A Par 3 Paradise: Wisconsin’s Top 33 Par Threes

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting to write about golf 11 years ago, it’s that true enthusiasts of the game love lists.

Whether it’s public vs. private, modern vs. Golden Age, Donald Ross vs. Pete Dye, manufactured vs. natural land movement, affordable vs. uber-expensive, templates vs. uniquely designed holes… We’ve all got our own opinions on what makes for great golf, and I’m just lucky enough to have experienced quite a bit of it and have an outlet where I can share my opinions.

Other than drivable par fours, there’s not much I love more than a great par three, so this ranking is dedicated to my favorite hole in golf: The short one.

As with any rankings I post, this includes just the holes I’ve played. I understand there are some great par threes at Eagle Springs, The Lido, Troy Burne, Minocqua and others, but if I haven’t played them yet then they can’t be on my list. I’ll keep doing my best, though, to spread as wide a net as I can and would love to hear what I’m missing and need to add to this season’s itinerary.

That said, here are my 33 favorite par threes in the entire state of Wisconsin…

1. The 15th at Wild Rock Golf Club

Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI
Architect: Dr. Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry
Yardages: Black-179, Blue-166, White-148

Link to Wild Rock course review (2011)

Played over a quarry from six separate teeing locations, the 15th at Wild Rock is, to me, the most satisfyingly fun little playground for golf in the entire state of Wisconsin. With tee boxes that stretch from 110 to 190 yards, this hole can be a short little wedge or long mid-iron.

2. The 4th at The Club at Lac La Belle

Location: Lac La Belle, WI
Architect: Craig Haltom
Yardages: Black-190, Blue-169, White-151

Link to Club at Lac La Belle course review (2022)

One of the newest par three holes in the state is also one of its best, with old-school architecture designed by Craig Haltom that features a massive green complex with a great selection of pinnable locations to help influence play.

Read more: A Par 3 Paradise: Wisconsin’s Top 33 Par Threes

3. The 9th at Erin Hills

Location: Erin, WI
Architect: Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry & Ron Whitten
Yardages: Black-165, Blue-150, Green-143

Link to Erin Hills course review (2021)

Originally the course’s bye / 19th hole used to settle bets, the ninth at Erin Hills was added to the course’s permanent layout prior to the epic 2011 US Amateur that saw Kelly Kraft beat out Patrick Cantlay.

Inside 150 yards for most players, this diabolical little beauty plays downhill with some of the most gnarly green surrounds found anywhere.

4. The 7th at Lawsonia Links

Location: Green Lake, WI
Architect: William Langford & Theodore Moreau
Yardages: Blue-161, White-146, Gold-140

Link to Lawsonia Links course review (2022)

Legend has it esteemed Golden Age architects William Langford and Theodore Moreau buried a boxcar underneath this green complex to give it it’s ridiculously elevated putting surface.

Rather flat from tee to green, it’s all the areas surrounding it that fall off some 20 feet that make this one-shotter so intimidating.

5. The 13th at Mammoth Dunes (Sand Valley)

Location: Rome, WI
Architect: David McLay Kidd
Yardages: Black-130, Orange-126, Sand-112

Link to Mammoth Dunes course review (2020)

Playing over a chasm of sand, the 13th at Mammoth Dunes is all carry with a green that’s partially hidden past the hillside it sets atop.

Don’t be short.

6. The 13th at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club

Location: Wauwatosa, WI
Architect: Seth Raynor
Yardages: Black-185, Blue-178, White-149

Link to Blue Mound Golf & Country Club review (2019)

The state’s best Redan template hole (and one of two designed by Seth Raynor at Blue Mound), the 13th is a long hole that gives players two options: Bring the ball in high at the flag or run your shot up along the right-side speed slot/mounding to watch it satisfyingly roll out toward the middle.

7. The 8th at Milwaukee Country Club

Location: River Hills, WI
Architect: H.S. Colt & C.H. Alison
Yardages: Blue-174, White-174, Green-158

Link to Milwaukee Country Club review (2022)

The most intimidating tee shot on the course, steep walls of sand front the left and right sides of the eighth green, concealing the majority of the putting surface. The ninth and clubhouse form a spectacular backdrop for this Golden Age beauty of a golf hole.

