W Wesselman Design
                                  Golf Course Architecture

Golf Course Design and Renovation 

Par three Practice Facility

Par 3 Course.



Definition: A "Par-3 course" is a golf course that consists of nothing but par-3 holes.

A par 3 course is often only 9 holes in length. These types of courses are great for beginning golfers, juniors, occasional golfers, families, couples, experienced golfers who want to work on their short game and anyone who might feel that they are not yet ready or comfortable playing 18 holes on a regulation course.

They are great for those short on time. Depending upon skill and traffic on the course, the average player spends about four hours playing 18 holes of golf on a regulation course, and about two hours playing nine holes. On a Par 3 course, one can play 18 holes in about 2 ½ hours, and 9 holes in a little over an hour.


The course also helps to build accuracy, making it a great training ground for beginners. Because there is a much shorter distance to the hole, the golfer needs to focus more on his/her aim then on distance. Most beginners want to immediately try and hit the ball as hard as they can. This is especially true with men. But, hitting the ball as hard as you can leads to bad habits. Playing on a Par 3 course puts the emphasis on accuracy. Any golfer will tell you that it is much easier to improve distance then it is to improve accuracy.



If you are thinking about building a Par 3 golf course, here are some frequently asked questions.


How much land is needed for a 9 hole, Par 3 course?

At least 30 acres (12 Hectares) is required for 9 holes of similar length to their par 3 counterpart holes on most regulation courses with a par 72. Each par 3 course is unique due to the terrain and the amount of holes desired. Extreme contours or land features such as wetlands or boundaries that restrict full use of the site, can demand somewhat more land. How much land you will need for the course can be attained by doing a routing study using an accurate topography map. Naturally, a course with shorter holes will take less land. That might run from 20-25 acres (8-10 Hectares) for 9 holes. A par 3 course with holes that are 100 yards or less are commonly called a pitch and putt course.   

 How much will a 9 hole, Par 3 course cost to build?


Since each course is unique to its own environment, the cost can vary. Major influences on a course’s cost include the suitability of the land for building golf holes, type of green construction, the extent of the irrigation system, etc.  Generally $40,000 to $60,000 per hole is the range, but gives you some idea of a possible cost.  If a large amount of earth is moved,  large greens are built using the USGA method, numerous sand bunkers, an elaborate irrigation system and  a continuous cart path, the per hole figure could run higher than $60,000.  Shorter and simpler holes could cost $35,000 per hole or less, again depending on how elaborate you want to make them.


Where is the best place I can get information about building a Par 3 course?


Contacting an experienced golf course architect is the best source of information.  An evaluation of a potential site or comparison of several possible sites could be provided by a golf course architect.  A thorough tour of the selected site and a detailed discussion of the entire project are essential to giving useful answers on any course.


Can I make money from a Par 3 course?

Yes, but there must be enough potential customers within a convenient distance to regularly play the course. To help towards making money, all expenditures should be carefully budgeted, both for its construction, yearly maintenance and overall operation. A course developer should also be aware that residential lots next to a course usually sell faster and bring higher prices than ordinary residential lots.  These sales could assist in paying for some, if not all of the course’s construction cost, if residential lots can be planned as part of a project. This should be discussed with the architect during the evaluation of the property.


Should I include a driving range?  


Generally yes.  But a range can have some drawbacks and certainly increases the scope, cost, land requirement and complexity of a project.   A driving range is another source of revenue by being where golfers pay to practice and ideal for offering them instruction.  A range will require an additional 15 or more acres (6 hectares), depending on the amenities, although the building, parking and maintenance area could serve both a course and range.  You don’t always need that much land for a driving range.  But, if the length is too short or the width is too narrow, there will not be enough area for buffer zones on both sides of the range and will require extensive netting on tall poles.  There is the substantial additional cost of installing, maintaining and in time replacing that netting.  Even then nets will not retain all the range balls or guarantee total safety from errant shots. 


For more information you can contact me by e-mail, Rick Wesselman, at RickWesselman@gmail.com or by phone at (303) 909-3904

Rick Wesselman
7856 S. Elizabeth Way, Centennial, Colorado, 80122, USA
Phone office - 303 862-6600   Mobile - 303 909-3904
E-mail - RickWesselman@gmail.com

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