When you think about PGA Tour golfers you probably picture long hitters sending 300-plus-yard drives soaring through the air. Many holes on the tour, however, require finesse and a much shorter shot. Any par-3 hole is designed so the player can reach the green in one shot, but the tour’s shortest par-3 holes typically feature special hazards that challenge even the best pro golfers.
Pebble Beach No. 7
The shortest hole on the PGA Tour as of 2012 is the seventh hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. This public course plays host to the AT&T National Pro-Am as well as the occasional U.S. Open or PGA Championship. The seventh hole normally plays at 106 yards off the back tee, although the distance inches up to 109 yards for major championship play. It’s far from the course’s most challenging hole, with a handicap rating of 18, but it’s not kind to slicers, since the Pacific Ocean lies just to the right as well as beyond the green, which is also ringed with six bunkers. High winds coming off the ocean may offer an additional challenge.
Among the memorable shots struck at Pebble Beach’s seventh hole was Eddie Merrins’ 1965 hole in one. Playing into heavy winds, Merrins used a 3-iron to score his ace. In 1959 John Brodie scored a long par by knocking his initial tee shot into the water, then holing his next tee shot to finish with a three, including the one-stroke penalty that followed his first attempt. Tom Kite’s victory in the 1992 U.S. Open included an unlikely birdie on No. 7. Kite hit his tee shot into high rough left of the green, then knocked his chip shot into the hole.
TPC Sawgrass No. 17
One of the PGA Tour’s shortest and most interesting holes is the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. The distance from the championship tees to the front of the green is 121 yards, while the back of the green is 146 yards away. The 3,912-square foot “island” green is almost completely surrounded by water, with just a small land bridge toward the back of the green.
Augusta National No. 12
The 12th hole at Augusta National isn’t the shortest on the PGA Tour, playing at 155 yards for the Masters, but it may be the tour’s toughest par 3. It’s aptly placed near Amen Corner, as numerous golfers have undoubtedly said their prayers before playing the hole, which features a stream in front of the narrow green, woods in back and to the green’s left, plus three bunkers.
Coeur d’Alene No. 14
The world’s most unusual par-3 hole isn’t played on the PGA Tour. The 14th green at the Coeur d'Alene course in Idaho was built on a floating barge that's moved regularly, so it plays from 95 to 200 yards. The 15,000-square-foot surface includes rough and several bunkers surrounding the green, which players reach by boat. Any golfer scoring a par receives a certificate to mark the achievement.