Eight Of The Longest Par 3s At Daily Fee Courses In Massachusetts - MASSGOLF

A List Of The Longest par 3s From The Back Tees At Public Courses In Massachusetts

How often can you decide—or even consider—to “let it fly” on a par 3? Most are meticulously designed to test your mid-iron or wedge game with pinpoint accuracy. But occasionally, you stumble upon one that is equal parts clever and diabolical, which leaves you no choice but to reach for the No. 1 head cover.  

Is this information more relevant for 19th-hole fodder or the subject of local golf trivia? Perhaps. But curiosity beckons when you take the long view down toward the green. It may present an opportunity for a legendary ace, a proud birdie, or a satisfying par on a flagrantly tricky hole. If you manage any of the above on these holes, we advise you to keep the scorecard.  

Well scattered throughout the Commonwealth, you may be surprised which courses made this list and which ones just barely missed out. 

Editor’s Note: To create a consistent standard for our list, we measured from the back tees at each daily-fee public course. Holes on par-3 and executive courses (total length under 5,000 for 18 holes from the back tees) are not included on the main list. 

Butter Brook Golf Club (Westford, MA) — No. 11, 249 yards

The 11th at Butter Brook is called “Swale” because a deep chipping area defines its approach to the right front, which ends as a “thumbprint” splitting the front half of the putting surface. Large trees frame both sides of this challenging hole. Playing from the back tee, which requires a trudge over a bridge 54 yards back from the nearest markers, changes the calculus completely.

Pro Tip: It’s helpful to tee off on the right side of the back tee, aim for the left side of the green, and fade it toward the center. Anything short left is a fine miss. Anything to the right takes on a wooded area quickly, making it much harder to get up and down. — Jamie Haufler, Mass Golf Championship Coordinator.

Architect: Geoffrey Cornish, Brian Silva, Mark Mungeam (2004).

Local Attractions: Kimball Farm. This family-friendly destination in Westford is buzzing with classic summer fun. Outdoor activities include mini golf, a 9-hole pitch-and-putt course, bumper boats, batting cages, plus fresh ice cream. You can spend an hour or the whole day there.

Tee times: butterbrookgc.com/tee-times

Leo J. Martin Golf Course (Weston, MA) — No. 12, 250 yards

Down by the river…yes, the famous Charles River weaves its way through Leo J. Martin on its way toward Boston en route to the Atlantic Ocean. After crossing the river to play the first two holes of the back nine, you cross a footbridge to play the longest par-3 on the course. There’s nothing too intricate about this tree-lined hole playing to a circular green. A straight shot should do just fine. If you’re curious, this is not the longest par-3 at a Donald Ross course. That distinction belongs to the 12th at Iowa’s Cedar Rapids Country Club, which stretches to a staggering 285 yards.

Pro Tip: Playing from a slightly elevated tee, this hole has a fairly wide landing area, with a bunker lurking front right. Like many Ross designs, staying below the hole will give you the best shot at par. 

Architect: Donald Ross (1932).

Local Attraction: Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal. Here’s your SAT word for the day: Philatelist, someone who collects or is interested in stamps and postage history. If that happens to describe you, you’re in luck. The Spellman Museum contains over 2 million items, ranging from postage stamps to postal history to artifacts of communications through the mail.

Fun Fact: During winter, the Leo J. Martin Golf Course doubles as a ski track, allowing visitors to cross-country ski or snowshoe around the property.

Tee times: leo-j-martin-memorial-golf-course.book.teeitup.com/


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Westminster Country Club (Westminster, MA) — No. 12, 250 yards

Prepare for a thrilling challenge at Westminster Country Club. After breezing through the first six holes on flat open land, the course starts to flex its muscles. Even if you’re in a rhythm, the presence of water, longer holes, and tighter fairways on the back nine demand additional strategy. The 11th features a demanding uphill par-4, spanning 386 yards, leading to the 12th, a narrow downhill par-3 requiring over 200 yards of carry with bunkers on each side. A few tall pines on the right create a “shoot” feel from the tee. The green isn’t easy, either, as pin placement can be front, middle, and back to add another level to the hole.

Pro Tip: You have to hit it straight. Sometimes, the left side limits a power fade for righties. You’re usually better off short than long. — Jay Gearan, longtime sports writer for The Gardner News. 

Architect: Albert LeBlanc (1957).

