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The Par 3: Broken Down

Updated on August 22, 2013

Redhawk Hole 8

Objective 1

A par 3 is a hole on the golf course that states that the golfer has three strokes to put his ball in the hole. A golfer is rewarded for putting the ball in the hole in two strokes and challenged to make a three when a poor shot is made off the tee. A par 3 ranges anywhere from 80 to about 240 yards in length, making it the basic root of the game. If you think about it, what is a par 4 hole after your drive off the tee? What is a par 5 after your second shot? You play a par 3 on every hole whether you like it or not and essentially on a par 4 or 5 hole, you decide the distance of the par 3 you will play.

Hit the green. It seems obvious but you are more likely to receive par when u hit the green than when you do not hit the green. Some may argue this not to be true, however all of these people must be good chippers. Hitting the green allows you two putts to get the ball in whereas chipping only allows you one. To land the ball on the green allows you more opportunities to get your par or even score whereas missing a par 3 green will lead to a harder par or a costly mistake. To ensure that you hit the green on your shot, be aware of the exact distance you will be hitting the ball, as well as the key features of the green. Note any hazards to be aware of as well as any tiers on the green that may make putting more difficult.

Crossings Hole 17

Objective 2

Make your score or your par. Putting the ball closer to the hole will give you more of a chance of scoring, so pay attention to pin position, wind velocity, and the shot you want to make in particular (as in a draw or a fade).

Pin position is important to note, as this will affect the type of shot you choose as well as how much strength you use in your shot. A back pin will require more strength or more club, a short pin will require less strength or less club. A right pin would play differently than a left pin in the same wind. Heavy wind could account for more than one club. If the hole is lower than the tee box you may need less club, if the hole is higher than the tee box, you may need more club.

All these things are negotiated when creating a great shot, and it is by negotiating all these things that great shots are made.

It also pays to get lucky every once in a while as in a good bounce here or there, but luck is not something to be relied on in golf.

San Marcos Hole 5

Objective 3

If you don't need objective three its because you have already received birdie on the hole. Objective three is saving par. Saving par is two putting or chipping on and making your putt.

Practice lag puts often, they will come in handy on par 3's if you are not accustomed to birdies. When lag putt practicing you should make sure that you can two putt every time from any distance. You can see my other hub (Putting Technique: Key Points). Once you feel comfortable two putting from long distances, you should never feel worried when hitting the greens, in fact worry should turn into opportunity eventually.

The "up n down" is an art in of itself. The act of chipping the ball from off the green to as close as you can get it to the hole, to leave yourself with an opportunity to save par, is essential. When chipping, it is important to decide the type of chip you want to use as well as decide ( from looking at the line to the hole) where you want to land your chip so that it rolls in or as close to the hole as possible. Remember that when beginning to learn how to chip, your ball is going to run anywhere from six to sixteen plus feet after it lands, depending on the slope of the green. Try different clubs when chipping, such as your nine iron, pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, or lob wedge. You should choose the club you feel comfortable with when chipping. Some only chip with a pitching wedge because they like gauging the distance of a low running chip, whereas others only chip with a lob wedge because they like to bring the ball in high and soft. It is all preference and what works best for you. Also, you can try to use spin on your ball to check the ball up on the green(slow it down) or use the contours of the green to feed the ball toward the hole. Spin is difficult and will come to you as you become familiar with the way you chip. Consider the lye of your ball, as a down hill lye will make the ball come out "hot" with more roll and an uphill lye will make it easier to put the ball up in the air.

A better than average shot would be considered within six feet of the hole, giving you a solid opportunity at putting the ball in, in one stroke. But do not assume that a bad chip is the end of the hole. You must put more effort into your 3rd shot in a last chance scramble for par. Do not get discouraged (words from your caddy) when missing these longer putts, instead realize that if you had made a better chip, you would have had a better chance to save your par. Chipping practice is very important, you will make poor chips very often until you practice the way you chip.

Encinitas Ranch Hole 2


What is your average par 3 score?

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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      4 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great article. I play my local Par 3 all the time and I'm constantly experimenting with my approach shot clubs. Instead of my wedge, sometimes I just choke up on my 9, especially if it's uphill. Voted up.


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