Alex Perry: As it’s Players week: Is the 17th at Sawgrass the best par 3 on tour?
James Savage: I think it is on the Sunday of The Players. When the sun is setting and they show those really high-angle camera or blimp shots, it’s pretty epic. Even if the leader is in front by three or four, you don’t feel like anything has been decided.
Mark Townsend: When the wind blows the 17th is hilarious to watch. When it doesn’t it’s generally a succession of players wedging on and the odd quadruple.
Mark Townsend: I think the par 3s at Augusta are generally pretty rubbish compared to the rest of it. Water brings obvious drama but don’t think they do anything for the course as a whole.
James Savage: 17 at PGA National is a good one too. Can be brutal. Really separates the men from the boys.
Alex Perry: I’m probably stealing Steve’s answer, but I love the Postage Stamp at Troon. When I was there for The Open a couple of years ago I sat in the stand for ages watching group after group come through. You can lose many hours to a good par 3.
Steve Carroll: You did steal my answer. I’ll have to think of something else now.
Alex Perry: We’ll be right here on the edge of our seats.
Steve Carroll: There aren’t many better looking par 3s than the 15th at Kingsbarns.
James Savage: I often judge a golf course on the strength of its par 3s. For some reason they just seen more memorable – or easier to remember.
Alex Perry: Nothing disappoints me more on a golf course than standing on the tee at a par 3 and looking up to see a flag over 200 yards away.
James Savage: Nothing disappoints me more on a golf course than missing the green on a short par 3.
Steve Carroll: This is one of most dispiriting things in golf – a 200-yard par 3, into the wind, and having to get the driver out.
Mark Townsend: I quite like 230+ short holes at Tour level given how few long irons they have to hit. As long as there’s some variety I think it’s fine.
James Savage: If you’ve struggled through a couple of tough par 4s and a beast of a par 5 you’re longing for a short par 3 to break it up. Any par 3 where I’m not using an iron is not really what I’m looking for.
Mark Townsend: Being able to find the green with a fairway wood is a brilliant feeling for a club player.
Alex Perry: I think these are two separate questions: What are the best par 3s you’ve played? And what are your favourite?
Steve Carroll: Same answer: 15th at Kingsbarns. I even managed to find the green – via the rocks.
James Savage: 15th at Seahouses (above).
Alex Perry: The one where you basically hit it over the sea?
James Savage: Yes sir. The course is worth playing for that one hole. The 1st and 8th at Bamburgh Castle are also great while you’re in the area.
Alex Perry: I love both of those holes.
Steve Carroll: They are both pretty special.
Alex Perry: I quite like an island green, I have to say. The 12th at Okehampton (below), which is about 90 yards and played over the edge of a cliff and over the 13th tee, is great fun. And the 4th at Bude & North Cornwall is completely separated from the rest of the course and isolated by roads.
Alex Perry: If I was building my perfect par 3, it would be on a links course on the edge of a cliff, 115 to the front, 155 to the back, an elevated tee box, but not too dramatic, maybe about 20 feet, green sloping back to front protected by bunkers front left.
James Savage: Two front bunkers and the green must slopes from back to front. The 2nd at Hillsborough is a classic example of this.
Mark Townsend: Make sure the beach is to the right so you can obsess about piping it, and just one bunker short left to give you an idea of a false front. Put a couple of grass bunkers from which you can’t putt, and make the green two-tiered. Take out the elevation changes and the beach is in bounds.
Alex Perry: I swear everyone at NCG hates elevated tee boxes. I don’t like uphill par 3s.
Steve Carroll: A proper par 3 always has a fiendish bunker… or four.