Course Name: Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course
Designer: Dick Wilson/Joseph L. Lee (1961), Raymond Floyd (2009, Redesign)
Location: Palm Beach, Florida
History: Palm Beach Par 3 was originally designed in 1961 by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee as a private course. In 1973, the wealthy Phipps family sold the course to the town of Palm Beach for $5 million and it has remained municipal ever since. In 2009, Raymond Floyd led an extensive redesign of the course. Palm Beach Par 3 has won several awards and is considered one of the best executive courses in America.
Conditions: 7/10, Palm Beach Par 3 is in overall good shape with solid teeboxes and bunkers. The greens roll true but are on the slower side and littered with ballmarks.
Value: 7/10, You’ll be asked to pay $45-62 in high season to walk Palm Beach, which is a pretty good price considering the property and prices of nearby courses. Locals and juniors receive discounts as well.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 54 2572 N/A N/A
Blue 54 2079 N/A N/A
White 54 1602 N/A N/A
Hole Descriptions: Whenever I see an 18-hole executive course, I always wonder if the course would’ve been better off as a 9-holer with longer holes. Given the incredible property at Palm Beach Par 3 sandwiched on a barrier island between an inlet and Ocean, I think it’s fair to argue that they could’ve built one of the best 9-hole courses in the world. With that being said, there is a place for par three courses in golf, and Palm Beach is no doubt one of the best ones out there. For beginners, older players, and juniors, this is an epic place to play a quick game and even good players will enjoy some iron practice here. More affordable and fun than many overpriced public courses in the area, I highly recommend playing here.
While it’s true that Palm Beach is a par 3 course with many short holes, the opening hole is one of its toughest at 167 yards. With water down the right the entire way, this long, narrow green features OB left and water long as well. There are many places to lose balls on this course and I would not be surprised to learn many golfers lose their first shots of the day here.
The 2nd hole is a bit easier playing 126 yards slightly uphill. This green runs back-to-front and is defended by bunkers left and long.
You must cross Ocean Boulevard to access the next six holes, beginning with the 196 yard 3rd. This is another tough par 3 with OB left the entire way and a hazard running down the right. This green is relatively large and features multiple plateaus.
At 211 yards, the 4th hole is the longest at Palm Beach Par 3 and also its number 1 handicap. Running parallel to the previous hole, you must carry a hazard at least 160 yards and avoid the Lake Worth Inner Channel running down the left. Your work isn’t over once you find the green, as this surface contains several mounds. Par is a great score on this challenging par 3.
The 5th hole continues along the inlet as another strong 176 yard par 3. With water down the left the entire way, this hole features numerous bunkers down the right and a green that slopes subtly back-to-front.
After such a tough start, the course lets up a bit beginning with the 128 yard 6th, as eight of the next nine holes are under 133 yards. I do think this is a weakness of the course, as it creates a certain repetitiveness hitting the same wedge over and over. The 6th hole, however, is a nice one again playing along the inlet and very narrow with trees down the right. This green is long and narrow and features a ridge running horizontally through the middle.
The 7th hole turns back around along the road and is a short hole at just 108 yards. Multiple bunkers run down the right the entire way and OB lines left of a green that features another ridge through its center.
The final hole on the inlet side of the road, the 8th plays 133 yards to a large, back-to-front sloped green.
At 81 yards, the 9th hole is the shortest on the course and honestly feels like a throwaway hole by architects who ran out of space. The parking lot lines the right while bunkers flank a large green with a lefthand swale. This is a hole-in-one hole if I’ve ever seen one!
The 10th hole continues the easy stretch at 112 yards to a green that slopes back-to-front.
The 11th is again just 108 yards but is a better hole featuring an angled green that runs both back-to-front and left-to-right. Two bunkers line this green to the left while the road guards the right.
After a strong start and fairly mundane middle stretch, the course picks up some steam with the 12th, an 126 yarder playing uphill towards the dunes. It’s unusual to have these elevation changes in Florida and the reveal of the Atlantic Ocean from this two-tiered, back-to-front sloped green is fantastic.
Playing either 127 or 171 yards depending on the teebox, the 13th is another beautiful hole playing downhill along the beach. This green slopes right-to-left and OB lines both sides.
The 14th hole continues along the beach and plays similarly to its predecessor at 129 yards slightly downhill. This green also slopes right-to-left and is defended by a deep bunker left.
At 156 yards, the 15th hole takes you away from the beach temporarily and is a difficult hole with water down the left and a green jutting into the hazard. This green is large and slopes steadily right-to-left lined by a bunker long.
The 16th hole plays downhill and shorter at 117 yards. This long, narrow green is lined by water on the left and contains a left swale on its surface.
Palm Beach Par 3 concludes in difficult fashion beginning with the 148 yard 17th. Playing longer and more uphill than the 12th, this hole requires at least one club extra to a slender, back-to-front sloped green defended by a significant false front and OB left. This hole demands precision and might be the toughest on the course.
In fitting fashion, the closing hole runs back along the beach at 179 yards. This is a really nice hole with OB left the entire way, a left-to-right sloped green, and steep slopes right. Par is a great score here, especially with the wind up.
General Comments: For an executive course on a small property, Palm Beach’s driving range is fairly impressive and is a great place to warm up before your round. The clubhouse is an excellent place to have a drink overlooking the beach after a round. The course is a very easy walk and pace of play was excellent when I played.
Verdict: With solid conditions, a beautiful beachfront setting, and strong variety and challenge, Palm Beach Par 3 is an elite executive course that is well-worth a play for all levels of golfer.