Some of the most iconic holes in golf are par-3s.
Sure, the spectacular settings at each are a big part of the draw, but there’s no requirement to make a memorable par-3.
Although they are the shortest holes in golf, nothing about the ones listed above are easy, and they show that par-3 holes come in a variety of ways.
The confluence of factors from elevation, wind and pin position can completely change how a par-3 hole plays from day to day, adding to the intimidation. But when you make the stroke on a par-3, there are few greater satisfactions in golf.
“A good par-3 is a hole that requires you to stop and think before you grab your club and hit the ball.” Bill Hobsonlongtime host and creator of “Michigan Golf Live”, said in early June. “It’s a hole that gives you a fair chance for a birdie, but not an easy one. It’s one you talk about after your round with your mates. You relive what happened on that hole.”
With more than 650 public golf courses in Michiganthere are at least a few thousand par-3s to choose from.
We set out to find some of the standouts, landing on the 10 below with help and descriptions from Michiganders and Hobson.
Household Notes: This is not scientific. It’s impossible to play every par-3 in the state. And we didn’t consider holes on only par-3 courses.
Honorable Mentions: Bay Harbor (Links) No. 4, Greystone No. 16, Black Lake No. 5, Wild Bluff No. 15 and many others.
THE VERY BEST:Ranking of Michigan’s Top 20 Public Golf Courses for 2023
Eagle Eye 17th hole
Where: East Lansing.
Yardage: 146 Championship/Black, 126 Blue, 102 White, 83 Forward.
How to play it: “Commitment. That’s the first thing you need when teeing up the daunting 17. The exact strategy can vary based on which tee box you’re playing, as the angles are quite different despite the fact that the distance between the tees isn’t so big. But generally the safest course of action is to aim for the middle of this green and accept that you might have a hard putt or two. Watch out for some gusts that occasionally occur around the green and don’t be afraid of clubbing up a bit..” – Free Press sports writer Andrew Birkle
Why it’s great: “Save a trip to TPC Sawgrass and enjoy Michigan’s own island green here at amazing Eagle Eye GC in East Lansing! Fun and memorable.” — Jackie in Rochester Hills
“It’s a true replica of #17 at TPC Sawgrass.” — Jim in South Haven
“Iconic hole for the course and most memorable par 3 in Michigan with stunning views before you even get near the tee box.” – Ryan from Romeo
Arcadia Bluffs 13th hole
Where: Arcadia Township.
Yardage: 190 championship, 181 blue, 160 white, 135 gold, 98 red.
How to play it: “Although this par 3 can be visually intimidating, remind yourself that the carry over the chasm is only 120-140 yards depending on the tee box you hit from, even if the optics tell you otherwise. Land your tee shot on it front of the green and it will advance toward the center every time. This green is subtle, so play a little less break than you think you see.” — Arcadia Bluffs
Why it’s great: “Challenging shot over a canyon with Lake Michigan along the left. Usually a strong wind in play as well. Just a beautiful golf hole.” — Chris in Canton
“It’s just a great hole, but so difficult.” — Joe from Royal Oak
“The wear, the view, it’s pretty amazing.” —Patrick Loftus
Treetops Masterpiece sixth hole
Where: Dover Township.
Yardage: 180 Black, 162 Blue, 150 White, 143 Gold, 128 Red.
How to play it: “You can’t count on it being a good shot until the ball lands. Once you make the green, don’t fall victim to misreading your putt, as this green slopes from front to back. Whatever you do . .. HOWEVER ‘DO NOT GIVE LONGER’ — Tree tops
Why it’s great: “Fantastic elevated tee with great views.” — Jim in South Haven
“#6 at Masterpiece (Treetops) is my all-time favorite. Trees behind, bunkers short and left, big drop in elevation, and figuring out the wind makes it a hair-raising shot every time you play it. But when you knocking it 5 feet from the pin, you feel like you actually know what you’re doing.” —Brian LeFranc
Sweetgrass 15th hole
Where: Harris Township.
Yardage: 168 Black, 152 Blue, 141 White, 125 Gold, 107 Red.
How to play it: “Part of the story of that hole, they have this massive bridge next to it, and there’s five of those bridges on the course, and they were all reclaimed from like old freeway projects and brought there in Amish wagons or something, it’s just crazy. It really adds a lot of character to it, and there’s fish in there and all that. If it’s windy, the green, even though it’s big, can be really, really hard to hit. It’s a beauty.” – Hobson
Why it’s great: “I like island holes, this one is great! Plus you access it via a bridge made from reclaimed material from 5 area bridges.” — Jackie in Rochester Hills
TAKE A TOUR:Ranking Michigan’s Top 10 Golf Resorts and Destinations for Your Up North Vacation
Bay Harbor (Quarry) eighth hole
Yardage: 205 Brown, 172 Purple/Orange, 139 Blue, 117 Green, 82 Silver.
