Par 3s are so often the heart and soul of great golf courses. Because the golfer is meant (ideally) to go from tee to green in a single swing, they are often the most photogenic holes on a given course. The seventh at Pebble Beach, the 12th at Augusta National and the 17th at TPC Sawgrass are all iconic one-shot holes because they’ve graced pages of magazines and coffee-table books ever since they were built.
Myrtle Beach has its own iconic one-shotters, which most every veteran visitor can identify by sight. In addition, these golfers probably have a story of glory or failure on one of these holes.
Here are some of our favorite area par 3s, as chosen by the Myrtle Beach Golf Directors:
Grande Dunes Resort Club, hole 14, 244 yards
One great thing about par 3s is their variety. There are great ones that measure barely 100 yards, and others that approach and even top 250 yards. Grande Dunes’ famous 14th is of the latter sort, requiring a long iron or fairway wood from those who take it on from the tips. From there — and from most of the other tee boxes — the player faces a shot across a ravine to a narrow, long green angled from front-left to back-right. Mercifully, there is some room to bail out to the left of the putting surface, but for the golfer who isn’t satisfied making a “routine” bogey, there’s a yawning bunker protecting the front and right sides of the green, and the Intracoastal Waterway swallowing golf balls that venture a little farther right. The hole mixes challenge and intimidation with just enough playability to be fair and fun for all.
Grande Dunes, #14
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club, hole 13, 150 yards
Jack Nicklaus, who designed Pawleys Plantation in the late 1980s, built a great deal of his remarkable career around his uncanny ability to hit high iron shots that landed incredibly softly even on the firmest of greens. That’s exactly what you need at the 13th, as little less than a precise, high short iron to the green, nearly completely surrounded by marsh, will do. Had the Golden Bear had his way, the green complex would have been three times as large as it currently is. But it may well have been less memorable, and certainly less controversial. No matter: Just muster up your courage and take your best swing — and you could find yourself putting for birdie while your comrades suffer through a double-bogey on this iconic hole.
Pawleys Plantation, #13
Long Bay Club, hole 13, 156 yards
Ever since his wife Alice suggested Pete Dye build an island green at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, it has been a template hole for courses looking to gain notoriety and glossy magazine-cover love. Jack Nicklaus built one of his own at Long Bay, a few miles north and west of North Myrtle Beach, at one of the Grand Strand’s most underrated courses. This one offers somewhat more room than its famous antecedent, which fits the slightly greater length. The subtle undulations of the green can be used by experienced players to work the ball closer to the hole, somewhat diminishing the need to take on the water that guards the right edge of the green so closely. That little bit of breathing room makes this hole much more than the gimmick so many island greens end up becoming.
Long Bay Club, #13
The best thing about each of these iconic Myrtle Beach par 3s? You can book your dates with them quickly, easily and inexpensively right here at MyrtleBeachGolf.com.