We pretty much know what a golf course is. But there is something that goes unnoticed during the discussion about a particular golf course. That is the Slope Rating & the Course Rating. The higher the Slope Rating the tougher the golf course would be. Slope Ratings range from 55 to 155, with the average being 113. However, this information alone is not enough to judge how tough a golf course is and what to expect in terms of your performance and your scoring on that particular golf course due to other factors such as the course design & its hazards. Throughout this post, you will come across the Top 10 Toughest Golf Courses In the World and their slope and course ratings respectively.

What is the hardest golf course in the world?

Keep reading to find out the hardest golf course in the world.

Championship Links, Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Championship Links Golf Course

In the list of our top ten toughest golf courses in the world, we have listed Royal County Down Golf Club as number 10. Its fairways are narrow strips bordered by purple heather and golden yellow gorse. Beautiful, yet almost impossible to recover from. Other than that, many of its deep bunkers are also almost impossible to get out of. There are many blind shots where golfers playing Royal County Down for the first time will need a local caddy to show them the right spot to aim at. Many greens are domed and will throw anything less than perfect into a greenside bunker or greenside rough. Huge sand dunes isolate each hole from the others but they won’t protect you from the wind that usually blows in from Dundrum Bay besides which the course is laid out.

Royal County Down Golf Course Details:

Length6,571 m
Course Rating75.0
Slope Rating142

Royal County Down Golf Green Fees:

From May 2022 to October 2022

Weekday Mornings£290 per round
Weekday Afternoons£290 per round
Two rounds in one day£390
Sunday Afternoons£300 per round

Le Touessrok Golf Course, Ile aux Cerfs, Mauritius

Le Touessrok Golf Course

Designed by two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer of Germany, Le Touessrok Golf Course is set on its own island and is the only one I know that cannot be reached by road, only by speed boat or helicopter. It’s stunningly beautiful but also extremely tough. Many holes have extra long carries from tee to fairway or from fairway to green over mangrove swamps, water hazards, or huge bunkers, a few of which are over 200 yards long.

Le Touessrok Golf Course Details:

Length6,452 m
Course Rating70.0
Slope Rating113

Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers Golf Cours

Designed by Tom Doak with many holes completely exposed to winds whipping in off the Pacific Ocean just keeping your ball online is tough. Rumpled fairways, particularly on the front nine, throw tee shots into the rough, and apparently good approaches can bounce on the putting surface and then run off into deep greenside bunkers.

Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay Golf Course Details:

Length6,569 m
Course Rating75.4
Slope Rating145

Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay Green Fees:

Mon – FriSat, Sun, Holidays
18 HolesNZD 313NZD 313
9 HolesNZD 175NZD 175

Bethpage Black, New York, United States

Bethpage Black Golf Course

The reason why this golf course is on our list of toughest golf courses in the world? This course, one of five at Bethpage State Park in Long Island, New York, is so tough it has a sign by the first tee that reads “The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers. This is why it’s hosted the U.S. Open twice in 2002 when only winner Tiger Woods broke par, and in 2009, when only five players broke par with winner Lucas Glover finishing at four under. Its narrow fairways, tangly rough, plateau greens, and huge sculptured bunkers combine to make the Black Leopard, as the late designer A. W. Tillinghast lovingly called it, a vicious brute of a golf course.

Bethpage State Park Details:

Length6,825 m
Course Rating77.5
Slope Rating155

Bethpage State Park Green Fees:

18 Holes$38$43
9 Holes$23 $26

Palm Course, Saujana Golf Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Saujana Golf Club

The Palm Course at Saujana is so tough it’s been nicknamed “The Cobra” and its fangs have tested many of the world’s top golfers as it’s hosted six of the last 13 Malaysian Opens, a co-sanctioned European/Asian Tour event. Past winners include former world number one Vijay Singh. With jungle lining many fairways, and water and sand hazards in abundance, just getting to the green is a struggle.
But that’s when the real problems start because The Cobra’s super-fast, heavily undulating putting surfaces are probably the hardest to putt on in the world, including those at Augusta. Only great putters win at Saujana.