8. The 12th at Whistling Straits (Straits course)

Location: Haven, WI
Architect: Pete Dye
Yardages: Black-163, Blue-138, Green-118

Link to Whistling Straits article (2022)

The shortest par three on the course, the twelfth puts a wedge in players’ hands yet still puckers them up with a demanding tee shot that can’t be short-right, right or long.

The Sunday pin on twelve is one of the most exciting tee shots in tournament golf with a mere ten yards of left-to-right wiggle room before a steep drop into Lake Michigan.

9. The 17th at Stevens Point Country Club

Location: Stevens Point, WI
Architect: Craig Haltom
Yardages: Black-146, Blue-141, White-123

Link to Stevens Point Country Club review (2022)

Seemingly relocated directly from the Sandhills of North Carolina, the redesigned 17th at SPCC is an instant classic. With a long, sandy waste area between the tees and green, jagged blowouts and a small target to hit with a lofted club, this hole is so good.

Adding to that wonderful aesthetic, the club recently removed all the trees from the right side, opening up gorgeous views of the valley beneath it including the 18th , 8th and 9th holes.

10. The 16th at SentryWorld

Location: Stevens Point, WI
Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Yardages: Black-176, Blue-168, White-145

Link to SentryWorld course review (2023)

The world-famous Flower Hole, the 16th at SentryWorld was on full display earlier this month as the game’s top players 50 and older battled it out at the 2023 US Senior Open.

Think people were intrigued by Robert Trent Jones, Jr’s “Mona Lisa?” You should see the search and article stats during the times the tournament was being televised!

With over 30,000 annuals hand-planted each golf season, RTJ II and former Chairman of Sentry Insurance John Joanis set out on 16 to create a unique and memorable experience featuring a “Sea of flowers,” and their result hit the mark.

11. The 8th at West Bend Country Club

Location: West Bend, WI
Architect: William Langford & Theodore Moreau
Yardages: Black-159, Blue-138, Gold-130

Link to West Bend Country Club review (2023)

To me, the eighth is one of the most well-designed par threes in all of Wisconsin. It is classic Langford and Moreau architecture in a simple-to-see, harder-to-execute fashion teed up from just 138 yards from the blue and gold tees.

With an exemplary back-left to bottom-right canted green complex, the design team used mounding between the tees and green to conceal the entrance and create uncertainty in players’ minds – adding that little bit of doubt around club selection and target line. The only safe target on this green is smack dab in the middle, and even then you’ll be navigating a circuitous putting line to almost any hole location in order to manage par.

12. The 4th at The Baths at Blackwolf Run

Location: Kohler, WI
Architect: Chris Lutzke & Herb Kohler
Yardages: Tee 3-139, Tee 2-94, Tee 1-62

Link to The Baths at Blackwolf Run course review (2021)

Featuring a classic punchbowl green, the tee shot on four at The Baths puts a wedge, or almost any club you’d like, in your hands for some truly creative shot-making. Call bank and carom off any of the cupped layout’s many outward slopes and runways to get shots close to the hole.

13. The 17th at Whistling Straits (Straits course)

Location: Haven, WI
Architect: Pete Dye
Yardages: Black-249, Blue-223, Green-197

Link to Whistling Straits article (2022)

“Pinched Nerve,” as the resort calls it, is a beast of a par three along the Lake Michigan shoreline. As beautiful as it is demanding, the hole requires a long shot that’s all carry, and one that’s straight enough to avoid the looming coastline.

14. The 8th at The Sandbox (Sand Valley)

Location: Rome, WI
Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
Yardages: Coore/Crenshaw-98/Putting-41

Link to The Sandbox course review (2018)

The front eight of The Sandbox ends in spectacular fashion, featuring a beautiful, elevated Biarritz green with the Mammoth Dunes clubhouse looming in the background.

The classic high-low-high setup of this narrow green complex means taking the right wedge to hit the right section of this green. The Sandbox is the perfect addition to any group’s visit to Sand Valley Golf Resort.

15. The 8th at Mammoth Dunes (Sand Valley)

Location: Rome, WI
Architect: David McLay Kidd
Yardages: Black-198, Orange-175, Sand-150

Link to Mammoth Dunes course review (2020)

A sea of exposed sand makes the eighth at Mammoth a virtual island hole. With an elevated tee shot, the green is one of the smallest on the course (though it’s still ~ 6,000 square feet) and the angle gets more challenging as players move back each set of tees.

