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6 Tips For Playing a Demanding Par 3

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

A view of the 17th green at THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is undoubtedly one of the most iconic holes in golf, and it is almost synonymous with the Players Championship tournament. Although it only measures 137 yards from the championship tees, the island green makes it one of golf's most challenging and intimidating holes. Pete Dye added this diabolical short hole in 1982, just in time for the inaugural PLAYERS Championship.
Par 3's are often considered the most challenging holes on the course, as they require precision and accuracy to complete successfully.
The PGA TOUR scoring average on par 3 holes typically average between 3.1 to 3.2 shots, making them the only hole that TOUR players average over par. For a 15-handicap golfer, the average number of strokes to complete a Par 3 is between 3.5 and 4.2 strokes—a 20-handicapper averages between 4.3 and 5.1 on the 3's.
Playing a demanding Par 3 can be challenging, but you can conquer them with the right approach.
Here are some tips to help you:
  1. Choose The Right Club: Selecting the right club is crucial for a good shot. Consider the distance, wind, and height of the hole before making your decision. Don't be afraid to take one more club; then choke down and swing smoothly.
  2. Study The Green: Look for any slopes, undulations, or hazards around the green that might affect your shot. This will help you determine where to best hit your shot...or at least attempt to.
  3. Visualize Your Shot: Before hitting the ball, visualize your shot, including that ever critical landing spot. This will help you focus and increase your chances of success.
  4. Take a Few Practice Swings: Take a couple of practice swings to get a feel for the swing you'll need to hit the shot you are visualizing.
  5. Keep Your Swing Smooth: Avoid rushing or hitting the ball too hard. Keep your swing smooth and controlled to ensure accuracy.
  6. Stay Positive and Confidant: Even if you don't hit a perfect shot, stay positive and focused. Don't let a bad shot affect your next one.
Remember, playing a demanding Par 3 will require you to strategize appropriately and be confident as you step up to hit the tee shot. With these tips, you can improve your chances of success.