Without question, Par 3 holes in golf are my favorite to play or watch. With both high risks and high rewards, Par 3s do not let golfers of many skill levels get away with a bad shot the way that longer holes would.
So with such small room for error, what golf clubs do I need for a Par 3?
Typically, a golfer would use a mid- to short-iron off the tee. This includes most irons, wedges, and a putter for the green. A driver is overkill and should not be used .
My favorites to use would be a pitching wedge, sand wedge, or 9 iron and pray that I get good contact.
The task is to have an accurate golf shot onto the green in regulation from the tee and two-putt to secure a par. An outstanding tee shot could result in a putt for birdie, while virtually all holes in one come on Par 3s.
To determining exactly how beginner golfers should approach a Par 3, let’s run through a few considerations.
How long can a Par 3 be?
According to the United States Golf Association, there is a standard to determine whether a hole should be a Par 3, 4, or 5. The standard dictates that a Par 3 may be between 0 and 260 yards. The average Par 3 is in the range of 110-210 yards. This standard allows for great disparities between Par 3s. Some allow for golfers to club down off the tee and hit a shot with plenty of loft. Others are nearly out of reach and require a long iron to completely strike the ball off the tee to get close.
It should be noted that not all golf courses follow the USGA standard, and golfers may come across Par 3s nearing the 300-yard mark. Conversely, most municipal courses tend to keep Par 3s nice and short.
Do you need a driver for a Par 3?
Typically, you do not need a driver for a Par 3.
On average, male golfers hit their 3-wood over 200 yards, which covers most of the Par 3 holes out there. Women’s tees are usually closer to the hold to account for strength differences, meaning women likely require the same clubs as men. Breaking out the driver on a Par 3 is often a hallmark of a poor golfer, who thinks clubbing up will compensate for not making good contact off the tee.
Experienced Players know to stay away from a driver and depend on a smooth swing that makes solid contact. So if you are considering one, you may just need to break down and get some golf lessons.
Regardless, if you miss the green, instead of breaking your clubs in frustration, concentrate and put your chipping skills to good use.
The logic goes that if I hit a 50-yard worm-burner off the tee with a 7-iron, I should use a more powerful club if I expect the shot to go more than twice that distance. There’s no telling where the shot will go with bad contact, but good contact would make the ball soar over the green with a driver on most Par 3s.
Should you tee up on a Par 3?
There’s not a right answer to this question as it is more a matter of preference.
The reason golfers teed up off the tees in the first place was because drivers and other woods are not designed to hit the ball off the ground consistently. Both the bulk of the club and the sweeping motion that accompanies a drive do not work well to lift the ball off the ground.
The act of teeing the ball off the ground reduces friction and produces cleaner contact. Because of this, some golfers prefer to tee off from the tees regardless of the hole distance or club being used. A tee also allows the golfer to get more under the ball and pop it higher in the air for a softer, more precise landing.
The general rule for fans of teeing the ball up on Par 3s is that the shorter the club being used, the lower the ball is teed off the ground. When teeing off with a wedge, for instance, the tee should go practically all the way into the ground to elevate the ball millimeters above the grass.
Is a Par 3 for beginners?
Par 3s on a course are inevitable. They are there on any golf course you find yourself. So learning how to hit them would do nothing but improve your golf game.
For me, I enjoy them as I tend to hit my wedges better than long irons or woods. So I salivate at the opportunity to show off to my golf buddies and nail one within 6 feet.
How do you hit the green on a Par 3?
There are a few critical steps to finding success on Par 3 holes.
- The first is learning to hit the ball cleanly off the tee every time. This is the holy grail of golf, and the thing that golfers practice for hours and hours on the driving range. As mentioned before, Par 3s do not allow for bad shots. The ideal landing spot is green-sized, and clean contact is needed to provide for two putts at par or better. For golfers who are still struggling through slicing and hooking, or hitting too far behind or topping the ball, Par 3s can be a nightmare.
- The next important element is having a strong sense of how far you hit each club. One of the most disappointing things in golf is to make great contact off the tee, have the ball be on the right line, and then surprisingly end up well short, or well long of the green, let alone the hole. Repeated practice and a viewfinder will help you develop the ability to recognize which club you need off the tee to get your ball close.
- The final crucial capability for Par 3s is precision putting. Good putting underrated on the golf course, but especially on Par 3s. Your putting will make or break you when you have just one putt for birdie and two putts for par. It can also save you from devastating scores if your tee shot doesn’t get you on the green. A good way to practice for Par 3 is to place balls on every part of the green and see how many you can hole in two putts. Try to approach 100% with this drill!
When I first started golfing, making contact with the ball and not pulling a muscle was a huge concern. I managed to make it out of the beginner golfer headaches early on, but I still needed some help.
I stumbled across this training by Axiom Rotary Swing and it improved my game greatly and I recommend you check it out, too.