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Laying up on Par threes?

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How often do you up on a par three?

If you had suggested laying up on a par three to me a few years ago, I would have looked at you like you asked me if I ever considered breathing water rather then air.

But as I have gotten better at this game, I find I hit less then driver off lots of tees (maybe half of par 4 and 5s), and now I even lay up on par threes if I think it is a smart play.

One par three I lay up on if my swing or the conditions aren't great is 210 par three with ob left, bunkers all around and some troubling trees right. With a bad 210 yard shot and double or even triple bogie is in play. If I lay up with a mid iron, I take all trouble out of play. Par is hard to make with a lay up, but bogie is not a bad score on a hole like this for my cap.

Another par three that I think I should start laying up on at times is a 166-185 yard down hill par three. I can hit 8 iron- 5iron into it depending on conditions so it not a long hole for me by any means. But the green has water left, and a nasty pot bunker and tree right. Lots of trouble on this hole if you miss the green, but if you lay up 5 yards short of the green, all the trouble is out of play and you have a very straight forward up and down. I can't say I have laid up on this hole yet, but I have noticed many better players not going for the green on this hole. But as I have put too much draw on the ball ended up in the water, or bailed out and ended up in trouble right too many times for more liking, I am considering playing the lay up here when the wind is blowing.

So do you guys ever swallow you pride and lay up on par threes?
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You are starting to think strategy and better players will know where to miss to give them the best scenario to make par. There are a few holes that I know that the front of the green, or just short of the green (the place to miss) will give me a chance at par, especially if the green is severely slanted and you need to be below the hole.
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I've actually never even considered this... It makes a TON of sense to a high handicapper like myself though. It is more along the lines of just playing the safe shot even if that means adding a stroke could save you from adding a couple extra...

Thanks for the post
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I've done it, and I've even occasionally made par doing it. I can't remember doing it and making net-bogey or worse. However, my club tournaments play closest to the pin on all par-3s, and that suckers me in. But then again, sometimes I'm the only one in my flight to hit the green and I win by default.

That having been said, I think someone - Billy Casper maybe? - won a U.S. Open laying up on a par-3 every day, and every day getting down in two for his par. I want to say it was 1959.
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There are more 3s to be made on difficult par 3s by laying up and 1 putting than going for the green and bringing danger into play.
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We have a par 3 at our course (175 yds), stroke index 18, so the easiest hole on the course, allthough nobody feels it to be so very easy. Most of times 8 out of 10 there is a mid-strong wind from the right, the green has two levels and it is not a large green (40 ft. wide, 50 ft. deep). The green is elevated, with a really deep (pothole) bunker on the left front edge and deep rough behind the bunker along the leftside, on the right side a severe slope of rough, behind the green also a steep slope and a terrible lot of trees ...... but the front apron is flat and about 60 ft. wide.

The only luck is that it is between a moderate 535 yds par 5 and a relatively easy 490 yds par 5.

Of course any low handicapper will hit a 175 yds tee shot with ease (6i or 5i), but the target is small and missing the green means trouble. I know a few really low cappers, that normally go for 7i or 6i to the flat apron, chip & putt as they really can't afford to loose a stroke at this par 3 hole.
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...

Er... sometimes pride goeth before the fall...

It depends on the situation. Used to face a 195-yd. par 3 down in Oklahoma: Good-sized trees ringing the green, with a long, wide bunker to the left of - and a pot bunker front right of - a crowned green. A gusting wind came from the left, so it was an iffy hole on tee shot direction. Left bunker shot sometimes could be a punch out of sand and under tree branches. My solution: Played a 3-iron punch and run, dropped it about 30 yds. short of green on hard spot in fairway, and bounced it up to the fringe. Chip up for a one-putt par. (Often a par would win the hole) There's another hole locally which plays about 185 yds. A marshy creek wraps around the front and left of green, with a rightside bunker backed by a steep berm. Waste-high grass starts 5 feet over the green. Sometimes the marsh grass gets so high in spots it will actually deflect a ball into the water. If I'm not swinging particularly well, and/or there's a crosswind, I'll punch a 7 iron down to the landing area and chip or pitch at the flag. A wild tee shot on this one can quickly turn into a triple bogey. So, I play the odds. (As an added feature, this test measures 160 yds. from the women's tees. The women hate this hole. The owners should probably back up the ladies' tee 50 yds. and let women play it as a short par 4)
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How often do you up on a par three?

