This article stemmed from a question I wanted to answer solely for myself: What are the toughest holes in professional disc golf?
There is no definitive answer for this question. But thanks to UDiscLive.com — which has charted hundreds (if not thousands) of pro events since 2016 — there is some data.
I went through all of those tournaments — specifically looking at the “course stats” tab for each round — and charted all of the holes that averaged at least +0.75 shots above par. Check out the full list of the hardest holes in professional disc golf here – https://discgolffanatic.com/what-are-the-hardest-holes-in-professional-disc-golf/
Once that was finished, I looked at both the “peak” difficulty of each hole, and the “volume” of evidence supporting that hole’s pedigree — as in, how many times did it crack that +0.75 mark? The more often it happened, the more evidence it has as to its true difficulty.
What I wound up with was a list of what I consider to be the toughest holes in professional disc golf over the last six-plus years. I have turned the most difficult 18 holes into a fantasy course that would surely bring even the greatest of players to their knees begging for mercy (seriously, even they are probably not breaking par on this course).
All I needed for this fantasy course was a name. I always thought the “Disc Side of Heaven” course in Jonesboro, Arkansas, was fantastically named (and also fittingly named in hindsight, as none of its holes made this list). So in a twist, I’m dubbing my fantasy course the “Disc Side of Hell”.
On this course, the first hole is the 18th-hardest, the second hole the 17th-hardest, and so on until we get to 18, which is the hardest. Hole numbers and distances are from the last pro round played on the course that was charted by UDiscLive. Without further ado!
Welcome to the DISC SIDE OF HELL
The Toughest Disc Golf Course In The World (Fantasy course)
Total length – 13,742 feet (4188 meters)
HOLE #1 — 656 feet (200 meters), PAR 4 – No. 17 @ Talin Frisbeegolfpuisto, Helsinki, Finland
Hole’s introduction video:
We begin with a hole that only appeared on UDiscLive earlier this month, in the Helsinki stop on the Prodigy Disc Pro Tour. Over three rounds, this hole averaged +0.68 shots over par, but it makes the cut as the starting hole of our “Disc Side of Hell” course largely because of the damage it did in the final round, averaging +1.20 shots over par.
The tee shot seems simple enough, a righty forehand or turnover drive into a relatively spacious fairway (though miss it and you’re taking a penalty stroke). The approach, to a small-ish “island” green on which the basket sits on a little crown, is the real challenge. And as you can imagine, this is one hole where the wind can play absolute havoc.
HOLE #2 — 870 feet (265 meters), PAR 5 – No. 18 @ Harmony Bends, Columbia, Missouri
The Mid-America Open is a somewhat-overlooked tournament, but one of its primary courses — Harmony Bends — is a brute of a test. This will not be its only appearance in my “Disc Side of Hell.”
The finishing hole of the course is one of its toughest, averaging anywhere from +0.81 to +1.16 shots over par in the four rounds it was played in the 2019 and 2020 Mid-America Opens. The tee shot is scenic but scary, a straight and tight woods shot that must be kept low to avoid the ceiling, with a creek on the left waiting to snatch errant tosses. On the second shot, there’s a conservative (which is my way of avoiding the word “safe” because that doesn’t exist on this hole) option on the right and a more aggressive option on the left, with eagle being possible.
It’s a gettable hole — 15 players birdied it in the 2020 second round, for example — but danger lurks everywhere.
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Hole #3 — 420 feet (128 meters), PAR 3 – No. 9 @ Maple Hill, Leicester, Massachusetts
After wreaking havoc from 2016 to 2018 — averaging at least +0.77 shots over par nine times, with a high of +1.05 — this hole got changed from a monstrous par 3 to a much tamer (but still tricky) par 4. Obviously it’s going back to a par 3 on the “Disc Side of Hell” layout, because I’m evil.
All that’s required of the tee shot is a 400-foot bomb (probably a slight turnover backhand for a righty) through pretty tight woods all the way down to an island green, with water lurking short and right. Honestly, you’d have to be half-insane to actually go for the green — the smarter play is to finish short of the water danger and jump putt to the green, hoping to perhaps cash in a long one.
My honest reaction after viewing the drone footage of this hole was, “No way there are 15 holes harder than this one.” Visually, I don’t think there are (I’d have this one up around the midway point instead of as the third hole of the round). But the numbers say this is where it lands.
HOLE #4 — 719 feet (219 meters), PAR 4 – No. 9 @ Emporia Country Club, Emporia, Kansas
This hole has played to different lengths over the last four years — ranging from 651 to 729 feet — but it’s always been one of the toughest par 4s around. Six times over the last three Glass Blown Open or Dynamic Discs Open events, the hole has averaged +0.77 shots over par or harder, capping out at +1.16 in the 2019 second round.
