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They are the site of more holes-in-one, group photos, and overall memorable moments than just about any type of golf hole. Yet they’re diminutive, typically ranging from around 100 yards to just over 200 yards in length. We’re talking about par 3s. In this two-part series (check out Part 1 here), we’re tipping our caps to Golf Island’s Top 10 One-Shot Wonders. Take dead aim at the pin, and here we go with Part 2 …
No. 7, Harbour Town Golf Links, The Sea Pines Resort
Harbour Town Golf Links arguably houses the best set of par 3s among America’s modern courses. All four could easily make this list. For example, the 14th is one of the most daunting one-shotters on the PGA TOUR, with water running diagonally along the right side of the green. However, we’re casting our vote for the seventh hole, with its famous bean-shaped green that sprung from the mind of architect Pete Dye. Dye came upon two prodigious live oaks while clearing land for the hole corridor, both too regal to remove. To this day, they serve as natural goal posts, and have deflected thousands of tee shots into the sand and water surrounding the green complex.
No. 8, Robert Trent Jones Course, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
The par 5 10th hole, with its elevated green overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, gets most of the attention at Palmetto Dunes’ Robert Trent Jones Course. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a formidable set of par 3s that were bolstered by Jones’ former protégé Roger Rulewich. The best of the lot is the 227-yard 8th hole, which calls for a 200-yard carry over water from the back tees. The green is incredibly shallow for a one-shotter of this length and three greenside bunkers in front and to either side of the green complex further torment golfers.
No. 15, Robber’s Row
Georgia native George Cobb and North Carolina native Willard Byrd teamed up to create Port Royal Golf and Racquet Club’s seminal course. Pete Dye would return to modernize the layout in 1994 and add a bevy of signature Dye touches. The 15th hole is the Robber’s Row’s signature par 3 and is easily its most challenging one-shotter. One of the island’s largest bunkers stretches from tee to green and hooks around the right side of the green complex in a claw-like shape. As a peace offering, Dye expanded the size of the putting surface providing ample opportunity for refuge.
No. 4, Heron Point by Pete Dye, The Sea Pines Resort
His name comes up frequently on this list for a simple reason: Pete Dye is inarguably the greatest designer of par 3s in the modern era. At Heron Point, Dye and his team completely redesigned the old Sea Marsh course in 2007 and returned in 2014 to further refine his work and soften several undulating green complexes. Dye masterfully mixes the lengths of the par 3s at Heron Point and presents golfers with the brawniest of the four right out of the gate. No. 4 plays 239 yards from the tips, forcing golfers to play a long iron, hybrid or even fairway metal into a green guarded short and left by bunkers and short and right by water.
No. 4, Hilton Head National
The front nine at Hilton Head National was designed by Bobby Weed, one of the best golf course architects many golfers aren’t familiar with. Pete Dye was Weed’s mentor and dear friend, but the Irmo, S.C. native forged his own path with numerous award-winning solo designs. At “National,” he teamed with Gary Player, whose back nine pairs harmoniously with Weed’s work. The par-3 fourth is the No. 17 handicap hole for men and women, but never seems to play that easy. A waste bunker nearly spanning tee to green is visually intimidating and compels golfers to take too much club. No. 4’s two-tiered green is the largest on the course, producing more three putts than any other hole.
For more information on the courses and resorts of Hilton Head Golf Island, visit or www.hiltonheadgolfisland.com or call (800) 523-3373.
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