10 tips for hitting more greens on tough par 3s


A good par-3 game starts off the tee.

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For amateur golfers, especially beginners, par 3s always bring with them the possibility of a good score. All it takes is one good shot to get a putt. This is why so many golfers often have their first pars on par 3 holes.

But no matter how good you are at golf, hitting the green on your tee shot is still the most important goal of par 3 holes. Here are some suggestions that might help you do just that.

1. Start with solid contact

Hitting the green on a par 3 becomes so much more likely with good solid contact. And with good contact comes good fundamentals: hold the handle in your fingers, not your palms, make sure your arms hang below your shoulders, and you bend correctly from your hips for good posture.

2. Break the tee

Many golfers will try to lift the ball off the tee to send the ball through the air with an iron, causing them to hit the ball thin. My advice is to think the opposite: Hit the tee to break the tee. Thinking about breaking off the tee will help you hit the ball downhill for better contact.

3. Know your numbers

Effectively hitting the green on a par 3 requires knowing how far you hit your club distances in the air – your carry distances. You can do this on the range by finding the distances to various targets on the range, or better yet, with a golf pro and a launch instructor.

4. Find the best angle on the tee

When you go to place your tee in the ground on a par 3, don’t place it haphazardly anywhere on the tee. Find the best angle to approach the green without having to step over an obstacle like a hazard or bunker. You can learn how to do this by walking to the furthest sides of the starting box and seeing which side gives you the best angle to your target. Often, stepping to an extreme side can make the green appear much larger or more open or help avoid hazards that may get in your way.

5. Work the wind

Again, where you put your tee in the ground on a par 3 can help deal with wind and low birdie putts. It can be very helpful to try leaning into the wind to minimize the bend in your golf ball. If the wind is blowing from left to right, place the tee on the right side of the tee box so you have to lean into the wind. When aiming directly into the wind, the ball will tend to curve less, making the flight more predictable.

6. Aim for the safest part of the green

I believe some pins are incidental. On smaller greens in particular, it may make more sense to aim for the largest part of the green. Aiming for more of the green can allow you to miss the shot slightly and still be on the green.

7. Avoid extremely short game shots

When you are off the green, where you miss the golf ball is extremely important, allowing you to have the most reliable short game option. If leaving the ball a little short of the green can allow you to putt or chip, rather than having to throw over a bunker, then when choosing your club, the shortest club would obviously be the Good choice. As you get to know your course, you’ll know where the best place to miss your golf ball is so you can more easily hit short game shots to different pin locations.

8. Customize the clubs in your bag

Different courses and conditions can make particular clubs useful. On several occasions I have added a particular club to a student’s bag for a particular par 3 that they often play on their home course. There are shorter par 3s which can be very difficult for golfers with low club head speed to carry bunkers and hold the green. Adding an extremely loft hybrid like can help you hold the green, even if you don’t use it much other places.

9. Hit more knockdowns

Some days the ball goes straighter than others, so what could you do on those twisty days? I think the ability to hit an overhand shot is a great option for hitting the ball straighter.

A traditional overturn shot would have the golf ball positioned slightly back in your stance, with your weight starting and remaining on your front foot, which will tilt the shaft slightly producing less loft and a lower ball flight. A slightly shorter two-sided swing where the arms and body work together in perfect synchronization back and across often leads to a straighter, lower ball flight that can be more reliable.

10. Practice your aim

The ability to aim for your clubface and align your body is a learned skill that takes focus and practice. I suggest spending some of your practice time on the range with an alignment aid to help train your eye what it looks like when aiming and aligning correctly.

I know that when I’m aiming correctly it often feels a bit too awkward, but I know that’s my tendency and I’ve gotten used to it. You can train your eye how it looks to aim correctly. You can also practice on the course if you were away when the course is not busy. Take your alignment aid and put it down and learn what it looks like when aiming correctly.