The tee shot is simply daunting. Low-hanging branches can swat down shots into the short out-of-bounds area. Avoid those, and you still have to find the tight fairway with OB looming all down the left side — and an almost-impossible drop zone (as far as scoring a par) awaits for all OB throws. Find the fairway, and you’re faced with a very tricky approach shot that swings hard right to a heavily-guarded green.
HOLE #5 — 468 feet (143 meters), PAR 3 – No. 18 @ Brazos Park East, Waco, Texas
The final hole of “The Beast” got changed from a 492-yard par 4 in 2019 — when it was the easiest or second-easiest hole on the course — to this par-3 bruiser in 2020. More than a few pros have probably uttered obscenities over it. Since the change, this closing hole has averaged +0.79 shots over par or more five times, with a peak of +1.21 in this year’s Waco final round.
Many don’t even attempt going for the green over the lake on the tee shot (especially if facing a headwind), opting for the safer layup on the left side and then crossing the pond. And even that play sometimes goes belly-up.
Bottom line — it takes a truly great shot to get a birdie on this hole, and it’s a lot easier to take a big number then it is to reap a reward.
HOLE #6 — 650 feet (197 meters), PAR 4 – No. 18 @ Idlewild, Burlington, Kentucky
From 2017 to 2019, Idlewild’s finishing hole averaged at least +0.75 shots over par seven times, with a +1.19 mark from the first round of 2017 being the hardest. This hole hasn’t been changed since 2019, the pros simply played it a little better in 2020 and 2021 — but that doesn’t make it easy by any means.
The tee shot is a dead straight woods tunnel shot, so anything going left or right is highly likely getting punished. Eventually, players get to throw out of the tunnel into the open field, but getting there is the challenge. The green also is protected by two large trees which you either have to go around or send something very low underneath.
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HOLE #7 — 765 feet (233 meters), PAR 4 – No. 18 @ Fox Run Meadows, Jeffersonville, Vermont
Six times over four events from 2018 to 2021 (three Green Mountain Championships and one PDGA Worlds), this hole averaged between +0.87 and +1.24 shots above par.
It isn’t visually intimidating — it’s an open hole with reasonable fairways — but it takes power to cover the distance, and accuracy to stay inbounds — which is no easy feat, especially if the wind picks up. Out-of-bounds penalty strokes can add up quickly.
HOLE #8 — 811 feet (247 meters), PAR 5 – No. 18 @ Hillcrest Farm, Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada
In the 2019 Canadian Championships commentary, Nate Sexton calls this hole “epic.” The tee shot certainly is, with a tightly wooded fairway going over a ravine to the landing zone. You do NOT want to be errant on that first throw. There are two routes to the green, one for forehands and one for backhands, but they are both tight and tough. The green also is sloped and rollaways are possible. To sum it up, this hole has a little of everything (except water … that might be a little too much).
This hole was played twice in both the 2018 and 2019 Canadian Championships, and it averaged anywhere from +0.78 to +1.22 shots over par. It yielded nine total birdies each year.
Hillcrest Farm is a beautiful course, and we are not done with it as far as the “Disc Side of Hell” fantasy course goes. I’d love to see a major played here someday.
HOLE #9 — 1,073 feet (327 meters), PAR 5 – No. 18 @ Valbyparken, Copenhagen, Denmark
This beast of a hole shows up in a UDiscLive-charted pro round exactly once, in the first round of the Copenhagen Open earlier this year, and it annihilated the field to the tune of +1.25 shots over par. Five of the 77 players in the field notched a birdie here. Many, many more took a double bogey or worse.
The tee shot requires hitting a tight initial gap to get out into the open fairway — failure to do this is pretty much instant death. Out of bounds areas tighten the fairway on the second and third shots, with a slightly elevated basket awaiting players on the green.
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HOLE #10 — 377 feet (115 meters), PAR 3 – No. 18 @ Sibbe, Soderkulla, Finland
A quick side note: I’m listing the distance as what UDiscLive has — the distance on the video says 377 feet. Whichever it really is, it’s tough.
This hole has been played twice in the Tynni tournament — in the 2019 and 2021 final rounds. It averaged +1.16 holes above par in 2019 and +1.24 shots above par two years later.
It’s a very standard and straightforward par 3 over water, except there also is out-of-bounds long and right of the basket. Throw a good shot and you’ll be rewarded. Throw an iffy one and pay the consequences. (And God forbid the wind get howling.)
HOLE #11 — 1,230 feet (375 meters), PAR 5 – No. 7 @ Fox Run Meadows, Jeffersonville, Vermont
As hellish disc golf holes go, this one isn’t really that intimidating. It’s open and the fairways are relatively wide — though the out-of-bounds awaits to punish any wide shots.
