How to play a Par 3

PGA Fellow Professional

How to play a Par 3

How to play a Par 3

How to play a Par 3 is a short golf blog that outlines some of the ways to improve your game on the short holes.

When playing an average 18 hole golf course, you will typically come across 3-4 Par 3 holes per round.
They will usually be between 120 – 220 yards long. This is great news for a beginner golfer, due to not being able to hit the ball too far, therefore needing fewer shots to reach. When you reach a certain standard, a Par 3 becomes more difficult.
In fact, Par 3 holes are some of the toughest holes on an average golf course.

First of all, let us take a look at some numbers.

Par 3 Facts and Figures

According to Arcoss statistics, the following results are from an average length Par 3

0-5 “Scratch Golfer” will score an average of 3.51
6-12 handicap will score an average of 3.76
13-20 handicap will score an average of 4.01
21+ handicap will score an average of 4.38

38% of all tee shots finish short of the green and only 5% of all tee shots go over the back of the green.

My Recipe for success

My secret to successful scoring on PAR 3 holes is as follows…

Study the hole-

How wide or narrow, long or short is the green?
Is the hole flat, uphill or downhill?
Where are the bailout zones? (If you are going to miss the green, where would you want to miss it?)


Don’t just look at the distance on the scorecard. Take a look at where the daily tee markers are in relation to the permanent tee posts.
Work out the distance from the correct teeing ground to the following 3 points.

1. Front edge of the green
2. Back edge of the green
3. Distance to the flag


The weather will play a big role as it will ultimately affect your club decision. It may also change your decision on what type of shot to play. you may want to hit the ball high if the wind is behind you. you may want to hit the ball lower if the wind is directly against your shot direction.

1. What is the temperature? If it is cold, you may need to take more club.
2. How strong is the wind and from which direction is it blowing.
3. Altitude can also play its part. if you are playing in the Alps, for example, your ball will fly further.

Club Decision-

To be able to make a decision on what club to hit, you will need to make these decisions first.

1. Know your yardages. How far do you hit each of your clubs (Carry)
2. Choose which shot type you want to play. This may be a draw, a fade or punch etc.
3. Pick out a line that you want the ball to start from. Always try and play away from any trouble.

Once you have worked out which shot to hit, with which club, you will need to make a few practice swings.
The practise swings should help you feel and find the right swing that is required. They will also help you visualise your desired ball flight.
Once you are happy and only once you are happy should you play your ball.

The last point to remember, always play from a tee peg. Some people are against this idea but it does help to make clean contact with the ball and there is much less chance of hitting a poor shot.


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