Ireland’s Top 10 Par Threes

Kevin Markham

A view from tee to green of the challenge posed by the 16th at Royal Portrush, aptly named, Calamity. By Kevin Markham

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. Splitting hairs would be an understatement, in truth, reverse the order and few could argue but our silver medal went to hole 4 at the magnificent Royal County Down to clear the way for our favourite short hole on the island.


Royal Portrush 16th, 236/202/195 yards

If you read our No. 2 par three entry then you’ll already have guessed which hole fills our No. 1 slot. ‘Calamity Corner’ played an important part in deciding the winner of the 2019 Open Championship – and especially in determining who fell by the wayside with double bogeys.

With the two new holes (7 and 8) it meant that the famous 14th became the famous and devastatingly dangerous 16th. From the back tees you have to take on a chasm that stretches tee to green. You should walk to these tees (or size it up en route to the 8th tee) to experience the full effect. It is a terrifying 236 yards.

From the forward tees the chasm is less in your eye-line but it remains a serious threat as that vacuum of space consumes the right hand side. This is one of the highest points on the Dunluce links so the wind will be strongest as you hit towards a green. Don’t be short, don’t be right, don’t be long… all three options will see you trekking steeply down a dune with a blind shot back up. Your only bail out is front left and left… and even then it’s not easy. The green has subtle slopes but Calamity Corner is not about the green… it’s about putting the fear into your swing as you tee off. Index 6.

What do you think of our completed list?

10. Druids Glen 8th, 166/152/140 yards
9. Lahinch 5th, 154/148/143 yards
8. Co Sligo 4th, 180/164/135 yards

7. Killarney (Mahony’s Point) 18th, 174/167/153 metres
6. Waterville 12th, 200/164/144 yards.

5. Tralee 16th, 199/179/138 yards
4. Portmarnock 15th, 204/190/176 yards
3. Carne (Kilmore) 2nd, 165/147/131 metres
2. Royal County Down 4th, 229/202/159 yards

1.Royal Portrush 16th, 236/202/195 yards

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9 responses to “Ireland’s Top 10 Par Threes”

  1. Vincent Bradym avatar
    Vincent Bradym

    What about the 6th hole at virginia co cavan par 3 225 meters rough, trees, and lough ramor on right of fairway on left fairway 2 very large mature trees

  2. Pat Cashman avatar
    Pat Cashman

    Very disappointed the 10th in Hermitage GC, Lucan was not included.
    Anything from an 8th iron to a 5 iron with the River Liffey alongside the green with the wind coming up the valley.
    Please keep yourself and your family safe.

  3. Frankie avatar

    To put the cat amongst the pigeons!
    What about the 14th in The Island?

  4. GARY STEWART avatar

    I’d have made the 15th in Portmarnock no.1

  5. Brendan Conneeely avatar
    Brendan Conneeely

    Any list of Par 3’s in Irl not containing the 7th at Ballyliffin Glashedy cannot be taken seriously when i see some that are included.

  6. Brendan Conneely avatar
    Brendan Conneely

    By the way I have played them all so I know what they are like.

  7. Nigel craig avatar
    Nigel craig

    Top 10 par 3’ s in Ireland any list that doesn’t have the 7th on Glashedy and the 5th on the old course at Ballyliffin is not worth Reading 2 of the best golf holes in the world

  8. John Law avatar
    John Law

    How can the 6th at Cruit Island be ignored?

  9. kevin maguire avatar
    kevin maguire

    How about the 14th at Greenore.?

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