A par 3 can be well protected with bunkers or surrounded by water, the green itself might be slightly elevated and have different levels to it. Or, you might have to hit over a cliff. We'll highlight 10 of the best par-3 holes in Portugal, a prime golf destination for European golfers. The courses are listed in no particular order:
Inaugurated in 1997, the Royal Golf Course was designed by American golf architect Rocky Roquemore, based on the original drawings of Sir Henry Cotton. The famous 16th running along the beach, with a cliff-top carryover is one of the most photographed holes of all golf courses in Europe. With the beach on the left and the iconic red rocks of the Algarve, you'll have to hit over two ravines to reach the green. Take a club extra just to be sure!
The Pine Cliffs Golf Course lies perched 200 feet above the golden sands and blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. The jewel of this perfectly kept course is the par 3 sixth hole. The championship tee, known as the Devil’s Parlour, is built over a ravine that requires a 197-metre carrying shot over the cliffs to a deep but narrow green. The other tees are a bit easier but still require precision.
It's quite rare to have two par 3 next to each other. Hole 14 is the first of two spectacular par threes. Set against one of the best views in golf and the westernmost point in Europe. The wind calls for a low solid shot over the deep sandy bunker. In contrast to the previous hole, the 15th hole plays downwind. A gentle tier divides the front and back halves of the green, so club selection is key to making par.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is set against the backdrop of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Accurate club selection is vital to negotiate the 9th hole, a short par 3 surrounded by renowned Monte Rei bunkers defending the green. Taking a club extra is probably the best strategy to avoid the many bunkers.
Dom Pedro Old Course Golf Club - also known as the "Grande Dame" of Algarve golf courses lies in the heart of Vilamoura. As one of the first-established layouts in the region, the Frank Pennink-design is well-regarded throughout the golfing world. The 4th hole - a medium-length par 3 - is a very scenic hole. Played over the only pond on the course, the direct route to the green includes an umbrella pine plus a frontal bunker. The sizeable green is also flanked by three other sand traps, but a good strike should overcome these mainly visual hazards.
The golf course at the Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort has received its own "real" treatment of world golf legend Severiano Ballesteros. Applying his art in the design of golf courses, the renowned golfer has created a truly exceptional golf course here, honouring the high-quality standards of the resort. The feature hole of the front nine is the 3rd, a 144m par 3 off the yellow tees to an island green, with the stunning Óbidos lagoon in the background. A short par 3, where the lake makes club selection difficult but paramount.
The first 18-hole course in the Algarve. The course was built and laid out by the three-time British Open Champion, Sir Henry Cotton, the course is as challenging as it is satisfying... and as unforgiving as it is beautiful. The 13th is one of the most demanding holes of the course. It requires a long iron and a well-struck shot slightly to the centre-left of the green to avoid the lake.
Designed by Sir Nick Faldo with strategic play in mind this championship course demands careful positioning to score well. The land at Amendoeira is dramatic and the Faldo Course has the potential to be a real talking point in the Algarve. The 11th hole is the shortest hole on the course and plays up to an angled green. The hole may be short but the green is stretched long - so long that three clubs’ distances cover the front-to-back pin placements. A waste bunker sprawls down from the right, while a cascading stream runs along the left side. The bunkers are deep and difficult.
Santo da Serra Golf Club looks over the bay of Machico, where the Portuguese navigators first landed on Madeira Island. The original course, built in 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by the famous golf architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. who created a completely new and spectacular 27-hole golf course in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes. There are three loops: Desertas, Serras and Machico. One of the most spectacular holes is the 4th hole on the Machico course, a par 3 where you need to play over a ravine filled with very dense vegetation to reach the green.
The South Course is the crown jewel of Quinta do Lago. Designed in 1974 by William Mitchell, who introduced American-standard greens, tees and bunkers to the Algarve. The course is set among umbrella pines, lakes and wild flowers, overlooking the serene Ria Formosa Natural Park. Hole 15 is an intimidating par 3 hole where you need to hit over the water to a green surrounded by pine trees. Aim for the right half of the green for a shorter carry over the water.
NOTE: If you have played any other great par 3 in Portugal that should definitely be on this list, then please let us know via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) or via our Help Center by creating a ticket.
Under the Rules of Golf and USGA guidelines, there are regulations in place to determine a par on each hole. The par for each hole is determined by the distance of a hole. There is a minimum yardage and a maximum yardage defined for a hole to be considered a par 3, par 4, or par 5. These are the yardage guidelines for par 3 holes:
There is no minimum yardage for par 3 holes, but on regulation golf courses (par-70 to par-73), most par 3s will range between 120 yards (110 meters) and 190 yards (175 meters) from the yellow tees.
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