I have a par 3 course about 6 miles away from where I live and during the summer my friends and I can usually be found playing there once a week. The course is actually in town and the owner could sell the land to a developer for a mint, but he refuses, which makes us love the owner even more.
The benefits of playing par 3 courses are pretty straightforward. You can work on your chipping, putting, green-reading, and short game. Depending on how busy it is, you can actually hit from one tee box to another green on the next hole. So instead of playing 9 100ish yard holes, you can mix in a 200-yard hole or two.
Why Par 3 Courses Are Good Practice
Some people look down on par 3 courses and I can never figure out why. I guess it’s an ego thing, thinking they’re too good to dink around on a par 3 course. I think they’re out of their mind. The par 3 course my friends and I play at was $10 per round until this last summer. They bumped it up to $12 per round. So far it hasn’t slowed us down.
We do have one friend that is about a 6 handicap and he plays there all the time, but the rest of us are all about the same. The par 3 courses are good practice for us because we all need work on our short game and putting. And as you probably know, this is where you can easily rack up some strokes. The par 3 course has holes that range from about 90 yards to 120 yards. You can easily take about 3 clubs (and 3 beers) and work on your short game.
And since it’s a par 3 course, there’s still a bit of competition amongst us, but since it’s not a regular course, the chipping and ball striking advice is a little more welcome. While we’re trying to play our best, the par 3 course is good for practice. But the practice comes from using clubs or shots that we all need to improve on.
For example, if we were playing a regular course and we had a ball on the fringe, virtually all of us would pull the putter, hoping to drop it in the hole in one or two. But on the par 3 course, sitting on the fringe, we might opt to pull a wedge, just so we can work on our wedge shots.
Obviously, this will depend on the shot, but it allows us to practice shots we might need to work on, without worrying too much about the score. Yes, we’re trying to beat each other, but if we can fix our short game on the par 3 course, and then carry it over to the regular course, where the shots will really count, then the par 3 course has really served its purpose.
5 Benefits of Playing a Par 3 Course
The par 3 course we play on is $12, and if we want to re-round it only costs $6. Meaning it’s a dollar a hole if we play 18. I can hear the haters saying “you don’t get to use more than a couple of clubs, so it’s a waste of money.” But again, I think that’s a very myopic point of view. I firmly believe your short game is where most people need the most practice. And if you can work on this portion of your game, while actually hitting shots for a dollar a hole, it’s money well spent.
Which club will you most likely use on every hole? The answer is the putter. I hate to use the cliche saying of “drive for show, putt for dough,” but truer words have never been spoken. One of the best benefits of par 3 courses is working on your putting game. Typically, the greens at par 3 courses are pretty small, vs larger greens you might find on an actual course, but that’s fine. If you can sink some putts on par 3 courses, it will boost your confidence.
And if you’ve been playing golf for long, you know the importance of confidence when you’re playing. Sinking putts on the par 3 courses, even if they’re flatter and smaller, can carry over to your next game.
Golf is a great place to take what should be a relaxing, fun game and make you hate yourself and despise your own lack of athletic abilities. There are not many things worse than dropping $50 for a round with a cart, $10 for a few beers, $10 for a sleeve of balls, just to step up to your first shot and shank it into the rough. The disappointment is real. But when you’re on a par 3 course, the chances of you hitting this level of disappointment are slim.
Depending on your skill level, losing a ball on a par 3 course is actually pretty difficult. So even if you hit a bad shot, it doesn’t seem as bad as it does on a normal course. Par 3 courses tend to be a bit more enjoyable, more relaxing, laid back, and the chances of hitting a hole in one are actually on the table.
4) No Reservations
This will probably depend on the par 3 course in your area, but let’s face it, nobody likes to be the one calling the courses looking for a tee time. The par 3 course we play on, takes all walk-ups. Everyone loves playing golf, but nobody enjoys finding time a time that works for everyone and then calling courses.
5) Time Commitment
If you’re playing a regular course, you’re easily setting aside half of your day. Eighteen holes alone can take about four hours, not to mention driving time to and from the course. And if you’re going to enjoy the nineteenth hole with your golfing buddies, it can easily add another hour. If you’re short on time or have adult responsibilities devoting half a day to golf is a big-time commitment.
A par 3 course on the other hand can be done after work. The par 3 course we play, we can cruise through in an hour, and even less if there are not many people playing. This shorter time frame not only makes it more accessible to play, but it can extend your season a bit too. Playing in boiling heat or chilly shoulder seasons for 4-5 hours can take a toll on you. But braving these temperatures is much more tolerable on a par 3 course. This means more practice for when it counts.
Wrapping up Benefits of Par 3 Courses
To me, the reasoning is pretty simple. If I had unlimited funds and time, I would play a regular course 9 times out of 10. But that’s not the case. Par 3 courses can fine-tune your skills. Hitting a bucket of balls can provide some practice, but the attention to accuracy will come from playing a par 3 course. Find the closes par 3 course for you and give it a shot! If you don’t have a convenient par 3 course near you, check out the best indoor practice putting greens.