From Top of the Rock to Bandon Preserve, the top 10 par-3 golf courses open to the public



The Bass Pro Shop Legends of Golf has spotlighted the terrific par-3 course, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Top of the Rock at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. (Courtesy of Top of the Rock)
No. 10: The Short Course at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Ala. is one of several par-3 courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. (Courtesy of RTJ Golf Trail)
No. 9: Barn Hollow at Hawk's View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, Wis. is an 18-hole, par-3 course located at one of the area's best daily-fee courses. Like the regulation course, the par-3 course is a treat to play. (Courtesy of Hawk's View GC)
No. 8: The lighted Cloud 9 Course at Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas features several replica holes, including the famous 17th island green at TPC Sawgrass. (Courtesy of Angel Park G.C.)
No. 7: Origins Golf Club in Watersound on the Emerald Coast of Florida is an exceptionally maintained Davis Love III layout that was designed to be flexible. (Ed Schmidt/Golf Advisor)
No. 6: The Links at Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. isn't exactly a pitch-and-putt. All nine holes offer a view of the ocean. (Todd Eckenrode/Origins Golf Design)
No. 5: Designed by Damian Pascuzzo and Steve Pate, the 12-hole Challenge Course at Monarch Dunes in San Luis Obispo, Calif. was designed to be super flexible. Although it's technically a par-3 course, some holes can border on short par 4s. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
No. 4: Redesigned by Raymond Floyd, the all-paspalum Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course on the east coast of Florida is an 18-hole course with views of the Atlantic or Intercoastal Waterway on every hole. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
No. 3: Every hole is terrific at Threetops at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich., former home of ESPN's Par 3 Shootout. But the sixth may be the best and most beautiful. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
No. 2: Top of the Rock at Big Cedar Lodge in Hollister Mo., near Branson, is Jack Nicklaus' only par-3 design and one of the most spectacular in the world. (Courtesy of Top of the Rock)
No. 1: Fittingly, the best par-3 course is at America's top golf resort: Bandon Preserve at Bandon (Ore.) Dunes, where you can see the Pacific Ocean on all 13 holes. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)

The recent Bass Pro Shop Legends of Golf had a separate par-3 event -- featuring the likes of Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player -- that was played on the spectacular Top of the Rock par-3 course, which overlooks Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo. It reminded us once again how much fun a good par-3 course can be.

Which brings us to this: Where does Top of the Rock, designed by Johnny Morris with Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, rank among the best short courses in the United States? And what are the top 10 par-3 courses? Not all of them are nine or 18 holes, by the way. One is 12 holes, and our top-ranked par-3 course in America is 13 holes. So scroll through the photos to find out. Enjoy.

Top 10 par-3 courses open to the public

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10. Short Course at Magnolia Grove

Mobile, Ala.

9. Barn Hollow at Hawk's View Golf Club

Lake Geneva, Wis.

8. Cloud 9 at Angel Park Golf Club

Las Vegas, Nev.

7. Origins Golf Club

Watersound, Fla.

6. The Links at Terranea

Palos Verdes, Calif.

5. Challenge Course at Monarch Dunes

Nipomo, Calif.

4. Palm Beach Par 3

Palm Beach, Fla.

3. Threetops Course at Treetops Sylvan Resort

Gaylord, Mich.

2. Top of the Rock at Big Cedar Lodge

Hollister, Mo.

1. Bandon Preserve

Bandon, Ore.

May 03, 2016

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.


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