Defining a great par 3 can be difficult, especially as so many golfers have very different preferences when it comes to the short holes. Whether you enjoy ones that are just a little flick with a wedge, or monstrous 200+-yard holes, where you have to hit a green surrounded by water with a fairway wood, take a look at our shortlist for the ten best par 3 holes in the world.
Although less than 150-yards from the very back tees, this short par-3 is a brute. Hit your tee shot long and/or left and your ball is going to end up wet; long and right and your ball will end up in deep rough or potentially the large bunker that awaits. The saving grace of this short hole that exudes intimacy with the sea is the stunning views of Chanonry Lighthouse and the firth beyond the green.
Recent renovations to this hole have made it even more of an awe-inspiring par 3, where golfers play across the bay creating an exhilarating test. The iconic Turnberry Lighthouse is in full view, as is the remains of Robert the Bruce’s Castle, to offer both a beautiful and dramatic par 3. It certainly demands your full respect as you stand on the tee.
The 17th hole on The Players Stadium Course is arguably the most famous par 3 in the world. From the tips, it is only 137-yards but, thanks to the island green combined with swirling winds, it strikes fear into most golfers who play it – even the professionals. If you spent the day at the 17th hole during the PGA Tour’s Player’s Championship, you are almost guaranteed to see the world’s best golfers finding the water with just a wedge in hand.
Better known as the “Postage Stamp,” because of its tiny putting surface, the 8th hole at Royal Troon is arguably one of the most famous holes on the Open Championship rota. Although no more than 123-yards, there is no safe way to play this other than to hit the green. A crater bunker shields the approach, with two bunkers and a steep sand hill protecting the left hand side, and two deep pot bunkers guarding the right hand side of the green. Good luck.
On the 7th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links you can hit anything from a sand wedge to a 3-iron, depending on which way the brutal wind off the Pacific is blowing. This dramatically downhill hole also offers some of the most scenic vistas in golf, as you look out to the Pacific Ocean and along the California coast.
The 16th hole on the Royal Course at Vale do Lobo is quite possibly the most photographed hole in Europe, thanks to its famous tee shot over the towering, orange cliffs. If you manage to play this hole as the sun is going doing, you are in for a treat. Don’t mistake the beautiful views for an easy hole though, as this par 3 is a beast measuring at 215-metres off the whites.
The coastal holes at Trump Doonbeg International Golf Links sustained significant damage during a storm, but since Dr. Martin Hawtree redesigned these holes in 2015 they have become some of the most memorable in Europe – and none more so than the 14th hole. The original design was “lost to the sea,” but now it is a tough par 3, with absolutely no bail out areas, and one that you won’t forget in a hurry.
The 17th hole on the U.S. Open hosting Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, was arguably one of the most intimidating penultimate holes in major history. The 221-yard hole is fiercely guarded by water both short and right, and with a green that is 10,000 square feet long, a variety of shots are required depending on where the pin is located.
The elevated tee on the 4th hole at Royal County Down offers breathtaking views, which can be distracting from the testing tee shot golfers face. From the championship tees, the hole plays 228-yards and with large drop offs either side of the green and at the rear, on top of a sea of gorse and a multitude of bunkers, a par here is a great score on this exceptional tough and brutally challenging par 3.
The fact this hole plays 226-yards downhill with beautiful vistas and towering quarries would almost be enough to make this hole an amazing one any way. But when you add to that the unique green monkey bunker – a large monkey shape piece of grass in the middle of a bunker that arguably stands out more than the green – you create a memorable golf hole in Barbados.