Ireland has a vast range of amazing short holes… from ocean drama to hilltop happiness to the terrors in the trees. We can all make birdies… we can all make double bogeys but whatever our score, we all love a great par three.
Picking a top ten is unbelievably tough, mainly because of the amazing holes that have to be left out. We started at number 10 on Tuesday – the 8th hole at Druids Glen – followed by number 9 – the famous ‘Dell’ hole, the 5th at Lahinch – followed by number 8, the first of a great collection of par threes, hole 4 at Co Sligo – at number 7 we chose the superb finishing hole at Killarney – 18 on Mahony’s Point while coming in at 6 was one for the worshippers, the 12th aptly named ‘Mass Hole’ at Waterville.
On Monday we entered the top 5 ahead of Friday’s reveal of our favourite short hole on the island of Ireland. At number 5 sat a hole capable of causing devastation, Shipwreck, the 16th obstacle at Tralee followed by a hole many of you had been calling out for, the 15th at Portmarnock. Taking bronze was the lunar experience that is the 2nd hole on Carne’s Kilmore nine… and then there were two.
We couldn’t have a list of Ireland’s best par threes without this one… could we?
Royal County Down 4th, 229/202/159 yards
When it comes to the most discussed par threes on the island of Ireland, there are two that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Separating them is almost impossible as they are both on courses ranked among the best in the world.
At Royal County Down, after three holes heading straight out above the beach, the turn at the 4th tee is one of this remarkable course’s most dramatic moments. Now you are playing back towards the clubhouse, the spire of the Slieve Donard Hotel and the mighty Mourne Mountains beyond. If you’re lucky enough to play here in late Spring/early Summer you will have a sea of fiery gorse all around you. And somewhere in all that gorse and dunes is a perfect green.
The farther back you go, the higher the tees, the more you will see of the green. The tees step up through the dunes and, if you have the opportunity walk to the back tees and take a look. It offers a very different perspective from the back, with the most noticeable revelation being some room short of the green. There’s not much (maybe 7-8 yards) but it does give you an extra option… and added hope. From the more forward tees you just won’t see this. Wherever you play from, the putting surface looks like it’s floating in the gorse. There are no tricks to the green but the fall-offs curl around three sides.