The 9 Courses In Our Top 100 That Start Or Finish With Par 3s

One-shot holes to start or finish a round may be rare among our Top 100 courses, but they do exist in limited numbers…

The Berkshire Blue course 1st hole
The daunting task facing you on the 213-yard 1st hole on the Blue course at The Berkshire
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Five courses in the Golf Monthly UK&I Top 100 course rankings tee off on a short hole, but the word ‘short’ is a bit of a misnomer for all five measure 200+ yards off the tips.

And two of our quartet of closing par 3s also stretch to over 200 yards!

There are four par 3 18th holes in our top 100 - there to test out your ball striking right until the end of the round where a solid iron, hybrid or fairway wood is required before you get to enjoy a post-round beverage.

Opening par 3s


Royal Lytham & St Annes 1st hole

The 1st at Royal Lytham is the Open rota's only par-3 opener

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

The most famous of our opening par 3s is the only one on the list of Open rota courses. Royal Lytham and St Annes’ 1st hole can stretch to 206 yards off the blue tees, with five bunkers closely guarding the entrance to the green.

It is possibly an easier angle off those back tees as you are playing directly between the left and right bunkers. From the left-hand tees you have little choice but to carry it over the left-hand traps.


A par 3 at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club

The 1st at Southport & Ainsdale plays to a well-bunkered green 202 yards away

(Image credit: Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club)

Just four yards shorter, a little way back down the north-west coast, the 1st at James Braid’s Southport and Ainsdale is perhaps just as tough on account of five more deep pot bunkers to avoid with your opening long iron or hybrid.

Mind you, there were even more until the most recent course works here.


Liphook Golf Club 1st hole

Looking back up the long par-3 opener at Liphook in Hampshire

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Heading down south, Liphook, The Berkshire (Blue) and Walton Heath (Old) all open with long and testing par 3s.

Liphook’s is the shortest of the trio at 203 yards and does at least play downhill from a tee very close to the 18th green and clubhouse. Missing right is highly likely as the slopes will kick the ball that way, but with a good lie, getting up and down from here is easier than from the left as you are chipping back into the slope.


The Berkshire Blue course 1st hole

A view from behind the 1st on the Blue course at The Berkshire

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Next in terms of length is the 213-yard 1st on The Berkshire’s Blue course, which may just be the toughest of all our opening one-shotters.

The green is a good size, but between you and the target lies a sea of heather in a big dip, while anything pin-high but drifting right is likely to kick some way down the steep greenside slope.


Walton Heath Old 1st hole

The 1st on Walton Heath's Old course is the longest opening par 3 in our Top 100

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Walton Heath Old’s opener is longest of all off the tips at 235 yards, and even off the shortest tees it’s still 193 yards.

It is the only hole the clubhouse side of the Dorking Road and plays over very flat terrain, but the big bunker short-right can prove a very popular – or indeed, unpopular – spot for nervy or stiff opening tee-shots.

Closing par 3s


The Berkshire Red course 18th hole

The 18th on the Red course at The Berkshire plays slightly uphill to a two-tier green

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s back to The Berkshire for the shortest of our closing par 3s at 175 yards, but this time on the Red course where it is the last of six short holes.

It does play uphill, though, to quite a long, two-tier green so invariably plays a club or two more than its yardage.


Saunton West course 18th hole

The 18th green on Saunton's West course is protected by two deep front bunkers

(Image credit: Saunton Golf Club)

Also not quite making it to 200 yards is the 193-yard finale on Saunton’s West course in Devon.

A dune short-right of the green and deep bunkers either side at the front mean that only the most accurate or well-flighted of shots will find the narrow-fronted green.


Parkstone Golf Club 18th hole

The green on Parkstone's finale can prove pretty elusive some days

(Image credit: Parkstone Golf Club)

Not quite so far west, the 18th at Parkstone in Dorset is a beautifully framed but very tough 201-yarder.

Miss left and you’ll either find sand or watch your ball kicking away down the bank. Miss short-right and, if you avoid the sand, you still have a pretty decent chance of getting it up and down for par.


Royal St David's 18th hole

Stay out of the sand to close our your round nicely at Royal St David's in Harlech

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finally, to Wales where the closing hole at Royal St David’s in Harlech is exactly the same length as Parkstone’s off the tips.

After a thrilling rollercoaster ride through the dunes on the back nine, the 18th looks quite flat and innocuous by comparison as you play towards the distant mountains with the imposing castle away to your right, But don’t be fooled, for there is much sand to avoid if you’re to close things out with a safe par or maybe even a birdie.

Back-to-back par 3s

With good balance throughout the round often the hallmark of our very best courses, back-to-back par 3s are pretty elusive in this exalted company.

But here are five courses in our latest rankings that do boast back-to-back par 3s, nearly all over 100 years old (West Sussex has eight years to go).

West Sussex Golf Club 5th hole

The delightful 5th at West Sussex is the first of consecutive par 3s

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Ballybunion (Old)14th - 133 yards15th – 216 yards
West Sussex5th - 157 yards6th – 222 yards
Gleneagles (Queen’s)13th - 140 yards14th – 215 yards
Cruden Bay (Championship)15th – 195 yards16th – 172 yards
Machrihanish (Championship)15th – 166 yards16th – 232 yards
Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response