The Lakes Longest Golf Holes

Paul Leahy
Osage National hole No. 8 on the Mountain Course.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a tour player? Hitting drives 300-plus yards, hitting wedge from 170, and shooting 65 like you’re playing miniature golf. You may never hit it like a tour player but you can experience the length of the average holes on the PGA tour by playing some of the Lake’s longest holes the next time you visit.  

My mantra has always been “Play it Forward” and play the tee that is appropriate for the distance of your average drive, but next time you play one of these courses maybe, just maybe play these holes from the tips to see how good these professionals are that you watch on television every week.  

The Lake’s longest course from its tips is Osage National from the Palmer Tees. The Mountain/River combination comes in at 7,149 yards in length and the Mountain/Links combination comes in at a staggering 7,165 yards, easily outdistancing The Club at Porto Cima’s length of 7,036 yards from its back tees. Conversely the shortest course to call the Lake home is Indian Rock Golf Club measuring 6,427 yards, followed closely by the Oaks at Margaritaville Lake Resort at 6,432 yards. Let’s take a look at some of the longest holes in detail.

The longest Par-4 at the Lake was an obvious choice, I thought. I figured hole 18 at the Club at Porto Cima, measuring 461 yards, had to be longest at the Lake, but I was wrong. Playing 484 yards at its maximum, hole number 8 on the Mountain Course at Osage National Resort tops this list. This demanding tee shot requires precise accuracy and tremendous length off the tee. Play is dramatically downhill on the second shot to a huge green, which is easily 50 plus yards from front to back. If you are blessed to hit the fairway you are treated to one of the best panoramic views you will find at any course, anywhere. If 484 yards wasn’t enough, to make it a bit more challenging, the tee ball is technically blind. You can’t see the fairway and you must trust your aim as you hit toward the trees in the foreground that frame the hole, hoping to get a favorable bounce left on this left to right dogleg. Arnold knew what he was doing when he designed this gem, making this a signature hole at Osage National. Even if you’re not playing from this tee, take a minute and walk out to see the view or lack of from the tips on this great hole.  

Let’s take a look at the par-3s. Once again I penciled in the famous 4th hole at the Cove, known as “Witches Cove,” to be the longest playing at 227 yards. This time I not only missed but this hole came in a distant third behind the 7th hole at Lake Valley Country Club measuring 228 yards. The winner, measuring a staggering 239 yards, is hole number 8 at the Golf Club at Deer Chase. To make matters worse, this monster par-3 plays 239 yards uphill making it feel like you have to fly the ball 250 yards-plus just to make it green high. Depending on where the pin is situated it could play an additional 20 yards further if the pin is located back of center. They have multiple tee boxes on this hole so thankfully the tees are not there very often, but I have hit my share of drivers here. If you want to feel like you’re playing on tour with the pros, play those driveable par 4s well here’s your chance … play this par 3 like a par 4 and swing away. I bet you make more 4s than 3s.  

You might be thinking the 559 yard 14th at the Club at Old Kinderhook or the 561 yard 3rd hole at Oaks at Margaritaville would top the list of longest par-5s but you would be wrong.  

We once again head to Osage National and look at number 9 on the River Course, measuring 626 yards. R&A figures report the average driving distance for a male amateur to be 215 yards and male amateurs with handicaps of five or below only average 240 yards, so this hole will be a lot to handle. Taking those figures into consideration, the average male amateur would have 411 yards into the green for his second, and after the third if he were fortunate, he would still have over 200 yards to the green. Now you think of tour pros where the longest hitters would be challenging this hole in two makes you understand just how good they are. To make matters worse there is trouble right and left off the tee, and the fairway narrows considerably by the green leaving you a very small area to run ball onto the green. The green is easily 40 to 50 yards deep with a large hump in the middle separating the two tiers of this green, making this a very demanding hole no matter what tee you decide to play.  

I am not an advocate for playing golf from its farthest point as I want golf to be as fun, enjoyable and as fast as possible. When I got to move up to the senior tees I took full advantage and my score has reflected it by having a lot more scoring opportunities instead of putts for par. Looking at the length of some of these holes and the scores they post on a weekly basis on tour will give you an idea of how good they really are. If you look at the yardage at most tour events at well over 7,000 yards and the Mountain/Links coming in at 7,165 yards it would probably rank toward the bottom for total length of courses that are played.

It is a challenge to try to play from this yardage to see how you stack up, but I guarantee you will have more fun playing the tees that are suited for you. Here’s to making more birdies and less X’s by “Playing it Forward.”