Golfer's Choice: Top 25 short golf courses

From par-3 courses to executive and nine-hole tracks, the best of short golf courses in the U.S. according to your reviews

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Short golf courses have enjoyed a bit of resurgence in recent years thanks to top resorts like Pinehurst and Bandon Dunes adding them to their offerings. But short golf has been around for a very long time in both remote and urban areas. They are one of the best ways to introduce new golfers to the game or allow time-strapped experienced golfers to get in some practice.

Hundreds of short courses are reviewed each year on Golf Advisor, whether they are standalone courses or relief courses adjacent to championship layouts. So for 2019, we decided to create our very first list specifically for short courses, using a similar methodology to our main, Top 50 U.S. courses list. Our definition of a "Short course" is any course that is less than a par 70 or 6,000 yards. This means everything from par-3 courses to regulation-length 9-hole courses to 18-hole executive courses are eligible as long as they are publicly accessible. These are both standalone facilities and complementary courses to championship layouts. Regulation golf courses with express or beginner tees are not eligible.

We've included a review quote for each course, and you'll see several of these players are new to the game and these facilities have served as excellent welcoming points to the game we all love.

Don't just review the big courses you play. These short courses are especially important and worth your review as well. Want to get involved? Click here to review a golf course, whether it’s your first or your 100th.

  1. The Links at Terranea

    Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 27
    What they're saying: "This is an amazing course to hone your short game ... Very fast nine, finished in an hour and 35 minutes. Great walking course for exercise with unbelievable views." - carliesdad

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  2. Sugar Mountain Golf Club

    Banner Elk, N.C. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 64
    What they're saying: "This is an executive course, but very challenging. The scenery is beautiful and the staff is friendly. It was a plus on our vacation." - Debbiecanter

  3. Heritage of Hawk Ridge

    Lake St. Louis, Mo. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 27
    What they're saying: "This is one of the nicest par 3’s you will play. It is very challenging also. From the white tees, the average yardage on the holes is 150 yards. The sand traps were perfect. Water comes into play on holes 6,7 & 8." - lcbgolf

  4. Falcon Valley Golf Course

    Lenexa, Kan. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "The design and layout, the conditioning, the staff all make it exceptional. Not hip at all, just really good golf. And quick." - zappalives

  5. Northwood Golf Club

    Monte Rio, Calif. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Northwood is a magical place. The redwoods obviously are the distinguishing characteristic but the layout itself is fun and challenging." - Gremlingolfer, Local Golf Advisor

  6. Winter Park Golf Course

    Orlando, Fla. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 35
    What they're saying: "WP9 is the perfect 9-hole course in my opinion ... The course is always in good shape, and even when it is busy the pace moves along well. The staff are friendly and accommodating." - atkiger8

  7. Palm Beach Par 3

    Palm Beach, Fla. | Read reviews
    18 holes, Par 54
    What they're saying: "I take all of my guests here and they love it. Quick pace. I've always finished in less than 2.5 hrs. Everyone is friendly." - Trooperpg

  8. Buffer Park Golf Course

    Indianapolis, Ind. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "It is the best 9 hole course I have ever played, and rumor has it to be one of the best 9 hole courses in the country. The layout is a perfect mix of challenging and good opportunities to make birdie." - HoosierHacker89, Local Golf Advisor

  9. Ashwood Golf Club

    Apple Valley, Calif. | Read reviews
    27 holes, par 32-33-32
    What they're saying: "I have introduced several friends to golf at this course. I usually bring my daughter because she enjoys all of the animals and the beautiful course. The staff is always friendly, the other golfers are always nice and courteous." - JeremyMenge

  10. Shadow Hills North Par-3 Course

    Indio, Calif. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 57
    What they're saying: "This is a great course & is very beautiful. Even though it is a par 3-try it-you’ll enjoy it. A fun, quick 18 holes with lots of sand & water." - Sandy2488725

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  11. Ben Brown's Golf Course at the Ranch at Laguna Beach

