When you stand on the tee, the green looks so close it seems you could underhand the ball Five feet from the pin. For the high-handicap golfer, the short par-3 offers his best chance to glory—one smooth swing can put him just as close as the club pro. But subtle dangers often convert the slightest mistake into a bogey, or worse. On the following pages Artist Donald Moss depicts six of the most attractive—and treacherous—short par-3s in the country, none of them longer than 150 yards, and Jack Nicklaus preaches what he practices.
PRINCEVILLE, NO. 3
The tee is some 60 feet above and 125 yards away from the green, so the trick is to finesse the shot—to get the ball up into the Hawaiian trade winds and let if float down onto the putting surface. The hole requires an eight-or nine-iron for the average player, and the correct choice is important. If you hit the ball short it will plop into a small lake or a trap. Hit it too far and it will wind up in a jungle of guava, lahala and plum.
CROCKETT SPRINGS, NO. 9
From the tee one sees the rolling hills of central Tennessee (above), and about 145 yards away, a cloverleaf green interspersed with inlets of sand. The average player will choose an eight-iron, but because the winds are so variable here and because the hole plays shorter than if looks from the height of the tee, club selection can be difficult.
PINE VALLEY, NO. 10
Across a New Jersey wasteland of scrub pine (top, opposite page), 145 yards from a raised tee, lies an undulating green, virtually surrounded by sand. At its right front is a ferocious little trap known to members euphemistically as the Devil's Aperture. No wonder—there is five feet of swinging space to lift the ball 10 feet onto the green.
PEBBLE BEACH, NO. 7
The green hangs on the edge of the Pacific, surrounded by six traps, and from its elevated tee looks even smaller than it is, and that is small enough. Although only 110 yards away, the green is difficult to hit. On a calm day a good player probably would use a wedge, but when the onshore wind is blowing, the hole can require a three-iron.
MERION, NO. 13
Those familiar with this 129-yard hole call it subtle, deceptive and admirably old-fashioned. Its 5,000-square-foot green provides a good target, but the surface is slightly concave, a shallow dish that tilts to the right. Whether he is on the tee or recovering from one of the four traps, the golfer's problem is not so much getting on as getting close