Wisconsin’s 18 Toughest Par 3 Holes: The Long Holes
The Beasts (> 185 yards from the first tees in):
1. Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys #15 (227/196/189/150/103):
Depending on the distance, this is the hardest par three maybe in the world! From the back three tees, this signature par three on the Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run tees up from well over 180 yards usually straight in to the wind and over a massive prairie with one of the widest multi-sectioned greens outside of Lawsonia’s Links course!
From 227-plus yards from the tips, this is as hard of a par three as it gets.
To make the challenge of hitting 3-wood or more off the tee more palatable, the forward tees have probably the most breathtaking view of any hole in the state of Wisconsin to look back on:
2. Whistling Straits, Straits #17 (249/223/197/165/131):
This hole has decided the outcomes of PGA Championships!
At over 240 yards from the tips, and with Lake Michigan bordering the entire left side, there is nothing simple about this Alice Dye created hole – a large mound protects the right side of the green and one of the most ridiculous volcano bunkers outside of the Pete Dye Course at French Lick means absolutely anything errant is punished to the enth degree.
Dead zone lies between the tee and green, and anything other than hitting the green leads to bogey or worse.
3. Blackwolf Run, River #13 (231/205/192/150/101):
Blackwolf Run’s River course boasts one of the most demanding tee shots in the entire state of Wisconsin: From over 200 yards, it’s all carry over the Sheboygan River with a draw, or else one hell of a high fade over the tall oak trees that front the green on the thirteenth hole.
To add to the difficulty level, fly fishermen regularly fish this stretch of the river and pay little to no attention to golfers, making players hopeful that if their tightly drawn shots are miss-hit that they’ll at least not hurt anybody.
Fortunately for us during the below round, there was only one fly fisherman in the river, and none of us hit him (see below photo).
4. University Ridge #17 (250/192/164/130):
The seventeenth at University Ridge tees up from 250 yards from the tips (one of the most popular tournament courses in the state, as well as the University of Wisconsin’s home course and site of the PGA Champion’s Tour American Family Championship), and plays directly over a pond that not only includes all-carry, but also has out-of-bounds directly left and right.
There is literally nowhere to miss on this hole, and even from the first tees in is a ridiculously challenging one-shotter.
5. Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys #8 (240/187/176/160/112):
Something about this hole is incredibly misleading. The mounds on the right side hide most of the green, and the pond leading up to it gives the impression that it is a more simple shot than it is.
From the tips, especially, this hole requires an incredibly long and accurate tee shot, but after closer examination allows for a bail-out to the short right side.
Even if laying up short, though, on this par three, the upcoming approach shot is far from simple.
6. The Bull #12 (236/228/210/169/151):
I remember the first time I ever played The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, with my dad as part of the Lakeland College “Blasters” golf tournament.
While my dad has never gotten in to golf (he and my brother, Mike (a zillion-time national champion for 35-pound weight throw and discus), and I have very different body types), he has always been a world-class athlete and in his retirement as Hartland, Wisconsin’s eye doctor still competes in state events for shot put and discus. Back issues from a high school and collegiate life of football and track & field keep him from enjoying the game of golf with me, but we played the Blasters event together and were both dumbfounded at how challenging this Jack Nicklaus course is.
I have played The Bull at least a dozen times since then, but the crowned par three twelfth hole will never be an easy shot for me. While the tees are elevated, the green is surrounded by sand and falls off on the left and back sides.
There is nothing easy about The Bull, and this is for sure the most challenging par three on it.
7. Lawsonia, Links #10 (239/217/162):
I absolutely LOVE this stretch of holes on Lawsonia’s Links course!
To set the stage: The all-world par three [“Box car”] seventh hole leads to a tricky par four eighth hole, followed by the dogleg right par five ninth, then this brutally long par three tenth, the par five eleventh, par three twelfth, all-world par five thirteenth, all-state par three fourteenth…
The Links course at Lawsonia: William Langford and Theodore Moreau’s signature and best-kept design; you will not find a better links course in the Midwest than here.
