Golf Digest Ranks Ninth Hole at Caledonia Among the Game’s Great, Short Par 3s

March 21, 2013

The 9th hole at Caledonia ranked among America's great, short par 3sChicks dig the long ball and golf course architects apparently do too, but there remains substantial charm in a hole that is short on distance and long on challenge.

Golf Digest’s architecture editor, Ron Whitten, is a fan of the game’s more subtle challenges, with a particular affinity for perilous par 3s, writing:  

“A one-shot hole that is a delicate pitch to a daunting target has been all but forgotten. Not that they were ever that popular. The best took courage to design and courage to play. 

We're talking about truly short par 3s, ones no longer than a football field, end zones included, 120 yards more or less. The 155-yard 12th at Augusta National is far too long for our purposes, as is the 137-yard island-green 17th at TPC Sawgrass. Fine holes, but not pitch and putts.“

Armed with that criteria, Whitten identified seven of golf’s greatest, short par 3s. Taking its place alongside the seventh hole at Pebble Beach and the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon, is the ninth hole at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. (Checkout the entire slideshow).  

Whitten wrote of the 118-yard (from the tips) beauty at Caledonia:  

“Ten years after he helped Fazio build the third at Ventana Canyon, Mike Strantz designed his own vest-pocket hole on his first solo design. Working on a tight site, he truncated the ninth to spare the removal of several ancient moss-draped live oaks in the clubhouse area. The hole was supposed to be 130 yards long, but a back tee on the far side of the entry road was soon abandoned. The wide, shallow green is shaped like an hourglass tipped on its side, all the sand pouring out to form a frontal bunker that is bigger than the green.”

The recognition is another in a long line for Caledonia, which is ranked among America’ s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Digest also ranked Caledonia No. 14 on its list of the “Top 50 Most Fun Courses to Play.”