What Is the 'Signature Hole' at a Golf Course?

The term "signature hole" is heard often in the golf world, used both by rank-and-file golfers and by those who are in the business of golf (golf course managers, developers, realtors, marketers). The meaning of the term is a bit different depending on which of those two camps is using it. But, in general, "signature hole" refers to a golf course's best or most-memorable hole.

When golfers, fans or golf media use the term, we are referring to one specific hole on a golf course, and singling out that hole as a special one — the best one, the most memorable one, the prettiest one, perhaps all of those things. How does such a hole become known as a "signature hole"? By word of mouth, by reputation — through golfers talking about and media writing or broadcasting about it. The island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is a "signature hole," a hole that stands out in the memory after one plays the course, and that comes to stand for the entire course in the popular perception of that golf course.

Or think of it this way: A signature hole is a hole deemed so impressive that the designer of that hole would happily sign his or her name to it.

And then there's the marketing end of signature holes. The term used to be applied sparingly, with only a handful of holes in the golf world becoming popularly known as signature holes. Today, though, just about every new golf course that opens trumpets its self-declared signature hole.

The term "signature hole" is, often, nothing more than a marketing term, although it's been adopted by golf media and fans.

Such a signature hole may or may not be representative of the golf course as a whole, but because it is so pretty or dramatic it is the hole featured in the golf course's advertising and marketing efforts. And since that becomes the hole area golfers are most familiar with, the signature hole then gets talked about by golf media and fans.

Some courses go even farther these days and claim two signature holes. As in: "Our course is so good, we couldn't pick just one!" We can probably expect soon enough to see golf course advertising like this: "Come play our course — it's so good we have eighteen signature holes!"

Related terms:

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