Very rarely-but definitely laid up more than once on one particular par 3. 248 yds from the blue tees, 236 from the whites. At the time I played this course I was probably a 14-15 capper. Narrow, houses directly down the right, and scrubbrush and other desert troulble down the left hand side. An usually very windy day -left to right. Initial plan was to take a smooth 3 wood, but that almost always ends up being a high cut into the wind over the netting of a backyard. Others would try hard 5 wood/some driver down the left side, that always hit near the edge of the sloping fairway before running into a sandtrap or thick tangly ravine brush just off the green. I didn't see any pars for years. My first was by hitting as strait and low 3 iron to the fairway, short of either trap. Pitched up smarly and putted quickly.

I just got back to Arizona and wanted a run at the old home course, so we went out a few weeks ago. I've improved quite a bit in the last few years, and start to string off pars and the occasional birdie. At the turn -2, best score ever, held together till we got to hole 12 and its narrow, windy 248 yd par 3. Today it's playing downhill and downwind, so my Miznuno MX-200 4 iron seems just the ticket. Tee markers are up, pins in the front-and if I can't reach I'll just be right below the undefended part of the green. I nutted it, knew I had the distance but it kept pulling left. It lands pin high in a green-side bunker so I've still got a chance. Ball skidded out of the bunker, into the prickly stuff. I could try to play it but it's a bad decision, so I took the unplayable penalty and drop. Now, I'm hitting 3 and chipping towards a tight pin. Hit one of my best chip/flop shots, and they next putt was no more than a gimmie. But it was still a bogey. I only vividly remember one other par on this hole, and I think it was 6 iron, PW, putt-but the odds that I'll try that again next time are low, because, because of golf...
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Maybe people have different experiences than me but while I am all for course management I've never had the need to lay up on a par 3. If the shot is there to be made, I'm giving it a go...
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The greatest ball striker that ever lived(Hogan) layed up on the same par 3, 4 days in a row during a tournament(I think it might have actually been a US Open), and he made par every time.

Play YOUR game, don't play other peoples' game.

Food for thought.
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When Billy Casper won the U.S. Open in 1959 at Winged Foot, he laid up to the par-3 third hole all four rounds, chipped on, and got his par each time.
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Depends on the hole as well.

hole 5 were i play is a long par 3, the back tees range from 175 to 205. Its a very thing green front to back, with water taking up 75% of the front, and it slops towards the front. Not to mention left is death because just some 5-10 yards left is a severe drop off with high grass.

If the pin is up front left, i will try to hit it to the back of the green, take water out of play and everything just rolls to that spot anyway on putts.
If its middle or back, i just aim for the middle right of the green.

But laying up, i never done that, never met a par 3 that required it.
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I've actually never even considered this... It makes a TON of sense to a high handicapper like myself though. It is more along the lines of just playing the safe shot even if that means adding a stroke could save you from adding a couple extra...

The funny thing is I bet your are way more likely to see a low capper try this then a high handicapper.

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No.

I lay up on all par 5's (unless i'm striking the ball really well).

I'll give the par 3's a go, I'll only be slightly off and I can chip on and make a bogey at worst
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On the high school team our home course had a downhill 220ish yard par 3 with water short left, huge dropoffs left and over the green, trees right, and bunkers short right. For me the best way to make a par was to take one less club and do anything possible not to hit it left. Best case scenario I was 20 yard short of the green or I got it to run up close to the front. The only other possibility was to hit hybrid and just hope it didn't go over the green because if it did there was no way to find the ball.

So I guess not laying up so much as purposely missing the green short.

I think in over 50 rounds there I maybe made par 5 times. Bogey was a great score there and usually at least tied the hole in match play.
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On the high school team our home course had a downhill 220ish yard par 3 with water short left, huge dropoffs left and over the green, trees right, and bunkers short right. For me the best way to make a par was to take one less club and do anything possible not to hit it left. Best case scenario I was 20 yard short of the green or I got it to run up close to the front. The only other possibility was to hit hybrid and just hope it didn't go over the green because if it did there was no way to find the ball.

The 5th at Hopkinton Country Club? I can see it in my head. Bitch of a hole.

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I may have done it at a higher handicap, but at 13, I'm supposed to shoot par on a lot of par 3s.
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