While writing the preview for the Northern Trust Open the other day, I needed to get a picture of the 6th hole at Riviera to show the bunker in the middle of the green. Not unreasonably, I typed “6th hole at Riviera” into Google so I could download and use a picture that someone else took.
But I noticed that after I typed in “6th hole at”, Google autocomplete kicked into action. Besides “6th hole at Riviera,” Google thought I could be searching for the “6th hole at Pebble Beach”, or the “6th hole at Augusta”, or the “6th hole at Eyemouth” (whatever that place is), or maybe even “the 6th hole at Bay Hill”.
Sensing a pattern, I figured I could turn Google autocompleting into an article. So I searched on Google, “Xth hole at” for each number 1 through 18. Then I copied the results from the top 4 or 5 auto populated answers, and picked a courses for each number and figured out why they’re so heavily searched! And thus your article was born.
A few I found overall before we get to the list / pictures:
- Augusta was on the list for 16 of the 18 holes (apparently 17 and 18 are at Augusta are trash), Pebble Beach was next being mentioned in 11 holes, and then St. Andrews was third with 10 mentions (though I actually don’t talk about any hole at St. Andrews. Sorry). Those are some of the most famous courses in the world and would probably be on the list just normally.
- Holy crap the par 3s over water. Seems like every other number has a hole that’s a par 3 over water. We get it, water is pretty and it makes the hole tougher.
- Redan style greens! Look at the 4th and 7th holes for an explanation.
- There are a few holes that were autocompleted that don’t seem impressive enough for that honor. After looking them up, they seemed decently standard. Wondering if there’s a story behind it that I don’t understand.
- Oh, and there are some references to non golf holes that got in the autocomplete kind of randomly
Keep in mind I’m not implying that Google knows the best holes for each number – I just thought it would be fun to see which holes Google thought golf fans would be searching for.
Your milage may very if you try this experiment yourself. Both location and timing make a difference in the Google autocompletes. Sure, Pebble is ridiculously famous, but this week was also the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, so numbers could be skewed a little by its current relevance. Also, it’s the 20th anniversary of Happy Gilmore!
You should also be happy that I didn’t name this article, “18 holes Google thinks you’re searching for”. I thought about it, but clickbait is worse missing a 3 footer for birdie.
Take a look.
1st hole at
Augusta, Doral, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Chambers Bay
Ok fine, this is kind of a boring start, but really none of these holes are interesting! Doral and Chambers Bay seem only to be in the list because of odd search engine errors. If you search “1st hole at Doral” and look at the images, you won’t see any pictures of the first hole. Same issue with Chambers Bay.
I’ll just give put in a picture of Jack Nicklaus teeing off as an honorary starter and move on to second holes.
2nd hole at
Augusta, The Masters, Isleworth, Pebble Beach, Wentworth
Isleworth! Didn’t know about this hole before, but a 239 yard par 3 with a ridiculously narrow stretch to the green. Take a look at the picture from Ben An to see what I mean.
Here’s another, clearer image for good measure.
3rd hole at
Augusta, Pebble Beach, Mauna Kea, Oakmont
Hey I actually played the 3rd at Mauna Kea and took a picture! I don’t have to steal an image of this one! Please excuse the bad lighting.
The 3rd at Mauna Kea is a long, 250something yard par three over the Pacific Ocean.
Oakmont is on the list because the 3rd hole has those famous church pew bunkers. US Open’s there this year, so everyone reading GOTM will get more of a preview then.
4th hole at
Augusta, St. Andrews, National Golf Links, The Masters, Baltusrol
National Golf Links will get the nod here. The 4th hole is a version of the Redan, a par 3 with a green that slopes front to back and right to left, with a bunker guarding the left part of the green. I talked about Redan holes back in the Sony Open preview. Also remember this hole when we get to the hole number 7s…
I’ll throw in a mention to Baltusrol here as well, because this picture from their website is really pretty. A par 3 that’s gone through a bunch of changes throughout the years. Take a look at this page that describes the changes.
5th hole at
Augusta, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Augusta National, Merion
I’ll go with Merion for this one, since the others are relatively standard, although I’m still not sure after looking around if it’s that cool. A 418 yard par 4 with a giant sloping fairway to the left, and uphill all the way. Sure the picture is cool, but don’t know if it deserves to be on the top of the google list here. If anyone out there cares to explain this anomaly, let me know!
I think if I ever design a golf course, I’m going to make the 5th hole the signature hole on the course so I can top this list.
6th hole at
Riviera, Pebble Beach, Augusta, Eyemouth, Bay Hill
The inspiration for this article, the 6th hole at Riviera with the bunker in the middle of the green. Check out the preview for the NTO for more info on the 6th.