16. The 11th at Whistling Straits, Irish course

Location: Haven, WI
Architect: Pete Dye
Yardages: Black-208, Blue-193, Green-177

Link to Whistling Straits, Irish course review (2011)

One of my favorite holes on the Irish course at Whistling Straits is the par three 11th, nicknamed “Lamb Chop” probably because of its tomahawk-like layout but maybe also because of the herd of Scottish Blackface Sheep that tend to congregate along its outskirts.

17. The 15th at Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys

Location: Kohler, WI
Architect: Pete Dye
Yardages: Black-227, Blue-196, Green-189

Link to Blackwolf Run, Meadow Valleys course review (2021)

All carry, the 15th on the Meadow Valleys course is part of one of the best stretches of golf in the entire state.

18. The 8th at Sand Valley (Sand Valley course)

Location: Rome, WI
Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
Yardages: Black-136, Orange-115, Sand-97

Link to Sand Valley Golf Course review (2021)

Well uphill and with a severely sloped back-to-front green, the eighth at Sand Valley could only work with this short of a tee shot. As it is, it’s such a fun little challenge.

19. The 7th at North Hills Country Club

Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
Architect: John Barr
Yardages: Black-186, Blue-169, White-144

Link to North Hills Country Club review (2022)

My favorite par three on what I consider to be my home course, the seventh plays across the Menomonee River and well uphill. It’s also the site of my only hole-out on a tee shot. The green on seven is the largest on the course, having been redesigned by AW Tillinghast in the 1930’s to help prepare the site for PGA Tour play.

20. The 16th at Geneva National, Palmer course

Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Architect: Arnold Palmer
Yardages: Black-214, Gold-194, White-171

Link to Geneva National, Palmer course review (2012)

With Lake Como as the backdrop, the sixteenth at Geneva National Resort & Club is part of a spectacular finish on their Arnold Palmer-designed course.

21. The 9th at Pine Hills Country Club

Location: Sheboygan Falls, WI
Architect: Harry Smead
Yardages: Blue-170, White-145, Silver-135

Link to Pine Hills Country Club article (2020)

Pine Hills may be blessed with the best overall collection of par threes in the entire state of Wisconsin, and to me the ninth is the medalist. Playing over a ravine, it’s a short- to mid-range one-shotter with one of the wildest greens on property.

We let a member play through us on the ninth tee the first time I played Pine Hills back in 2012, and I remember him hitting the green and then proceeding to six-putt (!) – the internal contouring and slopes of this putting surface certainly make that a possibility, but it’s very fun and something about it makes me think this is what golf at Augusta must be like.

As a side note, I’ve seen recently on Instagram that Pine Hills has done significant renovation work on the ninth, including additional tree removal, moving the cart path and adding a short-grass/run-off area to the right.

22. The 6th at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms

Location: Sheboygan Falls, WI
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Yardages: Bull-193, Blue-183, Green-173

Link to The Bull at Pinehurst Farms course review (2011)

One of the toughest par threes on this list, tee shots on six demand accuracy and length, with trees on all sides and a deep ravine running down its middle. Enjoy the view!

23. The 14th at Ozaukee Country Club

Location: Mequon, WI
Architect: William Langford & Theodore Moreau
Yardages: Blue-200, White-160, Gold-145

Link to Ozaukee Country Club review (2022)

Langford & Moreau dialed up some beautiful green complexes at Ozaukee, and my favorite of the bunch for par threes is on the mid-range 14th where the elevated putting surface is anything but flat.

24. The 6th at Abbey Springs Golf Club

Location: Fontaine, WI
Architect: Ken Killian & Dick Nugent; Lohmann Quitno
Yardages: Walnut-174, Maple-158, Oak-114

Link to Abbey Springs course review (2022)

A beautiful shot over water, the sixth at Abbey Springs is one of many highlights to the property’s wonderfully renovated golf experience.

