- Always use a tee (give yourself a perfect ball position)
- From the tee box place your tee on the same side as trouble (i.e. water on right, tee up on right side)
- Play your natural shot (whether a fade or a draw)
- Pick the right club to fly the distance to between the front and back of the green (notice I didn't say to the middle)
- Concentrate on putting the ball on the green (forget about the pin position)
These tips have always been my thoughts when playing a par 3. It is really rare that I make a birdie so all I concentrate on is getting a 3 or a 4.
When I use a tee on a par 3, I find a broken tee on the tee box and push it into the ground so just the head is above the ground. The ball looks like it is just hovering above the ground.
This gives me extreme confidence!
By teeing up on the same side of trouble, you will most likely be playing away from danger. Of course, if the green is surrounded by water or bunkers then this doesn't apply. That's rare though, thank goodness!!
When I say play your natural shot, I mean just that! Whatever shot you brought to the course that day, play!
If you have practiced enough with your clubs and your know their average distances, figure out the distance to the front of the green and to the back of the green and pick the club that will get to in between that distance.
I use my FreeCaddie Golf GPS app and what I like to do, is check the distance to the back of the green and the distance to front of the green. And I pick a club that will easily land in between those 2 numbers.
For example, if the GPS says 136 to the front and 158 to the back, I pick a club that I can easily clear 136 yards but won't travel 158. Which for me is my 7 iron.
It doesn't matter to me that the card says the hole is 147. That puts pressure on me to try and reach that number. By having a large gap, it gives me room for error.
Once you have made up your mind with those first four tips, then you need to get everything else out of your head. Don't think about the pin, bunkers, water, etc. Focus only on the center of the green and let it rip.
Should everybody know these tips for playing par 3's? I think so! Give them a try and pass them on to your friends.