Just for fun, I decided to rank all 12 finishing holes in WGT. I tried to take as much historical contexts and scenery into consideration but mainly my own playing experience, since I don’t know that much about these holes. And let’s face it, how these holes play within WGT is vastly different than in real life.
So without further ado, let’s get to it:
1-Pebble Beach: any time you have a par 5 to finish it’s always exciting, and of all 12 holes, this gives you the best chance realistically to make eagle. That alone puts it at #1. Visually, it’s also one of the best in all of WGT. Every time I managed to make eagle here I felt very proud.
2-Chambers Bay: this hole gives you the second best chance at eagle, although you need a lot of help with the wind. I also like the fact that even with a good tailwind, you still need to execute if you want a chance for eagle because the pin is right in the middle of a bowl. Leave it short and you’re left with an awkward pitch; too long and that putt from the top shelf is no given to make par either.
3-Congressional: a beast of a par 4; plays shorter because it’s downhill but makes no mistake, the approach in my opinion is the best in all of WGT. What’s not to like? Water on 3 sides, and if you played safe and left your 2nd shot on the greens’ top shelf the downhill putt can be really nasty. This hole used to be #17 but was changed to be the finishing hole for the 2011 US Open. A very good decision that was.
4-Merion: an extremely beastly par 4, the only reason this hole is below Congressional is because with the back pin location it’s almost impossible to make birdie here. If you randomly got a strong headwind here? Good luck trying to make par. This hole is one of the very few holes in WGT that I have not been able to birdie ever since I advanced to Legend.
5-Erin Hills: the last of the finishing par 5s, this one is as long as they come. Yes, I’m placing this hole this high simply because of the excitement factor. Other than that, it plays quite straightforwardly. The emboldened players will try to play their second shots hugging the left side of the fairway to leave a wedge for their third shots. That’s the only major strategy for this hole that I can think of.
6-Olympic: a devilish little par 4, this hole can ruins your round in a hurry. It has the tiniest fairway in all of WGT, and you must find the fairway to be able to have any good chance for birdie. Even the second shot to an uphill greens is not as easy as it looks because it’s very easy to overshoot and leave your ball on the top shelf, which leaves an extremely awkward downhill putt. Again, every time I made birdie here I was very happy.
7-Wolf Creek: visually, it looks fantastic, and with the right wind you can drive this hole for an eagle chance. So why this low on the ranking? The answer is, I think it’s too gimmicky. Water on the left and front, bunkers on the right, and a souped-up tiered greens? It looks too contrived. Nevertheless, every time I play this hole it’s very exciting.
8-Kiawah Island: a rather average finishing hole, its only saving graces are its length and the back left pin location that’s only 3 yards from the fairway. Depending on the wind, it can be quite easy if you can cut the corner on the right side of the fairway or a real beast if you’re forced to play your approach from the left side.
9-Royal St Georges: quite easy compared to the other holes on the course. Only time you have to worry is with a tailwind because that brings the two fairway bunkers into play. Other than that, the only real trouble on the greens is the mini Valley of Sin on the left side. All in all, a middling finishing hole.
10-St Andrews: it oozes history, but just like in real life, in WGT it plays extremely easy. The only thing you need to worry about is the Valley of Sin; avoids it and you have a very good chance for a birdie. In fact I’d be disappointed if I don’t birdie this hole every time I played St Andrews. Fortunately I think WGT tried to combat this by building into their algorithms to give every players a 28-30 lateral wind every time they play this hole, I‘m pretty sure.
11-Bethpage Black: now I admit this hole plays vastly different in real life than in WGT. In real life, you stand on the tee box looking down at that sliver of green flanked by two huge seas of white sands, especially on Sunday at the US Open, and your knees just buckled. Here in WGT it’s just another downhill par 4 playing to an uphill greens, on a course that’s full of them. It’s a shame really.
12-Pinehurst: the vast majority of opinions among WGT players is that Pinehurst is a boring course, and this hole does absolutely nothing to change that view. Now I contend that Pinehurst does have its merits, but they’re nowhere to be seen on this hole. A forced carry over sand? Check. An approach to a right pin location that threatens to run off the greens? Check. Take out the clubhouse in the background and this hole looks exactly like many other holes on the course. There’s only one word to describe it: forgettable.
Well that’s it for the rankings. Who knows? Maybe I’ll rank the opening holes next