Would you like to take a crack at these classic par 3 golf holes?
Valley View Golf Course near Galion was the destination this week for my traveling group. Always one of my favorite golf courses, the “views” are breathtaking. The greens are quick and undulating, but the beauty of the layout takes the sting out of the multiple three putts you are likely to experience.
One of my favorite holes on any course is the par 3 second at Valley View. A short 120-yard downhill shot to a green protected by bunkers and a creek awaits the golfer. Not a tough hole necessarily, but it is indeed a picturesque scene.
Over the years I looked forward to reaching par 5’s in two shots or driving a par 4. With diminished length off the tee, I now enjoy playing the par 3’s. After all, the chance for the biggest thrill in the game takes place every time you tee it up.
There would be no hole-in-one on this day, but a nice tee shot left me with an eight foot birdie try. The ball failed to catch any part of the cup, but again, a tap in par is always welcomed.
As I left the green my mind wandered to what it would be like to play some of the more famous par 3’s in golf. A few holes came to mind immediately. Here is a short list of those holes that I THINK would be a blast to play. We’ll see if you agree.
The 17th at TPC Sawgrass — When you watch the Players Championship you don’t want to miss any footage of the pros taking on this Pete Dye designed island green. Watching the reactions of the best players in the world is priceless. Those emotions run from relief to unbridled joy to total disgust.
Now I would prefer to have a bucket of balls to see how many I could get to land — and STAY — on the putting surface. Knowing that is not likely, my only other requirement would be to not have thousands of people surrounding the hole watching my futile efforts.
I would be using a different club than the pros and would hope that if lucky enough to find the putting surface, a seagull would not swoop in and pick up the ball before flying off and dropping it into the water. All of you serious golf fans know that happened once!
As much fun as trying to hit the green would be, putting might be just as exciting. Depending on the hole location, you could have some crazy putts. Just FYI, I would not be shooting for the pin — just the island.
The 16th at TPC Scottsdale — The rowdiest hole on the PGA Tour, it would not likely be all that exciting to play with no one around. Of course, getting 16,000 spectators to watch me play is not going to happen, so I would be willing to tee it up during the Phoenix Open.
People come out early to stake their seats on the 16th. They spend the day imbibing and rating the tee shots they observe. Hitting the green is not enough for these folks. You need to be close to the pin to get an ovation here. And pity the golfer who misses the green. Yes, those are boos you are hearing.
Maybe I could play the amateur card…
The 8th at Oakmont — The longest par 3 on the PGA Tour, the eighth measured 288 yards on one occasion. When Paul Goydos visited the course he remarked that it was the only hole in championship golf that could be used for both the long drive and closest to the pin contests that many tournaments hold.
Seriously a par 3 playing 288 yards!?! It reminds me of a par 3 that I used to play at Linden Hall, a course south of Pittsburgh (interestingly enough Oakmont is north of the Steel City). When we reached the 230-yard plus hole, I stayed in the cart as the group ahead of us was still putting.
The next thing I knew one of my guys hit his shot. I was amazed and pointed out the obvious. I think my exact words were “what are you doing, they are still on the green?” His reaction was nonchalant. “I can’t reach them.”
He was correct of course. The 8th at Oakmont is 60 yards longer. A wedge will likely be needed here, but on the second shot!
The 14th at Coeur d’ Alene Resort Golf Course — This course in Idaho is located in the city and near the lake with the same name as the resort. I drove through Coeur d’ Alene on a trip many years ago and was struck by the beauty of the lake. I did not know that a golf course was there or I would have stopped to see the 14th.
The island green is suspended on cables in the lake! You have to take a boat out to the green to finish playing the hole. I would give you the exact yardage that the hole plays, but I can’t. Because the green is suspended on cables, it moves with the waves.
Now that’s just what I need. The game is tough enough without having to shoot at a moving target!
I would love to take a crack at any or all of these great golf holes. The beauty of my surroundings would take away all the disappointment of totally butchering the hole.
Well, maybe not all of it…
Al Stephenson is The A-T’s golf columnist.
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