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Popularity of par 3 golf courses

By Ed Townsend
Posted 9/17/21

The popularity of par-3 golf courses has yet to get its teeth into our Sullivan County turf, although many local golfers talk about their great experience playing the 18-hole Executive Golf Course at …

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Popularity of par 3 golf courses

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The popularity of par-3 golf courses has yet to get its teeth into our Sullivan County turf, although many local golfers talk about their great experience playing the 18-hole Executive Golf Course at the Winding Hills Golf Club in nearby Montgomery, Orange County. This beautifully designed par-3 golf course really tests your game, and golfers keep asking why there is not a par-3 course in Sullivan County.

When the new owners of the Roscoe Twin Village Golf Course purchased the club several years ago, there was some talk about adding several new tees so that Twin Village could support their nine hole course and a par-3 course. There had been talk years ago that par-3 golf courses were nothing more than disposable facilities, too small to mean much for the game of golf. This is due, in large part, to the focus being on big courses being built.

The focus has shifted in recent years, as highlighted by Tim Gavrich’s article on GolfPass.com. “Amid the post-Great Recession slowdown in big-course construction, short courses are having a moment. Actually, they’re having a decade. They have popped up in all corners of golf in recent years.” He goes on to explain how smaller courses can surprise golfers of all ages and skill levels with the amount of golfing pleasure that they have to offer. “If its first two years are any indication, the 2020s will be a big decade for small golf. The list of par-3 courses that have come online in 2020 and 2021 is staggering, and there’s a lot more where that came from starting in 2022, too.”

After his estimation regarding the future of small golf, Gavrich launches into a history about par-3 courses. “Dating back to 1895, with golf played on the grounds centuries earlier, the Bruntsfield Links Short Hole Golf Club is the gloriously simple forerunner to modern-day par-3 courses. “Short-form golf has been part of the game since its origins in Scotland. Golf has been played over Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Links since the 1400s, and the current Bruntsfield Links Short Hole Club’s 36-hole pitch-and-putt routing has been used since 1895. The Wee Course, or Children’s Course, at North Berwick dates back to 1888. Other early par-3 courses of note in Scotland include the Dinvin Course at Portpatrick Golf Club (1912) and Glemeagles Hotel (1928). Several other clubs have a short course that accompanies the main layout, and there are scores of par-3 courses in the style of super-short pitch-and-putts throughout Great Britain and Ireland.”

Gavrich’s historical timeline of these small courses makes them seem like a nice idea for a different way of playing golf. However, the short-holed courses were not always as well maintained as they are today. “Many of these courses are, understandably, rudimentary: cheap and cheerful places to stretch the legs and try and wedge it close on greens that are often shaggy. It took a while before a more formal par-3 course experience could emerge, particularly in America.

“It took no less an institution than Augusta National Golf Club to legitimize the par-3 course stateside. Alister MacKenzie had provided for the building of a nine-hole “approach and putt course” in his 1932 course plan, but it wasn’t until 1958 that George Cobb and chairman Clifford Roberts built the club’s Nine Hole Course. The institution of the Par-3 Contest beginning at the 1960 Masters granted unprecedented visibility to short-form golf.”

The future seems bright for this alternative way to play golf, and even though par-3 golf courses have not made their way to Sullivan County, it is definitely something that local golfers should get out and experience.

Ed’s Outlook

Well Golfers, it’s the middle of September, and next week we switch to our Bowling Highlights column. There are still some golf league playoffs taking place and we encourage league managers to take pictures of your league champions and send them along with the information to bghtnews@aol.com.

This will be the wrap-up for Golfing Highlights and God willing and the creek don’t rise we will be back in the spring of 2022. To all of our golfers, we wish you good health. Stay safe and remember there are still many weeks of good golfing weather ahead. We also want to thank golf league managers and golf professionals for their great help in providing us with league standings and stats.

Golf Tip

By Robert Menges

There is always a lot of talk around the golf course about pitching and distance control. You know, a lot of people stand up here with a good setup and pitch, and they’re just not sure how to perform. These golfers are not sure if they should take a longer club, and if you’re faster or slower based on the club selection. There are a million ways to control the distance. I always tell golfers, when you’re pitching we want to go shorter first.

A good tip to remember when pitching is: make sure that your rear shoulder is moving through the golf ball. As the rear shoulder continues to move, the hands won’t take over. Important: when we are setting up, put the ball in the center for a normal chip shot. Speed is a factor in controlling the distance, and practice makes perfect.

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