Local Attractions: Mount Wachusett & Wachusett Brewing. While ski season is officially over, you can venture to the summit of Mount Wachusett and enjoy the scenic views from this 2,006-foot peak. On a clear day, the Boston skyline is easily visible to the east. Afterward, the Wachusett Brewery is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a variety of craft beers, hard ciders, hard seltzers, and handcrafted cocktails.

Tee times: westminstercountryclub.com/tee-times/

The back nine at Westminster is one of the better back 9s in the area. Holes 11, 12, and 13 can make or break the round. (Contributed)

Waverly Oaks Golf Club (Plymouth, MA) — No. 17, 251 yards

No. 17 at Waverly Oaks is fittingly named “Black Hole.” It’s a daunting hole that rewards distance and accuracy and punishes leaving shots short. If your tee shot fails to reach the bunkers or soars to the right, your ball will quickly be consumed by the steep drop in elevation and roll down into the hazard.

Pro Tip: The key to this hole is to club up and stay to the left. Players are better off aiming for the slope behind the green and having their ball roll gently downward onto the green. If you can get your ball into the right spot, you have a good chance at birdie. — Landon Ridder, VP of Golf Operations at Waverly Oaks.

Architect: Brian Silva (1998).

Local Attractions: Plymouth Rock & Myles Standish State Forest. The most historic attraction in Plymouth is Plymouth Rock, site of the disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Another outdoor attraction is Myles Standish State Forest, known for its hiking trails and easily accessible water activities.

Tee times: waverlyoaksgc.com/tee-times

The 17th at Waverly Oaks presents one of the most intimidating shots on the course. (George Peet Photography)

Olde Salem Greens (Salem, MA) — No. 2, 251 yards

The second at Olde Salem is arguably the most fun to play as it features a nearly 75-foot drop in elevation from the back tee to the fairly-sized, unguarded green. It also has an element of courtesy built in. It’s one of those holes where your group hits their tee shots, then once reaching the green, everyone marks their ball and waves the group behind up. After that, the group hits and begins its march toward the green, and your group finishes out. This is done to keep the pace of play moving.

Pro Tip: It’s almost like it’s a drivable par-4, but by no means do you need to fly it 250 yards. You just get a ball tumbling down this hill and it’s going to roll basically down to the front of the green. It’s a really wild, cool hole. — Jeremy Wilson, golf travel writer.

Architect: Wayne Stiles & John Van Kleek (1933).

Local Attraction: Downtown Salem. Halloween is several months away, so spring is the perfect time to view all the holiday-themed attractions without battling with the annual influx of tourists who flock here in the fall.

Tee Times: Advanced booking – 978-744-2124; Same Day – 978-744-2149.

The second at Olde Salem Greens features a significant drop from tee to green. (Jeremy Wilson)

Cold Spring Country Club (Belchertown, MA) — No. 6, 257 yards

Tucked between Amherst and the Mass Pike is the sleepy community of Belchertown, home to one of the newest public golf courses in Massachusetts (opened for play in 2012). Cold Spring is a rare find in that it begins with a par-3 on the 1st. But the 6th at Cold Spring is called “Challenger” for a reason. Most players from the back tees will need a full driver to get to the green, though a 20-foot drop from tee to green will give your ball some extra distance. A large bunker in front protects the green. Follow the path behind the sixth green to the seventh tee, another nice ride through the woods on a raised cart path.

Pro Tip: This is a tough par-3 because of its yardage and because the green sits at a 45-degree angle from the tee. Your tee shot can run through the green pretty easily. The front of the green is narrow and protected by a left greenside bunker. The ideal shot is a draw to the front center of the green. — David Wright, Cold Spring’s head golf professional.

Architect: Mary Armstrong (2012).

Local Attraction: Quabbin Reservoir. Built nearly a century ago as the primary water supply for Greater Boston, the reservoir offers peaceful and sweeping views of the Swift River Valley. Buried beneath this manmade body of water is the old Dugmar Golf Course, a 9-hole track built in the former town of Greenwich in the late 1920s. The town and course were reachable by train from Springfield, but neither the course nor town exist anymore.

Tee Times: coldspringcc.com/public-tee-times/

Cold Spring Country Club is one of the newest golf courses to open in Massachusetts. (Contributed)

Cape Ann Golf Club (Essex, MA) — No. 7/16, 258 yards

The 7th at Cape Ann separates itself from the rest of the course in more ways than one. The landing area juts across the marsh, essentially making it an island. Hitting your tee shot through an often swirling wind is only one part of the challenge. You then have to take on a green that only measures about 16 paces deep. American novelist and poet John Updike once said, “Cape Ann is a more spacious course, with a wonderful high marsh view from the fourth tee and an amusing tidal water hole for the seventh.” Amusing indeed when you play it yourself.