Pebble should get a shoutout here, with the 6th hole being this split level par 5.
Also Eyemouth, never heard of it before seeing it pop up on the 6 list. But apparently it’s a club in Scotland, and the 6th hole is, wait for it, a par three over the ocean. Seems to be a common theme on this list. In the picture below, the tee is on the right, green on the left across all those rocks.
Might as well throw Bay Hill in here too, where the 6th is a long par 5 around a lake which offers shorter shots in the more water you cut off. Also, apparently when it was really downwind, Bubba went for the green and hit it over in 1.
7th hole at
Pebble Beach, Valhalla, Augusta, Shinnecock, St. Andrews
Pebble absolutely deserves to be first on the list of great 7th holes. I don’t have to explain what the hole looks like cause you already know. But if you don’t, here’s a tiny picture that doesn’t do the scenery justice.
As for Valhalla, the 7th hole is a long, 600 yard par 5 with an island fairway to the left which makes the hole much shorter, but has another fairway to the right that’s a much safer play. But for real, power lines? Not gonna lie, that does make the hole less interesting.
7th at Shinnecock is a fun one to mention too especially after that spoiler from the 4th. The hole itself is a 194 yard par 3, with a green sloping away, which means another Redan hole! Given that Shinnecock is close to National Golf Links, there’s been some controversy over which is “better”.
But it’s also notable from what happened during the 2004 US Open that was held there, where the green became so hard and dried out that people couldn’t hit the green at all. The third round, Phil had a 10 footer downhill and ended up with a 15 foot comebacker (that he missed). Frankly, he was lucky that the ball stopped only 15 feet away. The USGA realized something was wrong at that point, and stopped play during the round to water the green to hopefully make it slightly more holdable, but to no avail.
8th hole at
Pebble Beach, Royal Troon, Augusta, St. Andrews, Oakmont
Final hole on the Pebble train, but the 8th is something special. A par 4 that’s X yards long, but you only have X yards until the fairway falls off over a hundred feet into the ocean. The second shot being downhill over the water to a tiny green. Really unique hole.
As for Troon, I didn’t know what the 8th hole was until I looked it up specifically, but it’s the Postage Stamp hole! Only 123 yards long, but the tiny sized green (only a little larger than a stamp) and usual high winds make it tough.
9th hole at
9, 9 happy gilmore, Chambers Bay, Augusta, Turnberry
I’ll admit it took me a solid 5 seconds to figure out what 9th hole at 9 was referring to. Then again, it’s the 9th green at 9, but I’ll give the people googling that a break. And it’s the 20th anniversary of the movie! So this goes on the list of searches that might be time related.
As for the other mentions, Chambers Bay is just a giant downhill par 3, while the 9th at Turnberry is a par 4 along the ocean that looks really cool, so it gets a picture here.
10th hole at
The Belfry, The Brabazon, Riviera, Augusta, Doral
The Brabazon course at the Belfry is a course in England that gets mention for hosting tons of Ryder Cups. And even though it hasn’t hosted a Cup since 2002, I remember the 10th hole. It’s this drivable par 4 with a river that runs up to a narrow green.
Given that the green looks so small, it’s important to note that the hole plays at around 311 yards, and in tournament play they can move the tees up. If you get to a point where it’s a 275 yard shot, then you really start to wonder why you’d lay up. Also take a look at this old video and some of the older players going for the green. You can ignore the random amateur at the end, but the video will give you a better view on what the hole looks like from the tee.
Also relevant this week is the 10th hole at Riviera. Another drivable par 4, and a hole that will get a lot of attention this week. Talked about in the preview, so I’ll defer the explanation to that.
As for the 10th hole at Doral, it’s just a giant par 5 around a lake, similar to the 6th at Bay Hill, which I also couldn’t find a good picture of. Odd.
11th hole at
St. Andrews, Augusta National, Augusta, the Masters, Ballybunion
With Augusta National claiming 3 of the 5 autocompletes for the 11th hole, I guess I actually have to start talking about it! The 11th hole is the start of Amen Corner, a par 4 over 500 yards. The tee shot is hit semi-blind to the top of a hill. When you get to the top, it’s down hill around a lake. Really tough hole considering the length first off, and second because it’s tough to get it close to the hole when it’s anywhere on the left side of the green.
I’m also a big fan of the 11th because it’s the first hole of the day where I can watch guys on the Master’s stream! On Thursday and Friday, I’ll sit and wait for that first group to get to their second shots at 11, and then I know I’ll be able to watch golf the rest of the day.
As for the 11th at Ballybunion, we have a cool little par three on the ocean.