25. The 8th at The Club at Lac La Belle

Location: Lac La Belle, WI
Architect: Craig Haltom
Yardages: Black-154, Blue-142, White-122

Link to Club at Lac La Belle course review (2022)

Architect Craig Haltom designed some spectacular par threes at The Club at Lac La Belle, and an argument could be made for all of them to be on this list. The second from CLLB that I’m including, though, is the eighth – an almost Reverse Redan-like green with a sharp ridge running through the middle of it. Hit the left side of the green and watch it filter, like Ben did (below).

Patrick, Ben and I tee off on the 8th at The Club at Lac La Belle (missing: Craig’s tee shot)

26. The 7th at Pioneer Pointe

Location: Verona, WI
Architect: Bob Lohmann & Todd Quitno
Yardage: 190

Link to Pioneer Pointe course review (2022)

Another great Biarritz-style green can be found on the 7th at Pioneer Pointe in Madison: “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Playing just under 200 yards (the course has massive teeing areas where players can choose their own tee location versus having the standard tee box setup), this green is about 45 yards long from front to back and features a deep swale between its polar plateaus.

27. The 10th at Lawsonia Links

Location: Green Lake, WI
Architect: William Langford & Theodore Moreau
Yardages: Blue-239, White-217, Gold-162

Link to Lawsonia Links course review (2022)

Part of a memorable stretch of par fives and threes (par five 9th, par three 10th, par five 11th, par three 12th, par five 13th, par three 14th), the tenth on the Links course at Lawsonia features one of the course’s largest greens and one of its longest required shots. At 217 yards from the first tees in, the fun only begins on the tee. Chances are if you hit the green in one, you won’t be close to the pin – and this Langford/Moreau-designed green has all kinds of slopes and contours.

28. The 3rd at Kenosha Country Club

Location: Kenosha, WI
Architect: Donald Ross
Yardages: Blue-160, Silver-130, Gold-120

Maybe the smallest of all the greens on this list, the third at Kenosha is a short, tremendously uphill par three with four pot bunkers flanking the putting surface.

Link to Kenosha Country Club review (2020)

29. The 7th at Glen Erin Golf Club

Location: Janesville, WI
Architect: Greg Martin
Yardages: Orange-183, White-143, Green-112

Link to Glen Erin Golf Club review (2022)

A great short three, mounding from the forward tees on seven at Glen Erin hide much of the hole’s oversized green surface from the back tees. This is one of the highest points on property, and one of the most exposed, bringing wind into the equation.

30. The 4th on the Player course at Geneva National

Location: Lake Geneva, WI
Architect: Gary Player
Yardages: Black-140, Gold-132, White-129

Link to Geneva National, Player course review (2011)

A really sneaky-good par three, the fourth on the Player course kicks off an awesome stretch of holes that doesn’t let up until well into the back nine. Another short tee shot (see a trend here? I love short threes), much of the playing surface on four is hidden from view including the well-depressed area right of its green complex.

31. The 12th at Strawberry Creek

Location: Kenosha, WI
Architect: Rick Jacobson
Yardages: Black-221, Gold-207, Blue-191

Link to Strawberry Creek Golf Club review (2022)

A fantastic test of championship golf, Strawberry Creek is one hell of a modern golf course, and the twelfth is one hell of a test of shot-making.

32. The 4th at Blackwolf Run, River course

Location: Kohler, WI
Architect: Pete Dye
Yardages: Black-219, Blue-195, Green-185

Link to Blackwolf Run, River course review (2012)

The fourth on the River course at Blackwolf Run is a long, restrictive hole that punishes players for being left, right or long. It’s also absolutely beautiful and stars two of the best golf fans in all of Wisconsin.

33. The 10th at Northern Bay / Castle at the Bay

Location: Arkdale, WI
Architect: Matt Mootz
Yardages: Black-146, Blue-132, White-127

Link to Northern Bay course review (2011)

An almost identical replica of the famous “Island Hole” 17th at TPC Sawgrass, the tenth at Northern Bay (or is it Castle at the Bay?) tests players’ mettle with an all-carry tee shot that just has to find, and hold, dry land.

[Some of the] Honorable Mentions

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

4 thoughts on “A Par 3 Paradise: Wisconsin’s Top 33 Par Threes

  1. Great list Paul! I have played exactly 20 of these shorties, and agree with all of them being on the list!

  2. Great article Paul, fun to read about some great par 3’s in WI!
    (Note: the bunkers at #3 are technically not “pot” bunkers😊)

Leave a Reply