Scotland’s Best Par 3’s
The incredible golf bounty of Scotland boasts one of the most famous par-3s in the game: the “Postage Stamp” at Royal Troon. Not surprisingly, this iconic hole topped the Carr Golf Travel Team’s list of best par-3s in the birth country of golf.
Read on to learn about more of their favorites.
1. Royal Troon Hole No. 8 – “The Postage Stamp”
This iconic hole was originally called “Ailsa” due to its perfect view from the tee of Ailsa Craig, a volcanic island in the Firth of Clyde. The name was changed to reflect the smallness of the putting surface after William Park, one of golf’s first Scottish superstars along with his rival Old Tom Morris, described it as “a pitching surface skimmed down to the size of a Postage Stamp” in a magazine article.
According to Mark Byrne, “The Postage Stamp at Troon is one of the most famous holes in golf and can often be a deciding hole in the British Open.”
Benville also lists The Postage Stamp as one of his favorite holes:
“Last year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon was one of the best championships in recent memory; Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson put on a show for the ages. Aside from the fantastic final round from the two main protagonists, the supporting role was played by the infamous Postage Stamp.
A short par-3, it measured less than 125 yards for the pros teeing off at last year’s Open Championship. The tee box is perched up high overlooking a small, narrow green. The nature of links golf means that swirling winds will never make a 125-yard shot to the green a sure thing for the “greens in regulation” stats that golfers so desperately covet. However, what makes the hole even more difficult is the “coffin” bunker to the left of the green. As the name suggests, if a golfer finds himself in there, his score is rendered dead. Just ask Bubba Watson: the left-hander was going round at 5-under through seven holes when he reached the eighth tee box. What happened next was a wedge into the coffin bunker and finally two-putting for a triple bogey six.
In today’s game, when equipment and new age technology has forced golf clubs to rethink and add yardage onto most par-3s, it is refreshing to see the Postage Stamp standing the test of time and proving that not all par-3s need to exceed the 200-yard mark.”
2. Cruden Bay Hole No. 15
Measuring 195 yards from the championship tees, this bedeviling par-3 is played from a tee box set amongst the dunes. A large hill between the tee and green completely obstructs the view of the pin and the wind provides an added challenge as the hole plays along the sea.
“The tee box is flanked on its right by Cruden Bay Beach and the North Sea making it reminiscent of many a great links setting,” says Mike Brassil. “The target from the tee box is a juggernaut of a slanted sand dune. You have to dissect the dune and completely trust the fact that you are hitting into the abyss with nothing to guide you but an erect pole planted halfway up the dune. This pole is your only indication that a green does in fact lie somewhere beyond the great gigantic dune. The sense of relief when you find your ball nestled safely on the green is inestimable. On exiting the green, there is a rope attached to a bell. A quick tug of the rope rings the bell and alerts the group behind that you have safely exited the green, which only adds to the hole’s charm.”
3. The Old Course at St Andrews Hole No. 11
This hole makes the list due to its historical significance, but not in the way you might think. Sure it’s part of the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world, but the charm (and difficulty!) of the No. 11 comes from the 20th century and the immortal Bobby Jones.
“The 11th on the Old Course at St Andrews is unofficially named after Bobby Jones,” says Peter Keighery. “The first time he played it in 1921 in the Open Championship, he went into a bunker, took four swipes and, when he couldn’t get out of the bunker, walked off the course. He came back six years later and won The Open!”
The win made Jones the first amateur to win back-to-back Open Championships as he won the previous year at Royal Lytham & St Annes. He went on to win one more Open Championship in 1930 at Royal Liverpool.
4. The North Berwick Golf Club Hole No. 15 – “The Redan Hole”
Rounding out the list is perhaps the greatest par-3 of them all: the original Redan hole at North Berwick. While yardage is important – at 190 yards, this mid-range par-3 requires a longer club – it represents only the initial challenge of this captivating hole. With a green sloping strongly from right to left, accuracy is essential. Miss the putting surface and you’ll have to contend with one of the many bunkers protecting the green.
“This is one of the most copied par-3s in golf,” says Byrne of the 15th hole. “Design-wise, it is one of the most interesting.”