What Is a 'Signature Hole' on a Golf Course?

Cypress Point Country Club on the California coast
Looks like a 'signature hole' to us. Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

The "signature hole" at a golf course is the one hole that the course management has decided is most aesthetically pleasing and most photogenic - the standout golf hole, visually. Golfers might also describe a particular hole as a "signature hole" if they feel it is particularly striking or rates as the best hole at that course.

Signature Hole as Marketing Term

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

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 a golf course advertising like this: "Come play our course - it's so good we have eighteen signature holes!"

A More General (Less Commercial) Meaning

As noted, the term "signature hole" is often used by golf media and fans in a broader, or more general way. When you hear golf course personnel or developers or realtors - marketers in other words - using "signature hole," it's almost assuredly used in the marketing sense.

And when local golfers use the term in reference to a local golf course, it's because such marketing has been successful.

But when media or golf fans and golfers use the term to talk about nationally or internationally known golf courses - courses they might not have ever played - "signature hole" is another way of saying "one of the great holes in golf."