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Everybody loves a good short hole, don’t they?

Whilst pulling out the driver and giving it a right good rip is always fun, there’s a lot to be said for the challenge that the best par-3s pose.

Naturally, as the birthplace of the game, Scotland has some of the finest par-3s in the world… and they’re not all confined to the big-name courses.

Below, in no particular order, we run the rule over our favourites. How many have you played? And are there any that we’ve missed?

Royal Troon – 8th

Arguably the most iconic par-3 in the world, the ‘Postage Stamp’ at Royal Troon is proof that some of the best things in life come in small packages. The shortest hole on the Open rota, it measures just 123 yards but has a small green (just 2,635 sq/ft) surrounded by devilish bunkers. Despite being the undoing of many of the game’s greats down the years, it is hugely popular with golf’s biggest names. Phil Mickelson once called it “a perfect example of how you can challenge the best players in the world” whilst Henrik Stenson, the man who pipped the left-hander to Open glory around the Ayrshire links in 2016, said: “If you’re the kind of fan that wants to see carnage, I highly recommend going out to that hole and sitting in the grandstand on a difficult day.” It’s a bona fide classic. More info

Kingsbarns 15Th

Kingsbarns – 15th

Perhaps the most photographed hole on this much-vaunted links just outside St Andrews, the par-15th is easy on the eye but potentially ruinous on the card. Framed by tall trees to the left of the tee and the rocks of the jagged coast to the right, its long, narrow green extends out into a promontory of its own. The best bet is to take aim at the bunker at the back left of the green, even if the pin is positioned out to the right of the green, and take plenty of club. Those trees block out the wind. More info

Turnberry Ailsa 9Th

Turnberry (Ailsa) – 9th

One of the newest par-3s in the country, the ninth on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry fully merits its place on this list. A formerly forgettable par-4, the hole has been transformed into a stunning par-3 which plays directly across a bay towards the iconic Turnberry Lighthouse and the remains of the castle where the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, was born in 1274. The green slopes from right to left but the key is making sure you take enough club to reach it. More info

Gleneagles Kings 5Th

Gleneagles (King’s) – 5th

The so-called ‘Het Girdle’ (or ‘Hot Pan’) is a fiendishly tricky hole where there is trouble absolutely everywhere except on the green itself. Anything short will find a bunker. Go left or right and you’ll be hitting your second from well below the putting surface. Go long right and you’ll probably be re-loading. It’s a James Braid masterpiece and a genuine card-wrecker. More info

St Andrews Od 11Th

St Andrews (Old) – 11th

During his first visit to the Old Course for the 1919 Open, Bobby Jones decided he’d had enough after finding trouble in the famous ‘Hill Bunker’ on this hole. He was so exasperated, he ripped up his scorecard and headed home to Georgia! Whether the wind is blowing or not, this 172-yard little monster is as good a par-3 as you’re ever likely to encounter. They say you shouldn’t even bother going at the flag. Instead, aim between the two greenside bunkers (‘Hill’ and ‘Strath’) and hope that your ball somehow finds the putting surface. More info

St Andrews Castle 17Th

St Andrews (Castle) – 17th

To play this, you need range balls. If it’s windy, you might need buckets of range balls. What makes this hole even harder is that fact that you’re probably mentally drained by the time you stumble onto the tee, as the Castle Course itself is no slouch. The tee box is pretty susceptible to winds, and you’ll need anything from a 7-iron (if you’re lucky) to a solid 4-iron. It’s brutally hard but also magnificent and the penultimate hole to a what is a thrilling and unique round of golf. More info

Eyemouth 6Th

Eyemouth – 6th

How good is this par-3? Put it this way: it was once voted ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Golf Hole’. Yeah, it’s that good. Your tee shot is only 170 yards to the centre of the green but it plays directly across a gully, requiring a carry of 150-plus yards. Stick it out to the right and you’ll probably end up at the foot of a dry stone wall; pull it left past the seventh tee and you’ll be in amongst the flora. More info

North Berwick 15Th

North Berwick – 15th

Perhaps the most copied hole in the world, the ‘Redan’ at North Berwick has inspired imitations at Shinnecock Hills, High Point and countless other courses around the globe. The word ‘Redan’ dates back to the Crimean War and translates as ‘fortification’, an appropriate name given that this particular hole is designed to protect against low scores. The green runs from right to left and is well guarded by three bunkers on the right-hand side, one of the left and two large ones at the front. How you play it depends on how the wind blows. More info

Anstruther 5Th

Anstruther – 5th

Arguably the toughest par-3 you will ever come up against. The locals tend to play it as a par-4… it’s that brutal. From an elevated tee, measuring 245 yards to the green, what lies in front of you is a steep bank of gorse and knee-high rough to the right (definite lost ball territory), the jagged rocks of the Firth of Forth to your left (OOB), a pencil-thin fairway and a small, half-hidden green that slopes towards the water. Add a strong prevailing wind off the sea that blows into your face, you could be looking at full whack with the driver to even get close to green. If you escape with a par, you can give yourself a big pat on the back. More info

