Play Two of the World’s Longest Golf Holes

Play Two of the World’s Longest Golf Holes

18th hole at Farmstead Golf Links in Calabash

So you’ve invested in that latest and greatest, state-of-the-art driver to add a few more crucial yards to your game, and now you’re looking for a test. Well, there are a couple of holes in North Carolina where you’ll get your money’s worth because you may need to hit the big dog twice since you have to cover 700-plus yards. Either that, or figure out some other way to grind out a par, which by the way, is six.

The finishing hole at Farmstead Golf Links, situated near the seafood capital of Calabash, is a legitimate 767-yard monster that currently ranks as the fourth longest in the world. This brute straddles the state line of South Carolina and North Carolina, so you tee off in the former and finish in the latter, generally with a sigh of relief and a look back down the fairway to see if you can actually see the tee box.

That backward glance also takes in the water, trees and foreboding bunker that guard the dogleg, and give cutting the corner a very high risk / reward factor. A smaller bunker fronts the wickedly undulating green, which is not exponentially as large as one would like considering the formidable length of the hole. Anything left and long of the green just may trundle down the slope into a watery grave, possibly to the amusement of those enjoying a beverage on the veranda of the stately clubhouse. If it’s any consolation, your initial tee shot has a very generous area in which to land, with only a trio of smallish bunkers to concern you.

But lest you think this mammoth test is simply fearsome, take comfort in the fact that Golf Digest selected Farmstead’s 18th for its “Top 18 Most Fun Holes in America,” placing it in the company of the famous island green at TPC Sawgrass. Not to mention that Farmstead possesses 17 other darn good holes to challenge and amuse you as you move toward the big finish. As a result, Farmstead remains a perennial favorite of players heading to the Brunswick Islands, known as North Carolina’s “Golf Coast.”

Then there’s the fearsome 17th hole in the shadow of the Great Smokies at Black Mountain Golf Course. Once the longest hole in the United States (now a respectable fifth at 747 yards), figure on four shots to get home since positioning is more important than you’d imagine on something of this magnitude. However, take heart since there actually have been three rare double-eagles recorded.

Yes, this is North Carolina mountain golf, so it’s appropriately downhill from the tee, but the fairway is narrow with encroaching trees on the right. And then it slopes left toward a meandering creek, making placement critical to hit the small, slightly crowned green where you hope to get up and down, and done.

That style of green reflects the heritage of this muni that is beloved by local residents and the many visiting golfers who head to the hills every year. The course was opened in 1929 as a nine-hole layout bearing the hand of master designer Donald Ross, renowned for his creation of Pinehurst No. 2 (which, incidentally, will host the U.S. Open Championships for both men and women in 2014). Ross also was the creator of the nearby Asheville municipal course, another local favorite. The Black Mountain course was turned into an 18-holer when the back side, laid out by Ross Taylor, was opened in 1962. It’s not long – except for the 17th – at just over 6,200 yards, but there’s enough up and down to present plenty of challenge. The town of Black Mountain values its course, and has turned its operation over to Billy Casper’s management company for care and enhancement.

Regardless of which green behemoth you take on, you will be able to pose this unusual question: “Did you go for that last par 5 in three?”

Gary Carter (photo courtesy of Farmstead Golf Links)

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