Here’s the thing: It’s long. Really long. Really, really long. The hole has been anywhere from 1,150 feet in 2016 to 1,275 feet in 2017. When you have to throw not one, not two, but three full-power shots to get to the basket — well, keeping each one straight and true becomes a real test.
Seven times over five different tournaments, this hole averaged +0.83 shots over par or harder, capping out at +1.25 in the Green Mountain second round in 2016. It’s certainly gettable for the world’s biggest throwers — but big, big numbers are always lurking.
HOLE #12 — 675 feet (206 meters), PAR 4 – No. 2 @ Harmony Bends, Columbia, Missouri
In four charted Mid-America Open rounds — three in 2019 and one in 2020 — this hole averaged between +0.95 and +1.33 shots over par. It’s another classic woods golf nightmare hole.
The tee shot is a straight tunnel shot up to the landing spot, where the hole takes a right turn. The approach shot might be the hardest in all of disc golf, another tight tunnel shot to a very narrow, side-sloping green that drops off sharply and quickly to the right, where out-of-bounds just waits to eat your score — and maybe your entire round — for lunch.
The hole gave up six total birdies over the three rounds in 2019, and only one in the only round it was played in 2020.
HOLE #13 — 893 feet (272 meters), PAR 5 – No. 14 @ Northwood Black, Morton, Illinois
As if the Northwood Gold layout wasn’t hard enough, in 2021 they tweaked the layout a little more and renamed it Northwood Black, probably for all the shiners it was going to dish out. This hole was an entirely new addition to the course, and it proved brutal, averaging +1.33 and +1.29 shots over par in the two Ledgestone rounds played on it, giving up a total of just seven birdies.
It starts with a typical Northwood tee shot, a straight woods tunnel shot with a landing zone that allows room for the slightest of hyzer finishes. The second shot calls for a hard hyzer or skip shot, and once you get in position for your third shot, the clean line to the basket is basically four feet wide, with all sorts of trees ready to swat your shot. At some point, almost every player has to scramble.
HOLE #14— 807 feet (246 meters), PAR 4 – No. 18 @ Keinukallio, Soderkulla, Finland
This hole has been played exactly once in a pro round charted by UDiscLive, in the second round of the 2018 Tynni tournament. It came in at an average of +1.37 shots above par. It’s a hidden gem.
Unfortunately there’s no video footage of it that I can find. The course hole image I found (from the course website) is for the regular hole. They lengthened it significantly for the tournament, and you can see how the out-of-bounds areas would be killer. It gave up eight birdies among 59 players, but many, many more took a double or worse.
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HOLE #15 — 891 feet (272 meters), PAR 5 – No. 14 @ Hillcrest Farm, Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada
This is another hole that I had never seen until I started doing the research for this endeavor. It’s a good one, a long, tight woods hole where players have to execute multiple shots cleanly in order to be rewarded. The first shot is a straight tunnel shot to a spot near the short tee pads, and if you go off the fairway early, it’s death. Then the fairway keeps turning right through the second half of the hole, and there’s a particularly nasty pinch point on the left side that can eat poor shots alive.
In the four pro rounds charted by UDiscLive — two in the 2018 Canadian Championships and two more in the 2019 edition — this hole averaged between +0.88 and +1.52 shots over par, with the +1.52 coming in the first round in 2018. That’s the highest single-round average any hole other than the No. 1 hole on this list has ever had.
HOLE #16 — 472 feet (144 meters), PAR 3 – No. 13 @ Idlewild, Burlington, Kentucky
This hole was changed to a par 4 starting in 2019, and that was probably the correct call given how nearly impossible it is to get the tee shot all the way to (or even near) the green. But this is the “Disc Side of Hell” fantasy course for a reason, and so it’s back to being a par 3.
This is the famous “Y tree” tee shot where players have to split the field goal-esque “uprights”. The hole then swings left, through a clearing and back into a plethora of trees, and an out-of-bounds creek bed protects the front side of the tight green. Most players will have to make a lengthy putt from well short of that creek bed to card a very (and I mean very) rare birdie.
In the six rounds played as a par 3 in 2017 and 2018, the hole averaged between +1.34 and +1.04 shots over par. It was relentless. In 2017 it yielded exactly one birdie — and that was one more than it gave up in 2018. Six rounds, one birdie. Even better, in the second round in 2018, it gave up only one par. It only gave up eight total pars in the entire 2018 tournament! Talk about brutal. And to think the poor saps playing this fantasy course still have two more holes to go.
