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Author: Keri Schmit

Par-3 holes are holes that an expert golfer is expected to need only three strokes to finish (one stroke to get the ball on the green, followed by two putts). A par-3 hole is usually less than 200 yards in length, and on par-3 golf courses you can expect most of the holes to be 150 yards or less.

Short courses and nine-hole courses have long served as the sandlots of golf while also being regarded as the game’s red-headed stepchild. Now, suddenly, they are becoming a thing of the future.

Short courses are less time consuming, less difficult, less expensive, less use of water and pesticides, and more family-friendly for golfers of all skill levels.

Here’s a list of some of the best Par-3 courses in the U.S.:

THE LINKS AT TERRANEA, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
The Links at Terranea is a dramatic nine-hole, par-3 Southern California oceanfront golf course, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Todd Eckenrode, The Links’s artful bunkering, unobstructed sightlines and a wide range of classic strategic elements combine to deliver an unparalleled golf experience on the Los Angeles coast.

THE SANDBOX, Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, WI
Sand Valley features three courses, one being The Sandbox. The Sandbox is a 17-hole par-3 course designed by Coore & Crenshaw. Located 100 yards from the clubhouse, the Sandbox opened in spring 2018 and is extremely fun and fast option for resort and day guests both.

THREETOPS, Treetops Resort, Gaylord, MI
A Rick Smith designed stunner, etched through the piney hills of northern Michigan, comes this gem. Nationally recognized since it opened, and found on most bucket lists, Threetops conducted the ESPN Par 3 Shootout for years with legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples having graced the course.

THE CRADLE, Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, NC
Nearly 120 years after golf arrived here, a nine-hole short course that even the newest to the game can enjoy, designed by golf architect Gil Hanse, the Golf Channel calls The Cradle, “the most fun 10 acres in all of golf.”

THE MIF ALBRIGHT 9, Corica Park, Alameda, CA
The award winning Mif 9 Par-3 course at Corica Park is fun, fast to play, and in perfect shape. Newly renovated course have greens that roll fast and true, but they aren’t easy by any means. Even the best players can hone their short games on The Mif. The course was made for all to enjoy!

Newly renovated course at the southern end of the Alabama featuring creeks, marshland, and lakes with each of the 54 holes carved through indigenous hardwood and pine. Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones’, Magnolia Grove was named best par-3 course in America by Golf Digest.

PALM BEACH PAR-3, Palm Beach, FL
This 18-hole par-3 course was already a stunner when hall of fame golfer Ray Floyd got his hands on it in 2009 and redesigned it by spicing up the shot values and putting surfaces on holes that range from 81 to 211 yards.

TOP OF THE ROCK, Big Cedar Lodge, Branson, MO
Perched high above Table Rock Lake, this immaculately conditioned Jack Nicklaus nine-holer features giant waterfalls, wandering creeks, bass-filled ponds and pristine lakes. Known to be the only par 3 course to play host to a PGA Tour or Champions Tour event – the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

MOUNTAIN TOP, Big Cedar Lodge, Branson, MO
Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris teamed up with World Golf Hall of Fame legend Gary Player and created a world-class 13-hole short course that delivers an unparalleled experience for golfers of all skill levels. The course routes through unforgettable rock formations and includes some of the most dramatic views in the Ozarks.

Nestled among aged cypress trees on the western edge of beautiful Golden Gate Park, the facility is a 9-hole, par 3 course with challenging holes ranging from under 100 yards up to 200 yards. Built in 1951, the course is shaped by the sand dunes on which it was developed.

THE PRESERVE, Bandon Dunes, Bandon, OR
A unique experience in every way, Bandon Preserve is a 13-hole par-3 course that delivers a level of enjoyment matched only by the spectacular views. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Bandon Preserve begins high atop a sand dune and rolls down toward the Pacific Ocean.

The Cloud Nine Short Course will challenge every facet of your iron game. With 12 holes inspired by some of the most famous golf holes in the world, the. This walk-about course also offers a unique experience when playing in the evening as nine of the 12 holes are lighted for night time play. Angel Park is, by any definition, “very Vegas.”