Benefits Of Playing Par Three Courses To Improve Your Game – What Clubs Do I Need?
Par three golf is as pure as it gets. Playing this form of shorter and more targeted golf means that those guys and girls who hit it miles lose their advantage. This is all about accuracy.
For many, par three holes are the most entertaining and exciting in golf. There is absolutely no margin for error, every shot must be hit well, unless luck is really on your side. Plus there is always the chance of the magical hole in one.
Today we want to talk about this type of golf specifically. How you should go about playing it and how it can help your golf game.
What Is A Par Three Course?
As the name suggests, a par three course is a course, usually nine-holes but not always, made up only of par three holes. These short testing holes are require accurate golf shots played to small targets. The holes will usually be between 100 and 200 yards.
Par three courses often have smaller greens surfaces too, but don’t underestimate them, they can still be tricky dancefloors. There are some wonderful par three courses around the world and they are given as much care and attention as any normal course.
How Long Are The Holes?
For men, a par three can be anything up to 250 yards. For women they can be anything up to 210 yards. To see a hole as long as those is rare and longer doesn’t always mean harder. The Postage Stamp, at Royal Troon, is the shortest hole in major championship golf and it is one of the trickiest.
Even holes that measure under 100 yards are well-protected with bunkering and other hazards to keep you on your toes. If you think of some of the most iconic par threes in the world, length usually isn’t the thing that makes them famous, is it?
How Many Holes Does A Par 3 Course Have? 9 or 18?
You tend to find that par three courses are made up of nine holes. However, that’s not to say that eighteen holers don’t exist, there are a few out there. You can also find courses with nine greens but eighteen tees so that you get eighteen holes on less land.
It doesn’t really matter how many holes the course has, if you want to play more then you can just play another round. This is one of the beauties of this form of golf, it’s quick. There is a generally more relaxed feel about this form of the game and it is more accessible to more golfers.
How Long Does It Take To Play A Par 3 Course?
It takes far less time to play par three golf than it does to play a normal round. Firstly, the holes are shorter so you are covering less ground in, hopefully, fewer shots. Also, because you don’t really hit long shots, you should spend very little time looking for balls.
An 18 hole round on a par three course would probably take something like half the time of a full round. The actual length of time obviously depends on how quickly you and your playing partners tend to play but that is a rough guide.
Is It More Like Pitch And Putt Or Golf?
It’s a fine line and it really depends on the course, you want to look for a proper par 3 course though. A good quality par three course is nothing like pitch and putt. The presentation of the course will be excellent and it will have all of the features of a normal course except the length.
Pitch and putt is great fun but par three golf requires much more skill. These are holes that require full shots and you will need more clubs than you would to play pitch and putt too. Don’t get these forms of the game mixed-up.
What Clubs Do I Need To Bring?
That’s not so easy to answer as it depends on the length of the holes and how far you hit the ball. Usually you probably wouldn’t need much more than a six-iron but just check before you go. You could even take the whole set and leave what you don’t need in the car.
Your wedges and putter are going to be busy, other than that it depends on the length. You could even challenge yourself and just take odd or even-numbered irons. That way you’ll need to spend time inventing shots to hit those distances that are missing from your bag.
What Are The Benefits Of A Par Three Course?
There are many benefits to playing par three golf. In this part of the article we will go through them individually, you really should play this form of the game at least a few times a year. It will benefit your game no matter what skill level you are at.
Equalizes Driving Distance – Perfect for Ladies And Juniors’
This is certainly one of the most inclusive ways of playing golf. If you are trying to get a game in with your family then this is absolutely perfect. Everyone can play the same course from the same tees and it will be fairly competitive.
There’s no better way to spend the day as a family than out on the golf course. Good quality time with good conversation and a competitive edge is what it’s all about.
Less Daunting For Beginners To Play And Improve
When you’re not hitting drivers from the tee and playing for distance, the game becomes a bit more relaxed. Mid- and short-irons are more forgiving too so newbies can grow in confidence. This is a great way to get people onto the course for the first time and feel comfortable actually playing golf.
