Image: Banff Springs, No. 4
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Named the Devil's Cauldron by famed Canadian architect Stanley Thompson, the fourth hole at Banff Springs drops some 70 feet from tee to green in the shadow of monolithic Mount Rundle, carrying a glacial pond in the process.
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updated 10/19/2006 4:20:06 PM ET 2006-10-19T20:20:06

There is no dearth of pretty places to play golf on this fair continent — not that a nice view necessarily helps your game. From Pebble Beach to Augusta, the most jaw-droppingly beautiful courses tend to generate the highest scores. Fortunately, pleasant surroundings can also help a high-handicapper forget the bad shots.

When we set out to compile a list of the most beautiful golf holes in North America, we sought out professionals who spend their days fashioning images of the world's greatest courses — namely golf course photographers. We polled some of the very best — all of these award-winning photographers contribute to the glossies on a regular basis.

Our list includes a few holes you're undoubtedly familiar with from coffee table books and equipment advertisements. The 13th hole at Augusta is certainly no stranger to best of lists. It's been immortalized in countless oil paintings and gauzy photographs; mere mention of "Azalea" is almost guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any golfer lucky enough to have played it.

Another hole that showed up on several photographers' lists is the shortish par 4 seventh hole at Fisher's Island Golf Club, just off the coast of New London, Connecticut. "With Latimer's Lighthouse and Long Island Sound in the background, it's a truly spectacular hole on one of the greatest places anywhere," Evan Schiller said.

The 13th hole at Pacific Dunes at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern coast of Oregon was another photographer's favorite. "It presents a dramatic setting along the cliffs of the Oregon coast, with naturally sculpted dune hazards and true links contours to compliment a very hazardous green," Lambrecht said. "It's one of the most beautiful holes I've ever played," chimed in Schiller.

Finally, a caveat: These are merely suggestions from professionals. No doubt hundreds of golf holes across North America are staggeringly beautiful, while thousands would qualify as downright pretty. We'll save the ugliest list for another day. Enjoy.

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