Whether their surrounded by water, have undulating narrow entrances, enriched by a plethora of bunkers or in Wangjuntr’s case situated on top of a steep cliff, there are certain features of a good par-3 that we never forget. To narrow the best of the entire nine existing par-3s at Wangjuntr Golf Park Valley and Highland courses down to one is nearly impossible. And to describe all, there would have to be one stipulation and that would be for me not to run out of expletives in trying to convey the splendor & beauty of each!
An outstanding par-3 should meet all the following requirements memorable, difficulty, aesthetically pleasing, uniqueness and its psychological strength. Think of a super par-3 and automatically the 17th at Sawgrass and the 12th at Augusta come to mind why? because theirs the most recognizable in the world and create instant excitement. With more than 120,000 balls finding the lake each year the dreaded 17th during the ‘Players Championship’ can give the best golfers a psychological trip they may never return from and yet the hole was not initially intended to be so lethal. Designer Pete Dye originally wanted to have a lake adjacent to the green, but the soil around the green contained the best sand for filling the fairways. Before he knew it, most of the ground surrounding the 17th was gone.
Augusta’s 12th nicknamed “Golden Bell” the 155-yard par-3 has been called the hardest hole in tournament golf by Jack Nicklaus. Even though it’s the shortest hole on the course, it usually wreaks havoc. And if there is any semblance of a wind whistling through the trees, this tranquil hole turns the beauty into a beast with jagged teeth. With Rae’s Creek in front and three bunkers (one in front and two behind) surrounding the green, consider yourself very lucky if your golf ball stays on the glassy-fast green.
These descriptions of two of the world’s most famous short holes give you an indication of just what defines a wonderful par-3 and you will find most, if not all, of these characteristics and more at Wangjuntr. For example the exquisite 8th (“Edge of Life”) set on the edge of a cliff on the Highland will certainly get your blood pumping; lift your head and take in a view at what’s in front of and around you and even the most hardened of golfers will feel intimidated. If you’re looking for a true thriller, look no further than the Valley’s 17th (“Piranha”) ; this par-3 with appropriate nick-name crossing over a piranhas-infested lake and straight uphill can be treacherous if you’re short then your ball could finish in the lake or roll 40 feet down a cliff and you will need a shovel to get it out. And when the breeze is into a player’s face it can be next to impossible to get your tee shot in the vicinity of the pin.
My list could go on and on describing the great shorter holes at Wangjuntr but I can’t sign off without informing you of Highlands 4th &17th having contrasting looks as that of tantalizing mixtures of “air around the sand”, and “water around the sand”. The 4th (“Island in the Air”) is surrounded in the front and back by extremely deep bunkers which are designed to be notorious, and the green at the top of a hill is accessible only with a pin-point accurate tee shot over a deep swale. The 17th (“Dwarfs’ Kingdom”) is detained to be the main talking point of serious golf conversations and the reason of many ‘pinched nerves’! from an elevated tee you are hitting towards water and a very well protected green encircled by sand and water.
Some golf holes around the world may have been over–designed but there’s not one golf hole at Wangjuntr Golf Park which comes under this category. Everybody has their own dream course and it’s the start of many arguments elevated tee’s to an amphitheatre of dunes & bunkers is the picture many have of their perfect par-3 yet anytime you have a cluster of bunkers placed correctly on a short hole you will have a cracker! A par-3 should frustrate, charm, scare and entice you. Included in this package should be exquisite scenery with humps and hollows set in delightfully natural terrain.
Natural swales and pot bunkers all can add to a par-3 masterpiece at the end though as you reach for that drink at the 19th - the trip through the par-3s of any course should have been an exhilarating adventure and rewarding experience, and at Wangjuntr both and more are guaranteed!