Learning to hit golf balls on the driving range is all well and good but that is not playing golf. Par three golf is the perfect stepping stone to help people into our sport. Help grow the game and take someone out onto a par three golf course.
Improve Your Iron Game
It’s not just about other people though, this form of golf can help your game too. Often par three courses have smaller, trickier greens. Playing on courses like this will force you to become more accurate. You will also focus far more than if you went to the driving range to hit balls.
Also, as mentioned earlier, you can challenge yourself further by leaving odd or even numbered clubs out of your bag so that you have to create more shots. Make this kind of golf a solid practice session, it’s far more fun than beating balls on a range.
Improve Your Chipping
Every golfer could have a better short game, even Phil Mickelson would agree with this. Having great chipping skills will turn you into a better golfer faster than almost anything else. Par three golf relies on good short game as greens tend to be a bit smaller so you will miss more of them, generally speaking.
You’ll have a great chance to develop your chipping skills by playing par three golf more often. This is an all-round short game developing practice session, enjoy it. You may also have the benefit of incredible putting surfaces to land your chips and pitches onto.
Improve Your Putting On Often Immaculate Greens
Par three courses make a name for themselves through the quality of their putting surfaces. By presenting their course with immaculate greens, they attract golfers like you to play. This is a great chance to becoming deadly on the green.
Like developing a solid short game, being a great putter will save you tons of shots per round. In par three golf, if you’re playing to regulation, 66% of your shots are putts. This puts even more emphasis on this part of your game when you are on these courses. The best putter will almost certainly win.
Takes Less Time Than Golf
We all know how much of a time commitment golf is. Another great benefit of par three golf is that you get the fun of a full-round and it takes less than half of the time. You’re also not hitting driver so you probably won’t be hunting for balls.
You’ll get round quicker and you won’t feel as tired from the round. This is a great way of fitting a round in on a busy day then getting on with whatever life has in store for you.
Better Practice Than The Driving Range
Go to any driving range on any given day/night and you are likely to see most people hitting shot after shot with the same club. This is practice, this is wasting time with a golf club in your hands. Par three golf is a much better way to hone your skills.
You are stringing together a score and that also comes with pressure. You are developing your scoring game and being creative all at the same time. Skip the range session unless you have swing mechanics to work on, this is how to practice.
Usually Costs A Lot Less
These courses, as you can imagine, take up far less land than their big cousins. That means that they cost a lot less to create and also to maintain. Those savings mean that playing on par three courses is almost always a lot cheaper.
Of course there are premium par three courses out there that cost more than others, but that’s no different to full courses. The premium par threes are still much cheaper than the equivalent eighteen-holer.
Perfect For Those Bad With Woods And Drivers
Are you one of those golfers that struggles with woods? No matter how much practice you put in, you have a mental block and you just can’t seem to get it right. We’ve all been there, don’t worry.
Well getting yourself out onto a par three course can be the perfect remedy. This way you’re playing a proper round of golf but without the need for the driver and fairway woods. You can fall back in love with the game whilst still working at the range to regain your confidence in the longer clubs. Stick with it, it will come.
Perfect For Winter
During the winter months, one of the parts of our games that is affected the most is the short game. The skills to play these creative and nuanced shots is damaged by time off. Again, par three golf comes to the rescue.
Also, the fact that the length of time required to play it is far less, you don’t need to brave the elements for so long. You can even get opportunistic and play some par three golf during a clearing in the weather. This is the perfect way to keep your game sharp when most people’s clubs are doing nothing other than gathering dust.
Great Fun For All The Family
Some of my fondest memories in golf involve me being on the course with my dad when I was a kid. How many people do you speak to that say they wish they had taken up golf sooner? Well this is your chance to get your children into the game we love so much.
Also, you can get your spouse involved. I’m sure you’re fed up with your husband/wife moaning at home much time you spend playing golf. Well this is the way to introduce everyone in the family to your addiction and get them hooked too.
Tips For Playing Par Threes
One of the best tips I’ve ever heard is great for par three golf, find a spot in the middle of the green and aim there. This is something that Jack Nicklaus used to talk about. He would aim for a specific part in the middle portion of the green which took him closest to the flag. This way you’re playing for the largest part of the green and letting your putter do the work.
