It is not possible to pick the 18 "toughest" golf holes in the Washington area. A hole that is extremely difficult for one golfer may be another linksman's piece of cake. The task is too subjective.
The 18 "best" of "most beautiful" holes? That too is a judgement call, unattainable.
So, let us settle for 18 "great" golf holes on local golf courses.
What defines a great golf hole?
Wheaton-based Eddie Ault, renowned golf course architect who has sculpted more than 300 courses, defines a great golf hole as "one that has sufficient character, interest and challenge that after you have parred it, you feel you have accomplished something.
"A hole with character is one that when you look at it, it is something that stands out, it has a distinguished air, proud. A thoroughbred race horse as compared to a farm horse, with a look of class.
"I want the golfer to have a desire to conquer the hole. When he makes a par he can't wait to get back and play it again.
A great golf hole should be inviting, reasonably difficult and unique or beautiful in some way that you will never forget it."
Here are 18 great golf holes, par is 71. The yardages are from the championship tees and the number of each hole corresponds with its actual course. If you are unable to break 100, you have a lot of company. If you shoot under 75, turn pro. CAPTION: Illustrations 1 and 2, no caption; Illustration 3, International Par 3,213 yards
An intimidating par 3 with a deeptrench bunker to the left of the green and woods and out of bounds immediately to the green's right. Using a long iron, a good player tries to carry the bunkers that almost commpletely cover the front of the green. A shot landing short of the green, on the crown between the traps, will almost invariably kick into the sand. A modest player might play short here and salvage par or bogey with one putt.; Illustration 4, Congressional Country Club Par 5, 602 Yards
The bones of sluggers trying to reach this monster in two blows are buried in the deep ravine in front of the green. The key here is placement. A good drive, a 2-4 iron second shot to a small landing area leaves a high lofted club for the money shot to a green surrounded by traps.; Illustration 5, Manor Country Club Par 4, 424 Yards
This is one of several back nine jewels at Manor. A "driving hole" where the perfect tee shot hugs the left side and clears the fairway traps. If the drive is pushed right, the second shot must clear a sand trap to the right front of the small green. Out of bounds stakes line the right side of the entire hole and also rear their ugly heads just over the green.; Illustration 6, Northwest Park Par 4, 454 Yards
One of several brutish holes on this Eddie Ault-built course, of which he said, "You could play the U.S. Open there next week." A straightway hole that is best played with a slightly hooked tee shot. You could get rich collecting a dime for all second shots that fail to clear the front bunker guarding the green, which slopes severely from back to front.; Illustration 7, Crofton Country Club Par 4, 485 Yards
This is not your basic fun hole after a relaxing midround snack. It's back to reality on this grueling right-to-left dogleg. Trees block out the second shot of a drive pulled left. A crushed drive still leaves a fairway wood or long iron approach shot to a green fronted by two traps.; Illustration 8, Norbeck Country Club Par 4, 402 Yards
A pretty par 4 with woods and a large tree on the left side of the fairway and forest lining the right side until it meets the huge lake that guards the large green. A well-struck drive leaves a middle-iron second shot to the green.; Illustration 9, Washington National Par 4, 384 Yards
What a strong opening hole should be, scenic and not overly difficult.
The tee shot must carry 200 yards over a lake. A decent drive leaves a short-to-middle-iron shot to a large green. Wrong club selection to the 100 foot-deep putting surface could leave a monstrous putt.; Illustration 10, Argyle Country Club Par 4, 460 Yards
A slight dogleg left from an elevated tee. The hole varies slightly depending on which of two greens are in use. The drive should be a slight draw, favoring the right side (a drive left is blocked out by a line of trees). A good drive leaves a medium to long iron second shot to greens trapped on both sides (green on left is hour-glass shaped, green on right is circular and smaller.; Illustration 11, Chevy Chase Club Par 4, 425 Yards
An easy hole if one can hit a 270 yard drive that avoids fairway bunkers on the left and the apple orchard on the right. The drive should favor the right side for a long-iron approach to a double-tiered, tricky green.; Illustration 12, Germantown Country Club Par 4, 396 Yards
If you can make it through the suffocatingly tight back nine at Germantown without losing a golf ball or your mind, a hacker you're not.
The brave cut this dogleg left by driving over a creek and trees on the left side. The more prudent favor the more-open right side and have anywhere from a seven-to-three-iron to an elevated well-trapped green.; Illustration 13, Kenwood Club Par 3, 218 Yards
A brutal par 3 requiring a fairway wood or long-iron tee shot to a small, well-trapped green with an out of bounds fence to the right. Members often play short with their opening shot, chip up and pray for a one-putt par.; Illustration 14, Burning Tree Club Par 4, 413 Yards
Good placement of the tee shot, with a fairway wood or long iron, is essential here. The drive must clear a ditch running across the fairway and hug left side of the fairway in order to have a good second shot with a middle iron to an undulating green guarded by three bunkers.; Illustration 15, Laytonsville Public Course Par 5, 492 Yards
Overcoming the fear of hitting an errant tee shot on this narrow, tree-lined hole is the main obstacle on this par 5 that doglegs slightly from right to left.
The stout of heart take out a driver and whale away, hoping to avoid the woods, a pond on the left and a creek in the middle. A more conservative approach is to hit long irons for the first and second shots, which leaves a lofted club for the third shot to a small green.; Illustration 16, Belle Haven Country Club Par 3, 182 Yards
A two-to five-iron is the club selection for this picture postcard par 3 over a lake. This is what a good par 3 should be; picturesque but short enough for a precision iron shot, rather than a bashed wood.; Illustration 17, Bethesda Country Club Par 4, 434 Yards
A straightaway, slightly uphill, woodlined par 4. A big drive leaves a middle-iron second shot to a large flat green with two sand traps to the right and one to the left.; Illustration 18, Indian Spring Country Club Par 4, 472 Yards
When they played the Carling Open here in 1963, the PGA pros complained they could not reach the opening of this dogleg right with their tee shots. The drive must be hammered about 265 yards to get past the 60-foot tree line on the right, for a clear iron shot to the elevated green. You are not home free when you reach the putting surface, because the green slopes right to left and sharply from back to front.; Illustration 19, Woodmont Country Club South Course, Par. 4, 447 Yards
This is a classic right-to-left dogleg with forest on the left and a catch-all fairway trap on the right. The perfect drive is a draw with extra roll obtained by hitting the fairway downslope. That still presents the golfer with a lengthy second shot to a trapped, flat green.; Illustration 20, Columbia Country Club Par 4, 412 Yards
A classic finishing hole because it tests the nerves and steadiness of the golfer, with woods and out of bounds on the left, pines on the right, and fairway traps on both sides.
A long drive leaves a 3-5 iron to a monstrous slightly elevated green. Now you are at the mercy of the pin placement, which can be on a knoll to the rear of the green, or behind bunkers guarding the front.