A 205 yard par 3 is the opening hole at this years Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes. I remember when the US Open was at Congressional (late 90’s when Els won not 2010 and Rory won) everyone was so opinionated about the 18th hole being a par 3. Will there be as much controversy when the opening hole of a major championship is a par 3?
Par threes are a funny part of golf. When you think about how the course handicaps work Par 3’s are typically the easier holes, and at best find themselves in the middle of the pack of difficulty (at least by USGA and R&A standards). So shouldn’t a par three to start be a little easier on the players. I mean most of those guys are to be hitting anything from a 5 iron down to a 8 iron on the first tee. Thats got to be better for first tee jitters when you have a mid to a long iron in your hand, and only 205 yards seperating you from a par. But the Chicago Golf Guy is not so sure…
Here are my thoughts: I always seem to find I make the least amount of birdies on par 3’s (as compaired to par 4 or par 5’s). I do not like to be forced to hit a certain club on the first hole. When players are expected to have an “easy” first hole, it adds more pressure, and finally it is a 200+ yard par 3.
When I come up to a par three I am typically have one thought, get it on the green, and two putts. All I want is a three, and sometimes when all you are working towards is a par, its the toughest par to make. Starting with a par three is so unique it kinda throws you off your game, which is never a good thing for the start of a Major Championship. Plus a player is forced to hit a certain club rather than having a choice of hitting a Driver, or fairway wood, or hybrid, or long iron, etc… I like having an option on the first tee so I can hit something that I feel comfortable with, and confident.
Even though its weird that the Open Championship starts with a par 3 (this is the only major championship venue that starts with a par 3) it does add a certain penuche and excitement to one of the top golf tournaments every year. I believe the game of golf needs a little shake up every once in a while to keep us all intrigued and on our toes. Plus what fun is a major unless there is a little controversy.