The Par-3 Course in Golf

General view of the Par 3 Course at Augusta National
The best-known par-3 course in golf is the one at Augusta National Golf Club. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

What is a "par-3 course" in golf? Simple: It's is a golf course that consists of nothing but par-3 holes. A "regular" or "regulation" 18-hole golf course most commonly has four par-3 holes, four par-5 holes and 10 par-4 holes. A variety of hole lengths, from short to long.

But par-3 courses most commonly have only nine holes (although some do have 18 holes) and, as noted, all of them are par-3s. A 9-hole par-3 course has a par of 27; an 18-hole par-3 course has a par of 54.

Par-3 holes are holes that an expert golfer is expected to need only three strokes to finish. 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.

Par-3 courses are particularly good for beginning golfers and higher scorers, since they provide shorter holes, but are often played by skilled players with time constraints or those who want to work on their short games.

Par-3 Courses Exist in Golf's Upper Echelons, Too

There are two professional golf events that spotlight par-3 courses every year:

    Where Will You Find Par-3 Courses?

    Par-3 golf courses are most commonly found as:

    • part of a multi-course facility, such as at a golf club or golf resort that wants to provide its members or customers a shorter playing option;
    • part of a practice facility (e.g., Fred's Driving Range and Par 3);
    • or as a standalone golf course for those who don't have the time (or inclination) to play a regular (full-length) golf course.

      Are Par-3 Courses and Executive Courses the Same Thing?

      Not necessarily, although they can be. An "executive course" is also shorter than a regular golf course, and typically composed mostly of par-3 holes. But unlike a par-3 course, an executive course usually has at least one, maybe two or three, longer holes: a couple par-4 holes, for example, or one par-4 and one par-5, in addition to the par-3s that make up the majority of its nine(s).