LINKS Magazine: 10 U.S. Golf Holes with the Most “Water Balls”

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“Who among us hasn’t stepped up to a take a shot, made a quick hazard assessment after surveying the landscape (or waterscape) in front of them, and then pulled a different ball out of our golf bag to play? And how often did that beat-up ball we resigned to losing end up in a watery grave?

I know this example of negative visualization wasn’t just me.

Water hazards are an inescapable part of golf. At one time or another, we’ve all ended up in a pond, lake, creek, brook, river, stream, burn, sea, or ocean. So, which holes at U.S. courses have swallowed the most wayward shots from recreational golfers thanks to intimidating or overprotective bodies of water? For the sake of this wholly inexact exercise, I focused primarily on holes at public resort courses that get a lot of play from regular golfers, not the challenging but relatively low-volume par threes at exclusive clubs like the 12th at Augusta National protected by Rae’s Creek or the long 16th at Cypress Point that plays over the crashing waves of the Pacific.

Here are 10 top examples, many from states where golf can be played—and balls lost—year-round.”

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club—18th hole (Pawleys Island, S.C.)

The closing hole at this Mike Strantz masterpiece isn’t especially long, but it’s among the most anxiety-inducing finishers on the Hammock Coast. A precise yardage off the tee is critical to setting up the forced carry approach over water on this par four. And for added stress, there’s almost always a gallery on the clubhouse deck overlooking the 18th green that is watching (and occasionally vociferously judging) incoming shots—a fair share of them wayward.

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