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Par-3 Golf Courses

When a championship-length course is too much

There are times when playing a championship-length course is too much of a good thing for a golfer. On such occasions San Diego's par-3 courses are 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. Either way, it enables duffers to get in a full round of golf when you have a limited amount of time. Below are some awesome Par-3 options in San Diego.

Mission Bay Golf Course

Where: 2702 N Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Region: Mission Bay & Beaches
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. Located just minutes from scenic Mission Bay, 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 Golf Course

Where: 3007 Dehesa Rd, El Cajon, CA 92019
Region: East County
Pine Glen, located in the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan in San Diego's East County, is an 18-hole par-three golf course that will help you fine tune your game. The challenging course 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 2,400 yards.

Oaks Course and Fountains Course

Where: 12602 Oaks N Dr, San Diego, CA 92128
Region: North Inland
Both courses sit adjacent to lodging which makes them convenient to sandwich a round in between other activities. Located in north Escondido at the Welk Resort San Diego, the Oaks Course is perfect for a family outing with holes that average 100 yards apiece. Want a little more of a challenge? The Fountains Course features eight par-4 holes, checking in at just under 4,000 yards.

Colina Park Golf Course

Where: 4085 52nd St, San Diego, CA 92105
Region: East County
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 First Tee-San Diego program, dedicated to helping underserved youth excel in life by promoting character development, life skills, and values through education and the game of golf. The 18-hole course, with holes ranging from 70 to 120 yards, is 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.

The Loma Club

Where: 2960 Truxtun Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
Region: Point Loma Peninsula
One of the most historic and oldest golf clubs in San Diego County, The Loma Club, dates back to the 1920s when the course was built by A. G. Spalding of famed Spalding Sports. This nine-hole course adjacent to historic Liberty Station in Point Loma features fairways ranging from 79 to 157 yards. 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 San Diego.

Oaks North Golf Course

Where: 12602 Oaks N Dr, San Diego, CA 92128
Region: North Inland
This course in Rancho Bernardo 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 the larger courses. The greens are good and true.

Presidio Hills Golf Course

Where: 4136 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110
Region: Mission Valley and Old Town
Built in 1932, Presidio Hills is one of the oldest par-three courses in the nation. A good deal of its 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, and 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.

Reidy Creek Golf Course

Where: 2300 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92026
Region: North Inland
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 hole is different from the one before it. Water greets golfers at the second hole and guards the green. The fifth hole 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 putting out, walk back across the bridge to the patio for a post-round drink to provide a refreshing finish to your round.

Tecolote Canyon Golf Course

Where: 2755 Snead Ave, San Diego, CA 92111
Region: Mission Valley and Old Town
Carved into a canyon, Tecolote offers among its challenges several elevation changes, shots over a creek that winds through the course and undulating greens. Located on Snead Avenue in the centrally located neighborhood of Clairemont, Sam Snead was one of the original investors in the public course when it opened in 1964. Tecolote includes four par-4 holes (three of them in excess of 300 yards) that allow a golfer to dust off the driver.

Goat Hill Park

Where: 2323 Goat Hill Dr, Oceanside, CA 92054
Region: North Coastal
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. Opened in 1952, this 18-hole course 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 also available.

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