10 Best Golf Courses in Malaysia

Saujana Golf Course Details:

Length6,393 m
Course Rating75.1
Slope Rating142

Saujana Golf Green Fees on Deemples:

18 HolesRM550RM675

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club, Lijiang, Yunnan, China

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Club

The course is set at the bottom of a valley that faces the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain which is 5596 meters (18,360 ft.) high. You can enjoy mountain views from almost every place on the course. The course is situated at 3100 meters (10,800 ft.) above sea level, the second-highest in the world and the highest in Asia. It is 8548 yards long, which is the longest par 72 in the world.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Course Details:

Length8,454 m
Course Rating76.9
Slope Rating143

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Golf Green Fees:

18 HolesCNY 1050 (149 €)CNY 1280 (181 €)

Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, United States

Whistling Straits, Kohler Golf Course

Another Pete Dye-designed exercise in masochism, Whistling Straits is suitably located on the site of an abandoned artillery range on the shores of Lake Michigan. When current world No. 3 Lee Westwood first saw the course he said, “I’d been told there are 10 difficult holes and eight impossible ones. I’m still trying to work out which the 10 difficult holes are.” When Golf Digest magazine staffers visited the course they counted 967 bunkers. Yes, 967 bunkers on one course. That’s an average of almost 54 per hole. Some of them are so small that there’s barely room for a golfer and ball.

Whistling Straits Golf Course Details:

Length7,123 m
Course Rating77.2
Slope Rating152

Ko’olau Golf Club, Oahu, Hawaii, United States

Ko’olau Golf Club

Though not as tricky as our first two, Ko’olau is still a monster golf course. It is rated among the world’s top 10 toughest courses by experts. When it first opened officials gave the course a 162 rating for difficulty, but USGA headquarters wouldn’t accept this as the upper rating for the difficulty is 155. So they sent their own team out to Hawaii to rate the course. The result, is an even higher slope rating of 172. Since then the course has undergone alterations to make it easier to play (its slope is now 152) but fairways surrounded by Hawaiian jungle, over 80 deep bunkers, and six deep ravines make it a brute to play which is why it’s third on our list.

Ko’olau Golf Course Details:

Length6,684 m
Course Rating78.2
Slope Rating153

Ko’olau Golf Green Fees:

18 Holes$165 (156 €)$165 (156 €)

Carnoustie Golf Links, Dundee, Scotland

Carnoustie Golf Links

Carnoustie Golf Links is second on the list of the top ten toughest golf courses in the world. Measuring 7,421 yards, par-71 the course can play much longer when the wind whips in from the North Sea which it usually does. It is also the most difficult golf course in the world. Riddled with fiendish pot bunkers the course has even become part of a phrase in 21st-century warfare — the Carnoustie effect meaning the “psychic shock experienced on collision with reality by those whose expectations are founded on false assumptions.”

Carnoustie Golf Course Details:

Course Rating75.2
Slope Rating139

Carnoustie Golf Green Fees:

25th March to 30th April£192.00
1st May to 16th October£270.00
17th October to 31st October£192.00

The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, United States

The Ocean Course

Top on our list of 10 toughest golf courses in the world, has to be the Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course. It is one of the hardest golf courses in the world. Dye designs golf courses so difficult and torturous that he’s earned the nickname “The Marquis de Sod.” Nowhere is this more evident than at the Ocean Course. Capable of being played at over 7,900 yards from the back tees the course’s combination of huge sand dunes, thorny marshes, fiendish pot bunkers, and superslick greens will reduce even the game’s best to gibbering wrecks.

Ocean Course Details:

Course Rating77.3
Slope Rating144


If you have the opportunity to try out any one of these Top 10 Toughest Golf Courses in the World mentioned above; it will be absolutely exciting and a memorable experience. However, don’t be intimidated by the golf course and always play your best whilst improving your golf game. Cheers to more golf.

Common FAQs about Hardest golf courses in the world

What is the most difficult golf course in the world?

 The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, United States

What is the most difficult PGA course?

The Country Club

What’s the hardest golf course in the United States?

The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island / S.C. / 7,356 YARDS / PAR 72

Toughest Golf Courses in the World

Watch pros playing at the world’s toughest courses.