What Is A Par 3 Golf Course And Why Should You Care?

We get it- you love golf.

However, sometimes finding the time to play golf can be a real struggle. Not everyone can find the 5 hours plus necessary to play a full 18 holes of golf, but that doesn't mean that you have to do without playing completely.

The answer? A par 3 golf course.

Read on to learn more about what a par 3 golf course is, and how utilizing it can be a real savior when you need a few rounds to take the edge off.

What Is A Par 3 Course Anyway?

So, what is a par 3 golf course? A par 3 golf course is simply a shorter version of a regulation 18-hole golf course. These courses are typically much easier and can be played in a fraction of the time that it would take to play an entire round on a standard course.

There is another caveat as well, which is the fact that all holes are *drumroll* par 3.

A par 3 course does not have any par 4 or 5 holes, which means that you can really focus on your short game and making solid contact with every shot.

These courses are often found at public parks or driving ranges, as they do not require nearly as much land as a full-fledged course. This also helps to keep costs down, meaning that you can really get in a good round on a quality course.

Plus, you aren't even limited to playing the entire 18 holes you might be accustomed to. Par 3 courses can have as little as 9 or even 6 holes, making for a quick round when you've got that itch!

Why Should You Play a Par 3 Course?

A Balanced Playing Field

Know how women and younger folks are unable to achieve the driving distances men do? A shorter hole negates that inequality. This makes it great for recreational play, as well as for events that pair up players of vastly different abilities.

A lot of men have never played against women either, so the challenge and potential ass-whooping might be quite refreshing!

Easier on the Wallet

Let's face it- playing golf can be an expensive hobby. If you're looking for a cheaper way to play, look no further than a par 3 course. Because they require less land, there are often fewer amenities such as clubhouses, pro shops, and the like. You also won't find any water hazards or sand traps, which can further reduce maintenance costs. These savings are often passed on to the consumer in the form of lower green fees.

Improved Chipping

Working on your chipping on the par 3 holes is a good investment of your time. The typical length of a par 3 hole is around 150 yards or less, making it the perfect place to work on those delicate shots around the green.

chipping in golf

Not surprisingly, the greens are smaller as well, so you'll really need to be precise with your shots. This can be a great way to lower your score on the back 9 of a regulation course, as you'll have practiced those all-too-important ups and downs.

Great for Beginners

A par 3 course is also a great place for beginners to start playing golf. The shorter holes make for a less daunting and more forgiving round, while still providing all the fun of golf.

The lack of hazards also means that beginners won't have to worry about losing their ball as often so that they can focus on enjoying the game without too much frustration.

Time Better Spent Than On A Driving Range

There's a reason why golfers often refer to the driving range as "the practice range." It's because that's exactly what it is- a place to practice. And while practicing at the driving range can certainly help improve your game, there are better ways to spend your time.

After all, comparing your drive to your short game, which needs more work?

One of those better ways is by playing a par 3 golf course. You'll get in a full round of golf, complete with all the trappings- greens, fairways, etc. All without having to spend hours at the driving range.

With the limited time busy people have, it's much better spent playing a short course.

Good For Winter Play

In many parts of the country, winter weather can make playing golf difficult, if not impossible.

winter golf

But on a par 3 course, you can often still get in a round thanks to the shorter holes and lack of water hazards. This means that you can work on your game all year long, regardless of the weather!

And, let's not forget how badly your short game suffers during those months of rust. A few rounds on a par 3 course can help knock the rust off before spring arrives.

Planning For Your Par 3 Course

Are there any special considerations that you need to take into account when playing a par 3 course? Not really!

Just remember that since these courses are shorter, it might better serve you to pack appropriately for the occasion.

Here are some simple tips we recommend:

A Lighter Golfbag

You won't need a bag full of clubs on a par 3 course, so consider bringing along a smaller, lighter bag. This will help to save your energy for the walking and swinging you'll be doing.

The Right Clubs

This goes right along with the previous tip. Think about which clubs you'll need most on a shorter course. Chances are you won't need that driver, and you can get by with a smaller selection of clubs overall. Wedges and putters are a good bet, along with a few irons to cover different distances.

Focus On Your Short Game

The approach to the par 3 course is different from what you would be accustomed to on a traditional course.

man putting in the short game

Why? Because it doesn't require many big hits. Instead, this is a great opportunity to really use those wedges and your putter, since most of the holes will be under 130 yards.

If you're known to have a good short game, there's a high likelihood that you'll thrive on this course, so don't sweat it too much!

Fuel Up And Go

On a traditional course, it's fairly common to have to take multiple breaks for drinks, a little snack, or just to catch your breath. On a shorter par 3 course, especially if you're not going more than 9 holes, a healthy snack taken before the round starts is more than enough to fire you up and keep you energized for the duration of the game.

Our Whole in One bar is made of real food, so no nasty crashes or hunger pangs on the third hole. Have one of those and a coffee or water and you're all set!

Bring The Family and Friends

A standard 18-hole course is tough even for adults. Now imagine being a kid and trying to keep up that energy for 5 plus hours. It can be pretty daunting, which is why the par 3 course is a great option for families with younger children.

kids golf course

They can still get in a game without being too overwhelmed or bogged down, and you might even find them beating you by the end!

These holes are suitable for anyone, as regardless of fitness level or experience, most games are completed in under 90 minutes.

Where Can I Find A Par 3 Course?

There are quite a few of these courses in the US, but there's no question that some are just better than others.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Hickory-Hamilton Golf Course

We start our list with the anomaly. In contrast to the relaxed nature of many par 3s, the Hickory-Hamilton Course is notoriously difficult.

For one, many of the holes are more than 200 yards long. That is, for all 18 holes. Think of this as a step down from your standard course, but much more difficult than how par-3s tend to look elsewhere.

The Cradle- Pinehurst Resort

Opened in 2017, this course is one of the newest on our list. It's also one of the most beautiful, as it weaves through the sand dunes that are such a staple of Pinehurst Resort.

pinehurst course

It is a shorter 9-hole course, with the longest hole being only 127 yards. This makes it ideal for kids and juniors or anyone who's looking for some great golfing fun.

Augusta National Par 3

Although it might be very difficult to actually get a chance to play at this club, it remains one of the best par 3 courses in the world.

It is situated adjacent to the famous Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament. This course is incredibly picturesque, with Rae's Creek coming into play on several of the holes.

Augusta National

This course is the venue for the annual Master's par 3 competition, which is one of the most popular events of the year.

This is a great option if you want a challenge and are fortunate enough to get a tee time!

Cloud 9 Course

Imagine playing a round on the clouds, or in heaven. This is what the Cloud 9 course at Angel park in Las Vegas feels like.

It's a 12-hole course that turns to 9 holes that are fully lit, meaning that you can play at any time of day or night. The average hole length falls in the 80-130 yards range.

This is a must-play if you're in the area and is one of the most unique courses on our list.

Lil Wick At The Wickenburg Ranch

This short course is the definition of a great, fun time. Coming in at 9 holes, and music played throughout, the experience is quite different from what you might have come to expect on a traditional course.

Some holes are also lit, which means you can play at night if that's the only time you have. Honorable mention to the mid-course bar you can also find there.

Bandon Preserve

A unique 13-hole course, this par 3 is suitable for newcomers and seasoned athletes alike, as the longest hole measures only 119 yards. Nestled by the oceanside, it's one of the most picturesque courses on our list.

Final Words

Some people regard par-3 courses as nothing more than a gag, but this could simply be because they haven't played on one yet!

If time is the major factor, or you're looking to take the family out for a fun day, then there's no better option. Just remember- not all of them are walks in the park, so bring your A-game anyway!