155.

UPDATE: All of these course ratings (with the exception of The International) are for ratings for women golfers. However, not every course and tee box has an official rating for women. If they did that would change these rankings (and ranking of the top men’s course ratings would be completely different.) Click here for a follow up post on the matter >

Check out the 10 courses with the highest USGA Course Rating →
Thank you to Eric Lahman, Manager, Course Rating & Handicapping for the USGA for providing the data.

#10: The Vintage Club, Mountain Course - Indian Wells, CA

Course Rating: 81.6

Bogey Rating: 116.5

Slope Rating: 148

#9: The International, Pines Course - Bolton, MA

Course Rating: 81.7

Bogey Rating: 112.2

Slope Rating: 155

#8: Norwood Hills, West - St. Louis, MO

Course Rating: 81.7

Bogey Rating: 117.6

Slope Rating: 148

#7: Round Mountain Golf Course - Round Mountain, NV

Course Rating: 81.8

Bogey Rating: 115.4

Slope Rating: 142

#6: Los Coyotes, Valley/Vista Course - Buena Park, CA

Course Rating: 81.8

Bogey Rating: 117.3

Slope Rating: 151

#5: La Quinta Country Club - La Quinta, CA

Course Rating: 81.9

Bogey Rating: 116.9

Slope Rating: 148

#4: Journey at Pechanga, Temecula, CA

Course Rating: 81.9

Bogey Rating: 118.8

Slope Rating: 154

#3: Perry Park Golf Resort - Perry Park, KY

Course Rating: 82.2

Bogey Rating: 116.8

Slope Rating: 147

#2: The Club At Olde Stone - Alvaton, KY

Course Rating: 82.6

Bogey Rating: 117.5

Slope Rating: 148

#1: Torrey Pines, South Course - San Diego, CA

Course Rating: 82.8

Bogey Rating: 117.6

Slope Rating: 148

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