    Laguna Beach, Calif. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 32
    What they're saying: "My son an I had an enjoyable time golfing. I have been playing here for over 50 years and it was his first time. I talked about other family members who played here and we both laughed our way through the beautiful canyon setting." - John8079976

  12. Winding Hills Golf Club

    Montgomery, N.Y. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 57
    What they're saying: " I started playing golf last year and since I’ve started I’ve been to over 15 golf courses in 3 different states and played over 60 rounds of golf. This course exceeds many of the bigger courses in every aspect." - Mbeebz123

  13. Kings Way Golf Club

    Yarmouth Port, Mass. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 60
    What they're saying: "! We really enjoyed the idyllic setting and the course layout. Expect to take a driver for a couple of the par threes if you are handicap 21 like myself!" - charlesstuart

  14. Village Links Golf Club

    Plymouth, Mass. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 54
    What they're saying: " This course was in great shape and fun to play. Just hilly enough to get some decent exercise." - parthur

  15. Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West

    Jersey City, N.J. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "I first played Skyway a couple years back having discovered there was a public 9 hole course a short Uber ride away. So glad I tried it because it’s a challenging course, with excellent views, great upkeep, and helpful, friendly staff." - ianmariano

  16. The Course at Sewanee

    Sewanee, Tenn. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Absolutely love it - heathland feel, with the occasional infinity edge mountain look. Great job by Gil hanse making this simple routing completely compelling." - BradleyKlein

  17. Boca Delray Golf Club

    Delray Beach, Fla. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 60
    What they're saying: "It’s a short Executive golf course but very challenging. Bring your “A” game or lots of balls. There is water to go over on the majority of the holes. Fun course to play." - Pitakid

  18. Squirrel Run Golf & Country Club

    Plymouth, Mass. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 57
    What they're saying: "As a senior have only been playing golf two years and really enjoy golfing here. Yardage is perfect for my type of golfing. I always look forward to coming to this course, staff always friendly and grounds well maintained." - bobfundir

  19. Williams Creek Golf Course

    Knoxville, Tenn. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 54
    What they're saying: "Tremendous course to work on your short game! Greens are extremely fast and undulating. If you are looking for a country club setting this is not the place. University of Tennessee golfers use the course a lot. A four some can easily play 2:20 to 3:00 hrs." - huffaker

  20. Palm Royale Country Club

    La Quinta, Calif. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 54
    What they're saying: "Probably the nicest par 3 course I have ever played. Grounds were in fantastic shape and really friendly staff and course workers. Will definitely golf there again." - Trooperpg

  21. Red at Tunxis Country Club

    Farmington, Conn. | Read reviews
    9 holes, par 35
    What they're saying: "I love this place! I’m new to the game as of this year, have played as many different courses as I can, and find this place to be top notch. Very well maintained and the people make it better." - JosephBev1

  22. St. Mark Executive Course

    San Marcos, Calif. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 58
    What they're saying: "To add to the great layout, the greens, fairways and tee boxes are in maybe the best shape in the 30 years I’ve been playing this fun executive course." - jkrebs1234

  23. Sweetens Cove

    South Pittsburg, Tenn. | Read reviews
    What they're saying: "The rollicking green sites and swales can funnel a ball just as quickly away from pins as it does toward them [and] offers a feast or famine scorecard." - BrandonWebb, Local Golf Advisor

  24. Maple Leaf Golf & Country Club

    Port Charlotte, Fla. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 62
    What they're saying: "This is a nice little executive course plays 62, and there were a lot of holes just low or mid-iron in distance. But there were some par 4s that was pretty challenging, because of the tucked tee positions." - huffaker

  25. Mountain Shadows Golf Club

    Paradise Valley, Ariz. | Read reviews
    18 holes, par 54
    What they're saying: "Mountain shadows is a par three course tucked near the base of camelback mountain ... The greens are well maintained and challenging. The four person golf carts are great for a friendly round. It’s also walkable with good push carts available." - vhynes

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Golfer's Choice: Top 25 short golf courses