The best par-3 holes in Great Britain and Ireland

The best par-3 holes in Great Britain and Ireland

Disclaimer. This isn't a definitive list of the best par 3 holes in Great Britain and Ireland. Some of them are, but it's all subjective, isn't it? And even with the amount of golf courses the four of us have played between us, we haven't got close to playing them all. So it's a selection of our very favourites that we've grown fond of for one reason or another.

Have a read through our selection of par 3s and let us know if we missed any of your favourites...

Camberley Heath – 2nd

The great architect Harry Colt often used to design his par 3s first and then fit the other holes around them. This is a classic – played 162 yards over a valley to a green that is in distinct sections. DM

Bude & North Cornwall – 4th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

You cross the road from the magnificent 3rd green, play the 144-yard 4th, then cross back over to play the 5th. Yes, the cute par-3 4th at Bude is in a little triangle of roads leading to and from Crooklets Beach.

The only single hole completely isolated by public roads in the UK, if not the world? Probably. In the summer, expect a crowd of tourists cheering you on from the two bars just yards from the tee. AP

Perranporth – 4th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

There's a bit of a theme developing already. There aren't many things in golf or, indeed, life that are more satisfying than a par 3 set to an ocean backdrop.

Just get your ball on the dance floor and enjoy the views of the town and its beach as you stroll the 197 yards to make your birdie putt. AP

Swinley Forest – 4th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

This 171 yards of wonder at Swinley Forest is the hole I hope I can play every day in the next world.

I just don’t know how you better it. The Redan green, the steep drop off the front, the cavernous bunkers waiting for your misstep – it’s my idea of the perfect par 3. SC

Machrihanish (Championship) – 4th

best par 3s in the uk

The entire front nine of this classic links on the remote outpost of Campbelltown is to be savoured, but none more so than the walk from the 3rd green to the 4th tee, which opens up the stunning views out across the Irish Sea.

The hole itself, at 121 yards, can be anything from a wedge to a 6-iron, depending on the wind, into a table-top green that demands to be hit. Not just one of my favourite par 3s in the UK, but the world. AP

Prince’s (Himalayas) – 5th

Prince's Golf Club

A brand-new 125-yard hole, created by Martin Ebert at the far end of the Himalayas. Evocatively named Bloody Point after a naval battle in Anglo-Saxon times (851AD, to be exact), the remoteness of the setting, at the furthest end of the property, makes you pause before you attempt to find the surprisingly elusive green. DM

Royal Dornoch (Championship) – 6th

All the short holes at Dornoch are exceptionally good but the 161-yard 6th, especially when the gorse is in bloom, gets my pic here. It’s a terrifying prospect, especially into the prevailing wind, because the table-top target looks tiny and the little pot bunkers are brutal. DM

Royal Troon (Championship) – 8th

best golf holes

The 123-yard Postage Stamp utterly befuddled me. How can something so short cause that much trouble? Well, if you thin one off the back and then plant it into the Coffin bunker from the thick cabbage, you’re not going to be putting a low number on your scorecard. SC

St George’s Hill (Red) – 8th

Another example of Colt’s genius when it comes to the short holes. It’s a picture-perfect, 179-yard par 3 but it’s anything but pretty should you find one of the front bunkers or, worse still, end up through the back with the most rapid of chips. DM

We've reached the metaphorical turn in our fantasy par-3 course, so grab a drink in the halfway house and head to the next page as we turn for home...

The Machrie – 9th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

One of several new holes that DJ Russell has created in his sympathetic re-imagination of The Machrie, on the Isle of Islay. It’s a gorgeous 143-yard hole from a slightly elevated tee played to a bunker-less green with an ocean backdrop. Minimalist and unadorned. DM

Moortown – 10th

Moortown golf course review

Dr Alister MacKenzie was so confident about the merits of Gibraltar, as it became known, he constructed it as a test hole to sing the praises of his upcoming course. The ‘build it and they will come’ approach certainly worked as no one who saw this short hole, moulded out of a rocky slope, failed to be amazed.

More than a century on, the 172-yarder still thrills. Whether that’s the quartet of bunkers ready to take the poorly struck shot or the feel you get when you hit the right part of the green and watch it slide, slowly and deliciously, across the contours to the hole, it’s just epic. SC

Okehampton – 12th

Okehampton Golf Club - 12th

A tiny par 3 at just 94 yards played not only over a natural Dartmoor cliff face to a picturesque green surrounded by the Okemont river, but over the 13th tee too.

Everyone who plays at Okehampton spends 11 holes looking forward to this tee shot. Wonderful imagination. AP

The European – 12th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

One of the 20 holes available on this stunning links. The green is nestled 205 yards away within some colossal dunes and protected by a railroad sleeper-lined bunker to the front. The views of the sea add to the beauty. HH

Royal Birkdale – 12th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

183 yards of both beauty and menace. The green looks tiny from the tee, the bunkers sweep up anything that's short or slightly off line and the rough grass on either side only adds to the mental torture - and the exhilaration if you manage to escape with a par or, dare I even say it, better. SC

Hollinwell – 13th

A testing 182-yard donkey drop where working out how the elevation will affect your shot is crucial if you wish to avoid the six bunkers which guard all angles of the green. The tall tree to the back of the green and the heather frame your target perfectly. HH

Burnham & Berrow – 14th

best par 3 holes in great britain and ireland

A wonderfully tough hole that slopes away at every side. Miss this two-tiered green and par is unlikely. The 192-yard Old Mill is named after a nearby derelict mill made famous as the site of a murder many years ago. And you'll be happy to survive with par. AP

Portmarnock – 15th

Arnold Palmer played his first links golf back in 1960 at Portmarnock and described this 204-yard hole as the best par 3 he had ever played. He wasn’t far wrong – with the beach to the right and a green protected by bunkers and run-offs, it’s close to perfection. DM

Dartmouth (Championship) – 18th

best par 3 holes in great britain

You either love or hate a par 3 with a dramatic change in elevation. And you either love or hate a par-3 finishing hole. I love both.

I am, however, not a fan of long par 3s, but I’ll make an exception for Dartmouth’s 204-yard 18th because it’s as fun as it gets. AP

So, which of the best par-3 holes in Great Britain and Ireland did we miss? Let us know in the comments below, or you can tweet us.

Don't forget to check out our NCG Top 100s rankings to see where your favourite course comes.

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