You will also not find a longer, more challenging par three at Lawsonia than the tenth on the Links course!
At over 215 yards, mounding before the green hides the front of the green, and gives the impression that the green is much closer than it is.
To add to the level of difficulty, the green on ten is incredibly large, and canted hard from back to front with extreme contouring on some of Wisconsin’s fastest greens.
Hitting a long iron, fairway wood or driver on to this green complex is far from guaranteeing par!
8. The Oaks #17 (240/215/185/181/159):
The Oaks has great greens, and this one-shotter takes a really long shot just to get to it! Slightly elevated above a multitude of sand traps, the seventeenth on The Oaks tees up from 240 yards from the tips, or 215 from the first tees in.
Mercilessly, there is almost no chance for lost balls, so anything hit errant will still have an approach shot to the green.
9. Grand Geneva, Brute #4 (204/173/127):
This par three always seems to play in to the wind, over water and with two of the largest green-side traps outside of Kohler.
The Brute is famous for having large, brutish hazards, and these are on full display at the fourth hole.
10. North Hills Country Club #17 (225/218/191/151):
The longest of the par threes at North Hills Country Club, the seventeenth plays uphill, in to the wind and to a green that – for North Hills standards is rather big, but for anywhere else – is quite small.
“Weber’s Woods” lurks to the right side, making a miss left [or preferably short] preferred over left or long. The deep trap left is preferred over the shallower one right, too, as the right side will play downhill with significant contouring.
Most members at North Hills consider four to be a solid score on seventeen.
11. Naga-Waukee #13 (229/211/169):
Growing up, I remember this hole being next to impossible. The elevated green is found through the chute of trees, and has significant mounding to keep anything short… Short.
While the tee shot is long, the green is sizable.
12. Tuckaway Country Club #17 (220/197/174/138):
I have always found that a lot of private golf clubs seem to have a brutally long par three as their seventeenth hole, and Tuckaway is no different.
While the tee boxes are well elevated, so is the green which is canted hard from back to front.
13. Fairways of Woodside #3 (229/212/157)
On a very stress-free, straightforward front nine, the third at Fairways of Woodside is silly difficult!
The back tee boxes play from 220-plus yards, with a sliver of land to play to and houses right.
The left side is no better, with a sharply leaning slope left of the green that will usher anything off that way toward the pond.
14. Strawberry Creek #12 (221/207/191/175/160)
Over water and with a heavily depressed short-right side, the twelfth at Strawberry Creek is a long par three with a deep bunker front-middle and back-left. Hit hybrid or fairway wood to the front-left of this green for any chance of making par.
15. Wild Ridge #17 (211/191/163/147/147/110)
A long shot similar to par threes at The Bog and Hawk’s Landing, the 17th at Wild Ridge is a beast of a par three on one of the highest points of the course.
The left side falls off sharply, while the right side is littered with sand traps.
16. Wild Rock #4 (223/186/164/140/112)
The first few holes at Wild Rock are pretty blase before going deep in to one of the best woodland courses in the state, but in order to survive players need to get past the terribly difficult fourth hole.
Water abounds everywhere, and even though the green is massively wide there is something incredibly intimidating about this tee shot.
17. Washington County #16 (222/200/171/152)
Downhill but usually upwind, the sixteenth at Washington County is challenging primarily because it’s long. Accurate golfers will have no issues with this hole, but anything pulled will find sand and anything right will find a low swale or fescue.
18. SentryWorld #7 (215/204/170/154/117)
While I consider it to be slightly less aesthetically impressive than the course’s other par threes, the seventh is one of the most demanding holes on the new SentryWorld.
At 215 yards from the tips, and 204 from the blue tees, this one-shotter requires an accurate forced carry over a plethora of deep green-side traps. To me, this is the hardest par three at SentryWorld (that has not changed with the 2014 renovations).
Other Par 3 Lists:
Wisconsin’s 18 Toughest Par 3 Holes: The Beasts (current page)