HOLE #17 — 885 feet (270 meters), PAR 4 – No. 6 @ Lake Eureka, Eureka, Illinois
The pros are starting to sort of “figure” this beast of a hole out — in the last three pro rounds played, it hasn’t quite cracked the +0.75 shots above par threshold I compiled — but it remained over +0.50. From 2016 to 2019, it cracked the +0.75 shots above par average an amazing 12 times (tops on this list), averaging between +0.76 and +1.48 shots above par in those rounds. That includes two rounds in which it was a par 5 in 2016 (interestingly, one of those rounds had the +1.48 average!). It’s going to be a par 4 in the “Disc Side of Hell” layout, of course.
It’s a mostly open hole (and completely open on the tee shot), but it’s long, and especially on the approach, the out-of-bounds areas are just waiting to inflict punishment. Most players have to risk starting their approach backhands over the OB on the right side, hoping to hyzer it back in bounds. But a miss left, right or long will be severely punished. And if the wind blows? Try prayer.
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HOLE #18 — 1,050 feet (320 meters), PAR 5 – No. 12 @ Northwood Park, Morton, Illinois
Paul Ulibarri asked the question during his “Bushnell Hole Breakdown” during JomezPro coverage of the final round of the 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open: “Is hole 12 the hardest hole in the world?”
The UDiscLive statistics say yes, and it’s not even a contest. In the six pro rounds in which this hole has been played (two during 2019 PDGA Worlds, two each during the 2020 and 2021 Ledgestone events), it has averaged between +1.32 and +1.72 strokes over par.
It requires three truly special shots just to get a birdie look. The tee shot calls for a forehand or turnover backhand through tight woods into an equally tight landing zone, and the second shot is a straight tunnel shot requiring power and accuracy — and that’s just to have a chance to approach the basket on your third shot, which, while probably the easiest of the three throws, is no gimme. Play Army golf (left-right-left) on this hole at any point and you’re likely drawing dead for even a par.
Only 12 players have carded a birdie in those six pro rounds. There have been 38 nines and 15 tens carded. Clearly, it’s a fitting ending to the “Disc Side of Hell” fantasy course.
The “Disc Side of Hell” is without doubt the hardest fantasy disc golf course in the World!
It’s a par-75 monstrosity with a total length of 13,742 feet (4188 meters). For example, the 2021 USDGC Winthrop Arena – B layout is an ELITE level course and it was a mere par-66 with a total length of 9997 feet (3047 meters), almost ~30% shorter in length than the Disc Side of Hell course.
Average total results? On average an US touring professional male disc golf player would play +20 strokes over par (95 throws) on this monstrosity of a course. That’s how ludicrously hard and tough the Disc Side of Hell course would be!
Full list of holes at the toughest course in the World – Disc Side of HELL:
|Hole #||PAR||Hole length||Real life location||Average score over PAR|
|1||4||656 feet (200 meters)||No. 17 @ Talin Frisbeegolfpuisto, Helsinki, Finland||+0.94|
|2||5||870 feet (265 meters)||No. 18 @ Harmony Bends, Columbia, Missouri||+0.99|
|3||3||420 feet (128 meters)||No. 9 @ Maple Hill, Leicester, Massachusetts||+0.91|
|4||4||719 feet (219 meters)||No. 9 @ Emporia Country Club, Emporia, Kansas||+0.97|
|5||3||468 feet (143 meters)||No. 18 @ Brazos Park East, Waco, Texas||+1.00|
|6||4||650 feet (197 meters)||No. 18 @ Idlewild, Burlington, Kentucky||+0.97|
|7||4||765 feet (233 meters)||No. 18 @ Fox Run Meadows, Jeffersonville, Vermont||+1.06|
|8||5||811 feet (247 meters)||No. 18 @ Hillcrest Farm, Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada||+1.00|
|9||5||1,073 feet (327 meters)||No. 18 @ Valbyparken, Copenhagen, Denmark||+1.25|
|10||3||377 feet (115 meters)||No. 18 @ Sibbe, Soderkulla, Finland||+1.2|
|11||5||1,230 feet (375 meters)||No. 7 @ Fox Run Meadows, Jeffersonville, Vermont||+1.04|
|12||4||675 feet (206 meters)||No. 2 @ Harmony Bends, Columbia, Missouri||+1.14|
|13||5||893 feet (272 meters)||No. 14 @ Northwood Black, Morton, Illinois||+1.31|
|14||4||807 feet (187 meters)||No. 18 @ Keinukallio, Soderkulla, Finland||+1.37|
|15||5||891 feet (272 meters)||No. 14 @ Hillcrest Farm, Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada||+1.2|
|16||3||472 feet (144 meters)||No. 13 @ Idlewild, Burlington, Kentucky||+1.19|
|17||4||885 feet (270 meters)||No. 6 @ Lake Eureka, Eureka, Illinois||+1.12|
|18||5||1,050 feet (320 meters)||No. 12 @ Northwood Park, Morton, Illinois||+1.52|
|PAR - 75||LENGTH - 13,742 feet (4188 meters)||+20.18|
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