Pro Tip: If you don’t hit the ball pure, you’re better off laying up and getting a ball over the marsh and close to the green. There’s often wind involved, so taking out a driver is a mistake because you’ll likely make a 5 or 6. — Tyler Stavros, Manager at Cape Ann Golf Course.

Architect: Eugene “Skip” Wogen (1931).

Local Attraction: Misery Islands. This might sound like an odd suggestion, given that one’s golf day shouldn’t contain the word ‘misery.’ But indulge us in this suggestion. Sitting a mile off the coast of nearby Beverly are a pair of islands (83-acre Great Misery and 4-acre Little Misery) with two miles of trails that were once home to a summer club and golf course. There’s a 90-minute tour that includes a ferry ride to the islands. 

Tee Times: capeanngolf.teesnap.net

A view of the “amusing tidal water hole for the seventh,” as described by author John Updike. (Contributed)

Cape Cod Country Club (East Falmouth, MA) — No. 12, 265 yards

Right on the heels of the lengthy par-5 11th, the par-3 12th measures in at a hefty 265 yards from the back tee, which looks quite lonely sitting some 45 yards behind the white tee. The hole plays gently downhill but not significantly enough to soften the length on the scorecard. And if you can’t fly it most of the way there, you’ll have to thread it through bunkers lurking short left and short right.

Pro Tip: Read the wind, trust your distances, and play accordingly. If you can draw it to the front center of the green, you’ll be in a great spot. So long as you avoid the trees and the bunkers, you should have a decent chance to make par.

Architect: Devereux Emmet, Alfred H. Tull (1928).

Local Attraction: Falcon Golf Club. If you have room for nine more holes, take the short ride to Joint Base Cape Cod and play one of just two golf courses nationwide owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Cape Cod CC and Falcon CC were both profiled in the Mass Golf Staycation series.

Tee Times: capecodcountryclub.com

The 12th at Cape Cod Country Club tops the list at 265 yards from the tips. (Mass Golf)

Honorable Mention

Blue Rock Golf Course (South Yarmouth, MA) — No. 5, 255 yards*

When you first visit Blue Rock, you forget everything you know about par-3 courses. This layout of 18 “one-shotters” plays just as challenging as an entire 18-hole loop at your local course. The course lulls you in with a pair of short holes, with the third the first of a few over the snake-shaped pond. Once you’ve warmed up your wedges or high irons, you head to the longest and most challenging hole on 5, lined by a narrow tree-lined fairway.

Pro Tip: The 5th is reachable by the big hitters, but the green is protected by bunkers right and left and a speed slot in the fairway, which a long drive will catch and roll right up to the green. An errant tee shot can put you in a spot where getting even a putt at par could be challenging. A four here is not a bad score. 

Architect: Geoffrey Cornish (1962).

Local Attraction: Scargo Tower. We could recommend the beach; it is Cape Cod, after all. But even if you swap your golf shoes for slides, take the quick ride up to one of the Cape’s highest points for a bird’s eye view of Cape Cod Bay, stretching the entire lower Cape to Provincetown and as far west as Plymouth.

Tee Times: bluerockgolfcourse.com

*Holes on par-3 and executive courses (total length under 5,000 for 18 holes from the back tees) were not considered for the main list. 

Tom Coyne, best-selling author and editor of The Golfer’s Journal, played Blue Rock Golf Course as part of his 50-state golf odyssey, which was the subject of his book “A Course Called America.” (Mass Golf)

Best of the rest:

  • Pinehills Golf Club – Jones Course (Plymouth): Hole 5, 248 yards
  • Taconic Golf Club (Williamstown): Hole 17, 246 yards
  • Beverly Golf & Tennis Club (Beverly): Hole 11, 245 yards
  • Pine Oaks Golf Course (Easton): Hole 6, 245 yards
  • Granite Links Golf Club – Quincy Course (Milton): Hole 2, 242 yards
  • Gardner Municipal Golf Course (Gardner): Hole 16, 242 yards
  • Shining Rock Golf Club (Northbridge): Hole 5, 241 yards
  • Bayberry Hills Golf Course (South Yarmouth): Hole 17, 241 yards
  • Mill Valley Golf Links (Belchertown): Hole 5, 240 yards


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