How to play it: “A downhill par 3 with nothing behind it but an indescribable panorama of Little Traverse Bay. Club selection can vary up to 3 or 4 clubs more or less than normal depending on the wind. All short-short balls squirt straight into a boulder facing dam. Putting to hole locations toward the back of the green is likely to have some nasty snap to it.” — Bay Harbor
Why it’s great: “The framing of it, it makes it look like there’s nowhere to put that ball except in the bay. There’s not, there’s a lot of green there. Golfers are pretty easily visually influenced, so architects who have a good approach to how they lay out. a hole can kind of lead your eye in a different direction and that’s what it does. it’s a beautiful hole but if you’re a little intimidated by that, you get into some real trouble.” – Hobson
“If you see a picture of this hole, you’ll know why. Better island green than 17 TPC Sawgrass.” – Colin Redman
Red Hawk third hole
Where: Wilbur Township.
Yardage: 211 Black, 193 Gold, 173 White, 127 Red.
How to play it: “The par 3 third hole has a number of factors that make it the signature hole. The elevation change of over 100 feet allows for spectacular views of the Huron National Forest and is not typical of the area. It is especially beautiful when the leaves begin to change. The golfer has to carry the wetlands and a well-placed front bunker. Only to be met with one of the most challenging greens on the course. It’s a true Arthur Hills classic.” — Red Hawk
Why it’s great: “Big drop in elevation and a green that might even lead you toward the hole.” — Joe in Royal Oak
Coyote Preserve 17th hole
Where: Tyrone Township.
Yardage: 221 Black, 206 Blue, 195 White, 162 Gold, 121 Red.
How to play it: “A pearl of water from tee to green. At the end of the lake, a beautiful stone wall is angled slightly to the right. A game to the front left of the green is best. To reach the middle or right side of the large, undulating green requires a solid blow.” — Coyote Preserve
Why it’s great: “Long par 3 over water with a tight landing, a nice finishing touch to your round.” – Ryan from Romeo
“Arnold Palmer gives you a shot at one of the most rewarding golf courses in Southeast Michigan.” — Free Press sportswriter Marlowe Alter
Greywall’s sixth hole
Yardage: 188 Championship, 178 Back, 151 Middle, 137 Forward.
How to play it: “It’s not very often that we have par-3s that play steeply uphill. Even rarer that you play them in what feels like a prehistoric, cave-like environment where if you miss the shot, you don’t care with a wall of stone, and never see your ball again. It’s a tough hole. You can’t really see the ball land, so you hit a shot that you hope is good, and then you get up there and you find either , that you were right or that you weren’t.” – Hobson
Why it’s great: “Tight uphill demanding short iron shots surrounded by rock walls. Most unique and most challenging course in the state.” – James Barclay
Lakes of Taylor 17th hole
Yardage: 201 Black, 191 Blue, 177 White, 159 Gold, 120 Green.
How to play it: “It’s an impressive peninsula green where there’s no room to miss the green on three sides. There’s a bailout area to the left of the green, but it’s tough up and down depending on the pin placement. You can also miss short left. and get easier up and down back. If your tee shot finds the water, use the drop area, which plays about 80 yards.” — Lakes of Taylor
Why it’s great: “It’s all water from tee to green.” —Josh Carter
Jewel seventh hole
Where: Mackinac County.
Yardage: 245 blue, 235 white, 176 red.
How to play it: “It’s amazing, spectacular, 230-yard downhill par-3 to the peninsula green overlooking the Great Lakes. There was a moment when we had a freighter come in from the right, an actual Great Lakes cruise ship, that came in from the left and a parasailer goes off in the distance and you think, “this is ridiculous, it looks like it’s staged.’ … That hole might be among the top-5 toughest par-3s in the state, but it might also be the prettiest.” — Hobson
Why it’s great: “The jewel’s par-3 7th hole combines difficulty with breathtaking Pure Michigan scenery. Perhaps that’s why it’s ranked as one of the top 18 holes in Michigan.” — The jewel of the Grand Hotel
WORST AROUND:You have to be crazy, or just a normal golfer, to play ’10 of Michigan’s Toughest Holes’
Stay informed about what’s happening in Michigan: Subscribe to our newsletters.