Hopeman 12Th

Hopeman – 12th

“One of the best par-3s I have ever played.” So says 1999 Open champion and two-time Ryder Cup player Paul Lawrie. ‘The Prieshach’, as it is called, is 150 yards long but has an elevation drop from tee to green of roughly 100 yards. Club selection could be pretty much anything in your bag depending on the conditions. The views across the Moray Firth are sensational and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a pod of dolphins playing in the water close to the shore. More info

Carnoustie 16Th

Carnoustie – 16th

The start of arguably the toughest and most demanding closing stretch of holes on the Open rota, the 16th at Carnoustie measures 245 yards and, when the wind picks up, significantly longer. During the 1968 Open, Jack Nicklaus was the only player in the field to put his tee shot past the hole – and it took everything he had with his driver to do so. A long par-3 that leads that a narrow green, it is a true brute. Just ask Tom Watson. The American links specialist didn’t par it once when he won the Open in 1975. More info

Trump Aberdeen 3Rd

Trump Aberdeen – 3rd

A modern classic, the third hole at Trump Aberdeen lingers long in the memory. It is sheltered by the surrounding dunes and is the closest point on the course to the North Sea, as it laps against the sandy shore just a few feet from the green. It’s not uncommon to have to hit your second from the beach. More info

Nairn county championship

Nairn – 14th

As one of Scotland’s premier links, Nairn has plenty of fantastic holes. However, the par-3 14th is a true standout. ‘Kopjes’, as it is called, is totally exposed to the wind and comes bang in the middle of a terrific run of holes. Playing downhill, it’s usually a long- to mid-iron and is quite often played into a cross-wind towards a table-top green, which is fast, slick and guarded by bunkers both right and left. More info

2016 08 Royal Dornoch Golf Club6Th Copy

Royal Dornoch – 6th

A true ‘Highland’ gem, ‘Whinny Brae’ has a green built into the hillside with thick whins and three bunkers guarding the left and a large bunker protecting the slope to the right. The trouble comes largely from the size of the green. It’s only around ten yards wide. Miss it and it’s at least a bogey… if not worse. More info

Royal Montrose 16Th

Montrose Golf Links – 16th

To quote the great Ben Crenshaw, the 16th at Royal Montrose is “one of the finest par-3s anywhere”. Its huge green is full of contours and undulations, making a two-putt a daunting prospect, regardless of where your tee shot ends up. More info

Durness 9Th

Durness – 9th

Scotland’s most westerly mainland course – and one of the most remote in the country – Durness is a gem of a nine-holer where they save the best for last. The par-3 ninth is all carry across a deep gully towards the green, with rocks and the sea awaiting any undercooked shot. A spectacular finish to arguably the most underrated course in the country. More info

The Glen 13Th

The Glen – 13th

A brilliant, unforgettable hole, the par-3 13th on The Glen has proven to be unlucky for some down the years. From a very elevated tee, you hit down towards a small green pretty much on the beach below, and which you’ll struggle to see from the back tees. It’s a cracker. More info

Royal Aberdeen 8Th

Royal Aberdeen – 8th

A prime example of a hole that plays anything from a 3-iron to a wedge on any given day depending on the strength and direction of the wind, the eighth at Royal Aberdeen is a terrific links hole. As the club’s website says: “Nine bunkers surround the green like dragon’s teeth and the only way home is straight down its throat.” More info

Machrihanish Dunes

Machrihanish Dunes – 5th

A simply magnificent hole, the par-3 fifth at Machrihanish Dunes – originally the 14th – has a green framed by beautiful dunes with sumptuous views towards the islands of Gigha, Islay and Jura. Interesting fact: BBC commentator Andrew Cotter was first-ever person to have a hole-in-one at Mach Dunes when he aced this hole in the company of Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend. Stay out of the front left bunker at all costs. More info

Dumbarnie Links 8Th

Dumbarnie Links – 8th

One of the newest par-3 in the country, the eighth at Dumbarnie Links in Fife enjoys the most magnificent backdrop, with glorious views across the Firth of Forth. Depending on the tee you hit from, it plays anything from 100 to 160 yards but you are hitting into the prevailing wind so it’s important to factor that into your club selection. There are pot bunkers left and right and, whilst the green looks pretty flat, there are some subtle breaks that you will have to read carefully. More info

Muirfield 13Th

Muirfield – 13th

The scene of Ernie Els’ sublime escape from a pot bunker en route to his first Open victory in 2002, the 13th is arguably the best hole at Muirfield. It measures just under 200 yards from tee to green, with bunkers all around the putting surface. Missing the green is just not an option. Par always feels like a birdie. More info

Shiskine 4Th

Shiskine – 4th

This 12-hole gem on the Isle of Arran is riddled with a selection of beautiful par-3s but the fourth takes some beating. A short and sharp 137-yard descent takes you from the elevated tee, with stunning views of Kilbrannan Sound and the Kintyre peninsula, to quite a large flat green that sits in front of the cliffs of Drumadoon. It might sound like a walk in the park but if the wind is blowing then club selection becomes a nightmare from the sheltered tee position. More info

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