You will hit far more greens in regulation if you start to actively avoid taking dead-aim at the pin. Another good one that most amateur golfers could learn from is to always take more club than you think. If you watch golfers at your local club on any given day, you will see them leave the ball short nine times out of ten when they miss a green. It is rare for hazards to be beyond the green so it’s usually a safer miss.
Just have fun. Yes that sounds cheesy, but this is a fun form of the game, it’s not about your score. Ditch the scorecard and try not to think about it either. Enjoy your time on the short course and leave with a smile on yourself at time well-spent.
Tee Up The Ball
In golf, you don’t get many things that make your life easier. However, the humble golf tee is one of the best tools in your bag and it makes you hit it a little further. You would be a fool not to tee it up on any course never mind a par three course.
So often, you see players playing from the ground on par threes rather than teeing it up. This always baffles me, why would you not just use the advantage that the rules give us on the tee? Some say that they prefer it because it’s more like a normal iron shot and they can be more confident of the distance. They are almost certainly not accurate and consistent enough for tee to make that much of a difference. Get off your high horse and tee it up.
Play Strategically and Don’t Get Greedy
Greenkeepers are a funny bunch and you can always tell what mood they are in by how the pins are positioned on the course. They will use so called ‘sucker pins’ to try and draw you into making a mistake and leaving yourself in a hazard, be clever about your aim. Have you tried the ‘red, amber, green’ system for flags?
I said above that Jack Nicklaus used to talk about only really aiming for the middle of the green. This is the next step on that. Red flags are to be absolutely avoided, amber are to be aimed toward but not at and green flags are there for the taking. This is about pre-shot decision making and deciding what category the flag ahead is in, then executing.
You’ll never go far wrong when you play for greens in regulation and let your putter do the work. Even bad holes will be less bad than thinning one through the green and into a bunker, keep it simple.
Choose Your Club Carefully
As I’ve already said, one of the most common mistakes in club selection is under-clubbing. Too often, golfers let their ego get in the way and they feel the need to pick less club and swing it harder, this doesn’t work. Firstly, a smooth swing will almost always produce a better strike. It will also produce less spin so the ball will fly better.
Also, courses tend to build the hazards around the front and the sides of greens. The back of the green tends to be semi-rough and far less punishing. Of course there are holes with trees behind them but they are there just to frighten you, it would usually take a serious error to hit the ball there, one extra club won’t do it.
Take Your Time Relax And Enjoy It
You’re not in a major championship, you’re on a par three course with friends and/or family. If you make a bogey from a three-putt then that’s just golf, smile and appreciate the fact that you’re able to be out there. Don’t take it so seriously, grab a few beers even, just relax and have fun.
Golf can be infuriating, we all know this all too well. However, it is only that way if you let it be that way. You can choose to enjoy it and just play with a smile on your face. You can choose to laugh off the bad shots and just get on with it.
We all go out on the course and hope to play well. We all hope to make plenty of birdies and go home to talk about how well we played. It doesn’t always work out though and that’s that. By just relaxing and enjoying it, you will probably play better anyway. You can go home with a smile on your face in a great mood from a great day out.
The Par Three Revolution
I believe that par three golf could be the key to building the participation in the sport again. It’s not as hard to play but it makes it easier to play the full game. It’s perfect for the whole family and it is just more fun.
One of my favourite courses in the world, Winter Park Country Club in Florida, isn’t a par three course but it is a short nine-hole course designed for fun. This is a course that you never leave without a smile on your face. It is exactly as golf should be.
Golf is the best sport in the world and the fact that it is so challenging is a real part of the appeal. We love, in a sadistic way, pitting ourselves up against the elements and tough courses to see what we are made of. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Par three golf is all of the most fun parts of the sport distilled into an abbreviated form. There are even big events specifically for this form if you need that competitive-edge. The whole point of this article is to get you to think differently and give par three golf a shot.
You will learn a lot about your game and you will do it with a smile on your face. What more do you want? Grab some friends and give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!