When you think of a round of golf, you probably think about the typical 18-hole golf course right? Did you know there are different types of golf courses with different numbers of holes?
So, what is a Par 3 golf course? A par 3 course is a golf course that consists of only par 3 holes. In contrast, regulation golf courses most commonly feature four par 3 holes, four par 5 holes and ten par 4 holes.
Par 3 golf courses are an interesting option for golfers that want to play a quick round or for those that want to play a course without the hassle of 18 holes. Let’s dig deeper to see if this abbreviated golf course is a good option to improve your golf game. Understanding golf terms and definitions like “par” can help you make informed decisions on the course and improve your overall game.
Par 3 Golf Course Defined
To understand what a par 3 golf course is, you first need to understand what par 3 means.
All holes on a golf course are set with a specific number of swings it should take a proficient golf player to get the golf ball into the hole.
This is called par.
So for example, on a par 3 hole, it should only take the golfer three swings to get the golf ball into the hole. The par number varies and is usually par 3, par 4, or par 5. In rare instances, you’ll come across a par 6 hole on a standard golf course, but it’s not the norm. Regulation golf courses most commonly feature four par 3 holes, four par 5 holes and ten par 4 holes.
The par 3 hole is typically the shortest hole and one of the more exciting and easiest to play, which is part of what led to the creation of par 3 golf courses.
How do You Play a Par 3 Golf Course?
Regulation golf courses consist of 18 holes and playing each of the 18 holes equals one round of golf.
Par 3 golf courses are set up a bit differently.
Instead of 18 holes, these courses usually consist of nine holes. Each of the nine holes is par 3.
In comparison, the total par for a standard 18 hole golf course is 54 while a par 3 golf course has a total par of 27.
You’ll also find that the length for play is different on a par 3 golf course. On a standard course, you’ll find that a par 3 hole has length of less than 200 yards. On a par 3 course, you’ll find that most of the holes will have a length of 150 yards or less.
There is no difference in play on a par 3 golf course.
Each player has three swing to get the ball in the hole. Typically this should be one swing to get the ball to the putting green (the area around and closest to the hole) and then two putts to get the golf ball to the hole.
Who Should Play on a Par 3 Golf Course?
On a regular 18 hole golf course you can expect to spend several hours playing. You’ll usually need to allow four or five hours to complete the round, with many golfers staying on the course for the majority of the day.
The par 3 golf course is a great choice for a new golfer.
The average completion time of a round is about two and a half hours. This allows the new golfer to get sufficient practice without sacrificing an entire day to the course.
Par 3 golf courses are also great choices for seasoned golfers who want to improve their putting abilities or what’s’ called their “short game”.
Because it takes less time to complete a round on a par 3 course, it’s easy to slip in practice time around other obligations. Really, anyone can benefit from and enjoy a par 3 golf course.
Advantages to a Par 3 Golf Course
There are several advantages to selecting a par 3 golf course for your next round of golf. As we’ve discussed, players who may have time constraints or other commitments will find the par 3 course an attractive option. But there is one other advantage that most people probably don’t consider: the golfer has less things to carry!
On your standard golf course, you’ll need several different types of golf clubs to be used at the different holes. On a par 3 golf course, you’ll only need a few clubs. You may be able to get away with simply carrying your clubs in your hand rather than hauling around a heavy golf bag.
That’s definitely a huge win!
While on a regulation golf course you’ll usually see pairs of golfers or foursomes. Par 3 golf courses allow for larger playing parties and you’re able to get creative with the way you play.
You can play in teams or as individuals – the sky’s the limit!
Do Pros Play on Par 3 Courses?
Yes! There are actually two professional golfing events each year that feature pro golfers competing at par 3 golf courses:
The Masters Par 3 Contest – Played as a part of tournament week at The Masters, this event is played in Augusta, GA at the Augusta National Par-3 Course. This is actually the most famous par 3 course in golf!
British Par 3 Championship – We can’t forget about our friends across the pond; they enjoy the game of golf, too! This event is an annual championship played by both golf pros and amateurs.
Where Can I find a Par 3 Golf Course?
You can find par 3 golf courses in a few different capacities. They can be part of a multi-course facility, which might a golf club or a golf resort. These facilities usually have both a standard 18 hole golf course as well as a par 3 golf course to give their guests plenty of playing options.
You may also find a par 3 golf course as part of a practice facility such as a local driving range. You can also find a wide variety of standalone par 3 golf courses.
In addition to the previously mentioned Augusta course, you’ll find par 3 golf courses all over the country. Some of the most popular include:
- The Links at Terranea, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
- The Sandbox, Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, WI
- The Cradle, Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC
- Palm Beach Par-3, Palm Beach, FL
A quick internet search will yield plenty of results for par 3 golf courses in your area.
What is a Par 3 Golf Course: 3 Key Takeaways
If someone asks you what a par 3 golf course is, you can easily give them a brief overview:
- Par 3 golf courses are usually only nine holes
- By definition, par 3 golf courses consist of only par 3 holes
- The playing time for a par 3 golf course is significantly shorter than the playtime for a standard golf course
Overall a par 3 golf course is a great alternative to a traditional 18 hole course!