At the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, players know they'll have to tangle with the Horrible Horseshoe, and it can make or break their round. It's the defining and closing stretch at the club Ben Hogan made famous.
The Horrible Horseshoe isn't another gimmicky three-hole stretch. That's not the case. These are very good golf holes, so let's look at them.
The Horrible Horseshoe, part of the course designed by Perry Maxwell and opened in 1941, is the three-hole stretch comprising holes 3, 4 and 5, meaning players face the challenge quickly into their rounds.
The Horrible Horseshoe at Colonial Country Club
The Horrible Horseshoe got its name because the stretch is shaped like a U, or like a horseshoe. Horrible is alliterative, illustrating the difficulty of the stretch.
The Horrible Horseshoe starts with the third hole, a long dogleg left par 4 at 483 yards. The player needs to his an aggressive-yet-accurate tee shot to leave less than a long iron into the green. Otherwise, a lay up to find the fairway requires a bold second shot with a longer iron.
The fourth hole is a 247-yard par 3, playing to a raised green. Even with modern equipment, that's a demanding long iron, hybrid or fairway wood for a professional golfer. Hitting the green does not necessarily mean making a par.
The final part of the Horrible Horseshoe is also the hardest hole on the golf course. The fifth hole is a 481-yard par 4 with doglegs to the right. A tee shot lost to the right could be in deep trouble and a lost ball. Shots lost to the left make the approach incredibly long and difficult.
Last year, the Horrible Horseshoe played 284 over par at the Charles Schwab Challenge, marking the toughest three-hole stretch on the PGA Tour.