Par-3 courses are amazing, as they are a showcasing of the best holes in golf; par-3s. One course that is easily one of the world’s best short courses is The Links at Terranea.
Designed by Todd Eckenrode in 2009, this par-3 gem is epic with water surrounding the entire course. It features some great bunker placement, making for a fun test as the sound of the ocean echoes in the background.
Right off the bat, The Links at Terranea starts off with a 123 yarder with bunkers in multiple directions, including two to the left of the green and one on the right side, connected to the green. Luckily, the putting surface is one of the biggest on the course, so you’ll be rewarded for executing a well-hit tee shot.
From the first, you head to the shortest hole on the course, a fun 104 yarder with bunkers around the green, most notably, a small sand trap that sits right in front of the green. To put it simply, this hole is about power control. Hit it too far, and you’ll meet a sandy demise behind the green, hit it too short, and the offspring of the back bunkers will bite you.
It’s one of the most fun holes on the course, and its uniquely short length adds to the intrigue. Eckenrode gets in your head on the third hole, as you go from the shortest to the second longest hole on the course.
The third hole, known as “Captain’s Bluff” is arguably the most beautiful hole on the course (although it’s insanely hard not to pick all holes as “most beautiful”), with a breathtaking view of the ocean behind the green. Although there are ocean views on nearly every hole, the third may be the closest to the edge of the cliff.
As mentioned, it’s a long hole at 172 yards so be ready to pull out your long iron to tackle this boss battle (like in video games) combo of beauty and beast. Although there is a big bunker to the left, your biggest threat are the two traps that await to the right of the green so the key is to keep your shot left.
Similar to the first hole, the golf gods will bless you for your solid tee shot, as the green is fairly big in size. Sink your putt, and we move on to the fourth hole bunkers surround the green.
However, overhitting your tee shot wouldn’t be such a bad thing, as you’d end up in the rough rather than a pesky bunker. The putting surface seems friendly too, so if you can nail it, you’ll have a g0od shot at birdie, otherwise, get ready to build some sand castles.
The fifth may be the most exciting hole on the course, being slightly elevated on the tee and aiming downwards to the green. It’s also the second shortest hole on the course at 115 yards.
With not much hazardous trouble to worry about, this hole is all about picking the right club. Similar to the legendary seventh hole at Pebble Beach, it’s important that you don’t find your ball ballooning in the breeze. The only difference is that the seventh at Pebble is much more elevated than five at Terranea.
Have fun with this hole, as you enjoy yet another great ocean view.
The sixth hole features some bunkering but they aren’t in play as much as you think. Once you hit the green, however, it’s about reading the slopes well, as this may be the trickiest green on the course.
Two putting is not a bad thing here, and if you’re a good lag putter, then more power to you. The sixth is all about putting on your best Ben Crenshaw, Brad Faxon or Jordan Spieth shades when putting on the green.
Just like the sixth, the seventh is about testing your putting skills. A well placed tee shot is essential as well due to the sloping of the green, however, just reaching the green is fine. If your putting is hot, then this could be a solid birdie opportunity.
You complete your round with two terrific finishing holes, starting with the eighth, the longest one shotter on the course at 173 yards. Depending on wind direction, you may need to club up. If you aim towards the right side of the green, you may have a good look at birdie, however, you’d have to carry the bunker that blocks that side.
Aiming left may be the safest option off the tee, but if you miss, a bunker will have a grave ready for your ball. If you feel you can carry the bunker on the right, however, then go for it.
We hit the road on the dramatic ninth hole known as “Whale Road” which features both tree and ocean views alike, making for a great, naturistic finish. The design is pretty straightforward with a couple of bunkers to the left and right of the green. The key here is to be accurate, and although that sounds like a cliche, it’s essential on this hole.
In short, the ninth is will test your accuracy as good as any hole on any par-3 course in the world. This, while challenging you with the beauty that stares you in the face.
Hit it straight, get your birdie or par, and you’ll complete a round on one of the greatest par-3 courses in the world. If you’re a fan of short golf courses such as myself, The Links at Terranea is simply a gem on the west coast.
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Colin GP Mieczkowski
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