If you’re old and feeble like me, you will love to play par 3 golf courses. If you can hit your 7 iron farther than your driver, you will love a par three course. If you just like sticking a green within one shot, you will love them. In other words, if you enjoy the art and finesse of your short range game, you should give a par 3 course a try!
On your typical par 72 golf course, you will usually have a total of four par threes. There are usually two on the front 9 and two of them on the back 9. In between the short game fun, you usually have a total of four par 5’s and nine par 4’s. For those of us that are too old to be good or too young to hit it like a gorilla, those long holes are the basis of our nightmares! We will play them, because we have to, but all of the fun comes into play when we get with 200 yards (or really 150) of the hole.
Of course a lot of us love these par 3 courses for these reasons: we can’t hit it far and we like close shots. There’s another reason to play them though. The fact is that if you can hit the green and drop the ball in 2 to 3 shots, you can play with pretty much anyone. If you have the finesse and touch required when you get close to the hole, you can beat your average gorilla golfer.
The greatest example of this was my grandpa. When he was around 70 years old I had the chance to play with him and two other friends. We were 50 years younger than him, and in really good shape, but the old guy smoked us. How did he do it? When he got within 150 yards or so, you could pretty much count on him sinking the ball within 2 shots. When he made a mistake, he got it within three. He just never missed his chip shots, and he almost always got close enough to one putt! We may have been hitting our drives 50 yards past his, but he would just laugh at us. When we were on our third chip shot, he had a grin on his face knowing that we could never beat him.
How did he get this feel of the short game? He played A LOT of par threes! At his home course he could do anything he wanted really. There were two par threes that were close enough to each other that he could easily walk back and forth to them. When he got to that spot in his round he would just play those two holes over and over. He said his record was 25 times in a row (that’s 25 x 2 = 50). He loved it, and his skills up close showed that he spent a whole lot of time on his approach and putt game.
If you want to play a long and hard round (like Shadow Creek!), these are not for you. If you want a leisurely stroll, where you get to practice extreme accuracy over and over, you may just find that par 3’s are a blast!
I did a search for some of the best par 3 golf courses in the U.S. in 2015, and I found some great ones. The ones by our house are nothing compared to these. They’re still fun, but this top seven list just blew me away!
- Links at Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes, California- Located right by the ocean, their views are spectacular. You can reach them at 310-265-2800.
- Threetops at Gaylord, Michigan- Built back in 1992, you can expect beautiful bunkers, trees, and dramatic changes in elevations.Their address is 3962 Wilkinson Road, Gaylord, MI 49735. You can reach them at 989-732-6711.
- Magnolia Grove at Mobile, Alabama- Look out for the extreme sloping greens that will make you think twice about calling a par three course “for kids”. You can reach them at 251-645-0075.
- The Challenge at Monarch Dunes at Nipomo, California- Twelve short holes built for fun by Pascusso and Pate. You can look forward to the tall mounds that will make you think you’re playing on the links in Scotland. They can be reached at 805-343-9459. The address is 1606 Trilogy Parkway, Nipomo, CA 93444.
- Angel Park at Las Vegas, Nevada- When you’re tired of losing money at the tables, go play these 12 holes that are also lit up for night golf. Each hole represents a famous one from the greatest courses in the world.
- Palm Beach Par 3 at Palm Beach, Florida- Built right on the ocean, you can count on the great and sunny views. Raymond Floyd redesigned it in 2009 to put it back in world-class shape. The address is 2345 South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, FL 33480. You can reach them by phone at 561-547-0598.
- Blue Rock at South Yarmouth, Mass.- Built by Geoffrey Cornish back in 1962, it’s 18 holes of short game fun near Cape Cod. The address is 48 Todd Road, South Yarmouth, MA 02664. Their phone number is 508-398-9295.
What do you think about our list? Did we leave any of the best par 3 courses in the country out of it, that should be included? Just drop a comment. We’ll take a look at your recommendation, and we’ll be more than happy to add it to the list.