12th hole at
Augusta, Augusta National, Augusta wallpaper, St. Andrews, the Masters
Second hole in the Amen Corner triplets, the 12th hole at Augusta National is easily up there in terms of most recognizable holes in all of golf. Slight downhill par 3 with a small green guarded by a creek that eats golf balls like I eat Oreos. There is a single best 12th hole in the world, and this is it.
13th hole at
Augusta, Augusta National, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Valhalla
Gotta finish off Amen Corner here with the 13th hole at Augusta. A par 5 dogleg left with Rae’s creek which guards the front of the green. Obviously I haven’t played the hole myself, but I did play a replica course that had this hole on it. But I didn’t realize this hole was replicated until I looked after. Cleary it was a crappy replica course.
Also in 13th hole history, Remember when Phil hit this amazing second shot from in the trees to 4 feet on this hole during the 2010 Masters, and then whiffed on the putt? Classic Phil.
Valhalla is an interesting 13th hole here too. A short par 4 with an elevated island green that requires a good second shot or you’re in the water. As is usually the case with island greens.
14th hole at
Augusta, Coeur d’Alene, St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Oak Hill
Coeur d’What? Yup, we’re going to Idaho for what turns out to be a floating green where you have to take a boat to get to the green. 218 yards from the tips, the green is decently large, but sure looks small out in the water.
15th hole at
Augusta, Cypress Point, Muirfield, the Masters, Oak Hill
The start of another three hole stretch on the same course, this time, Cypress Point. Cause everyone loves par 3s over water. When you play Cypress, you spend your entire round waiting to see the ocean. With the first 14 holes up in the woods, and in the dunes, you know the ocean is coming. And then you get to the 15th. Just gorgeous.
16th hole at
Cypress Point, Augusta, Port Royal, Phoenix Open, TPC Scottsdale
Cypress is the easy winner here, too. As strange as back to back par 3s are, the 16th hole is an icon in the world of golf. 230 yards over the ocean, with a layup area short and left of the green. There are so many pictures of this hole online, I spent so long just looking at them and trying to pick the best one. But it’s really tough to get a full sense of the hole from a tiny picture.
Port Royal is the course in Bermuda where they play the PGA Grand Slam of golf, and is yet another par 3 over the water.
And we all know about 16 at TPC Scottsdale. The 2016 GOTM preview goes over that hole.
17th hole at
Sawgrass, Cypress Point, Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, TPC Sawgrass wallpaper
Time for the hat trick for Cypress! And yeah I’m talking Cypress before Sawgrass. Y’all can deal. The 17th tee is off on the island that 16 green is on, and you’re teeing off over the water, to a fairway that’s decently large. Hug the right side of the hole closer to the water and you’ll have a better angle and shorter shot to the green. It’s such a unique par 4 with how much room there is all around. It’d be a really cool hole even without the ocean, which isn’t something you could say for most of these water holes.
And then yes, we get to the 17th at Sawgrass. Not floating like Coeur d’Alene, but one of the original island greens. Famous for being an afterthought. The story goes that Pete Dye used all the dirt from around the 17th green building mounds on the rest of the course. When he couldn’t figure out what to do with the 17th, his wife Alice suggested the island green. Yeah it’s gimmicky, but damn if that ending at last year’s Players wasn’t fantastic when Fowler and Kisner stuffed it on the last playoff hole. Definitely adds drama.
Also interesting to note that St. Andrews got shut out here. After being mentioned for pretty much every other hole on this list, Sawgrass shut it out. When I’d say the 17th hole at St. Andrews is the most famous there. Too bad so sad.
18th hole at
Pebble Beach, Inverrary, Hagarstown, Kapalua, St. Andrews
Pebble deserves this one, with a dogleg left par 5 around the water. Exactly the kind of finishing hole you’re looking for at Pebble. Also the scene of some drama this past Sunday when Phil couldn’t get up and down from the front of the green to force a playoff. Brutal for Phil, but fantastic story for Vaughn Taylor who got his status back on Tour, and gets to play in the Masters again.
I’ll give Kapalua a mention here too; being a 663 yard par 5 that is still reachable in two is worthing showing. Kapalua is the site of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions every year, and also often the site of exciting finishes.
Now Inverrary and Hagarstown being on the list is a credit to SEO and all its power. Inverrary is a condo association in Florida, and Hagarstown refers to a line a heckler said to Louis CK. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because it doesn’t really make sense to anybody. Apparently, to a Quora answer to this question (yup someone asked on Quora), saying someone looks like the 18th hole at Hagarstown means you think they’re ugly. Either way, really impressive SEO from those people.
And that’s it!