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There are times when playing a championship-length course is too much of a good thing for a golfer. On such occasions par-3 courses can be an appealing alternative.
Short courses present the perfect opportunity for a family outing, allowing parents to share a round of golf with children who may not be ready to take the tee on a big course. It's also a chance for beginning golfers to avoid being overwhelmed and experienced golfers to work on their short game. And either way it enables one to get in a full round of golf when you have a limited amount of time.
The course sits adjacent to lodging which makes it convenient to sandwich a round in between other activities. Located in north Escondido at the Welk Resort, the Oaks course is perfectly for a family outing with holes that average 100 yards apiece. Want a little more of a challenge? The Fountains Golf Course features eight par-4 holes, checking in at just under 4,000 yards.
Still feel like banging the ball around after spending the day at the beach? No problem. Mission Bay Golf Course is the only course in San Diego lighted for night golf. The city-owned course stretches nearly 3,000 yards, offering more length and challenges than some of the other par-3 courses listed here.
Pine Glen, located in San Diego's East County, is an 18-hole par-three golf course that will help you fine tune your game on this challenging par 3 golf course. It demands long and short tee shots, a refined short game, and superb course management to master this test of golf. From the back tees Pine Glen plays over 2400 yards.
A great place to introduce youngsters to the game, Colina is located just a few miles from Downtown San Diego. It is the home of the Pro Kids Golf Academy and San Diego's First Tee program and inspires young golfers to achieve not only in golf but in life. The 18-hole course, with holes ranging from 70 to 120 yards, was renovated in 2003 and now looks as pristine and beautiful as virtually any full-length course in the county. The clubhouse/learning center is always bustling with youngsters who take great pride in their little course.
Centrally located in the Clairemont Mesa area of San Diego, the nine-hole course adjacent to the Four Points Sheraton is a great diversion for visitors who need an activity for the kids to fill a one- or two-hour gap between seeing the sights of San Diego.
One of the most historic and oldest golf clubs in San Diego County, The Loma Club, reaching back to the 1920s when the course was built by A. G. Spalding of famed Spalding Sports. This nine-hole course features fairways ranging from 79 to 157 yards. Recent renovations overseen by renowned San Diego architect Cary Bickler include redesigned fairways, greens and practice facilities. Make sure to take a moment at hole No. 5 and enjoy the view of Downtown.
This inland North County course actually offers three different 9-hole options and enough length that if you bring the kids they should be advanced past the pitch-and-putt stage. Each nine includes three par-four holes, the longest being the 313-yard fifth hole on the South Course, enabling golfers to take the driver out of the bag a few times. Trees, water and sand provide challenges on larger courses. The greens are good and true.
Built in 1932, Presidio Hills is one of the oldest par-three courses in the nation. A good deal of the history is chronicled in the clubhouse. Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Lorena Ochoa are among the notables who won junior titles here. All of the holes are shorter than 100 yards, the longest is the 94-yard fifth hole, making Presidio the perfect place to bring the kids. However, the hollows and hills still provide a challenge for experienced golfers.
Looking for one par-3 course that stands above the rest? Reidy Creek is it. The tee boxes, fairways and greens are all well-manicured and a variety of challenges make it seem like big-time golf on a small scale. The city-owned course in Escondido features every challenge imaginable on a layout that takes advantage of the natural terrain to ensure that each holes is different from the one before it. Water greets golfers at the second hole and guards the green. The fifth features a tight tee shot to an elevated and slightly secluded green. Several of the middle holes include uphill or downhill aspects that provide a variety of different looks. The 14th hole is the longest on the course, measuring a testy 194 yards over a dry riverbed to a tiered green. The 18th green has water to the right and nature area to the left and the green is accessed by a stone bridge. After you putt out, walk back across the bridge to the patio for a post-round drink to provide a refreshing finish to your round.
The 9-hole Sun Valley course is the perfect place to drop off the kids for a day of golf and, who knows, maybe make some memories that will last a lifetime.
Another course carved into a canyon, Tecolote offers among its challenges several elevation changes, shots over the creek that winds through the course and undulating greens. Located on Snead Avenue in Clairemont, Sam Snead was one of the original investors in the 50-year-old course. Tecolote includes four par-four holes (three of them in excess of 300 yards) that allow a golfer to dust off the driver.
Acclaimed by The Golf Channel as one of the country’s best short courses, Goat Hill Park in Oceanside is a remarkable golf comeback story. This 18-hole course, which opened in 1952, was designated to be re-developed by the city until it approved a renovation plan by resident and golf apparel designer John Ashworth in 2014. Ashworth quickly revived a neglected and barren landscape to breathe new life into a course that has garnered a strong local following and support. The course features a mix of par 3s and 4s spread across undulating terrain that occasionally offers a peek of the Pacific Ocean. A free three-hole kids’ course is slated to be opened in 2018.
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