These countries and states have the best 9-hole, par-3 and short courses in the world

gairloch golf course

Scotland's Gairloch GC is one of the world's top 9-hole courses.

Clyde Johnson

With detailed input from GOLF’s 88-member Top 100 Courses ranking panel, its editors, architects from around the world and select other short-course aficionados, we’ve compiled GOLF’s first long look at “short courses,” including our inaugural ranking of the world’s 50 greatest 9-hole tracks, plus the 25 best sub-6,000-yard courses and 25 best par-3 courses. Because good things really do come in small packages.

GOLF’s inaugural 9-hole, short-course and par-3 course rankings feature courses in 19 countries and 23 states. So which area of the world reigns supreme when it comes to stunning shorties? Take a scroll through our country and state breakdown below to find out. And for more detailed course info, check out the links above.

*Note: Countries and states are listed in order of most courses to least, then alphabetically.

COUNTRIES

SCOTLAND (14 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Durness GC, Durness, Scotland (Keith, Morrison, Ross/1988)

Isle of Harris GC, Isle of Harris, Scotland (Locals/1920) 

Gairloch GC, Gairloch, Scotland (A.M. Burgess/1898) 

Tobermory GC, Isle of Mull, Scotland (David Adams/1896)

Barra GC, Isle of Barra, Scotland (Locals/1992)

Musselburgh Links, East Lothian, Scotland (Members/1672) 

Traigh GC, Arisaig, Scotland (Landowners/1900, Updated by Johnny Salvesen/1993)

Dragon’s Tooth (Ballachulish) Ballachulish, Scotland (Robin Hiseman/2002) 

The 6th at Durness GC.

SHORT COURSES

Shiskine Golf & Tennis Club, Isle of Arran, Scotland (2,996 Yards/Par 42/12 holes) 

Iona, Isle of Iona, Scotland (4,491 Yards/Par 66)

Dunaverty GC, Campbeltown, Scotland (4,799 Yards/Par 66)

Stonehaven GC, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (5,103 Yards/Par 66)

Kilspindie GC, Longniddry, Scotland (5,502 Yards/Par 69)

Gleneagles (Queen’s), Perthshire, Scotland (5,965 Yards/Par 68)

ENGLAND (9 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Royal Worlington & Newmarket GC, Suffolk, England (Tom Dunn/1893)

Leckford (Old Course), Hampshire, England (Harry Colt/1929)

Reigate Heath GC, Surrey, England (Tom Dunn/1895)

Alnmouth Village GC, Alnwick, England (Mungo Park/1869)

Creativity rules the day at Royal Worlington, with tee shots crossing greens and a final two-shotter that requires a clever little tee shot over the entry road.

Kevin Diss Photography / www.kevindiss.com

SHORT COURSES

Painswick GC, Stroud, England (4,831 Yards/Par 67)

Church Stretton GC, Church Stretton, England (5,030 Yards/Par 66)

Bamburgh Castle GC, Bamburgh, England (5,645 Yards/Par 68)

Kington GC, Kington, England (5,961 Yards/Par 70)

Cavendish GC, Buxton, England (5,721 Yards/Par 68)

JAPAN (4 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Otaru CC, (Old Course) Hokkaido, Japan (Tozo Sato & I. Kuno/1928)

Unzen Golf Links, Nagasaki, Japan (B. Oles/1913) 

SHORT COURSES

Kobe GC, Hyogo, Japan (4,049 Yards/Par 61)

Kawana GC (Oshima Course), Shizuoko, Japan (5,711 Yards/Par 70)

Cruit’s tiny green sites are perched in some truly phenomenal, unlikely places.

Clyde Johnson

IRELAND (3 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Cruit Island GC, Donegal, Ireland (Michael Doherty/1986) 

Mulranny GC, County Mayo, Ireland (Unknown/1896) 

Castlegregory Golf Links, County Kerry, Ireland (Arthur Spring/1989)

NEW ZEALAND (3 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Mahia GC, Mahia, New Zealand (Unknown/1984)

SHORT COURSES

Arrowtown GC, Arrow Junction, New Zealand (5,915 Yards/Par 70)

PAR-3 COURSE

The Hills (The Farm), Arrowtown, New Zealand (Darius Oliver/2019)

Arrowtown Golf Club in New Zealand.

Clyde Johnson

AUSTRALIA (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Frankston GC, Melbourne, Australia (Rowley Banks/1913)

SHORT COURSE

RACV Healesville CC, Healesville, Australia (5,328 Yards/Par 68)

CANADA (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSE

The Toronto Hunt, Toronto, Canada (Willie Park Jr./1918, Updated by Thomas McBroom/2018)

PAR-3 COURSE

Cabot Links (The Nest), Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada (Whitman & Axland/2020)

FRANCE (2 courses)

SHORT COURSE

Golf de Biarritz, Biarritz, France (5,907 Yards/Par 69)

PAR-3 COURSE

Les Bordes Golf International (Wild Piglet), Saint-Laurent-Nouan, France (Gil Hanse/2020)

A stunning hole at Les Bordes in France.

NETHERLANDS (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

The Links Valley (reversible), Ermelo, Netherlands (Frank Pont /2018) 

Domburgsche Golf Club, Domberg, Netherlands (Charles Warren/1914)

SPAIN (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Real Golf de Zarauz, Gipuzkoa, Spain (Unknown/1916)

Real Club de Golf La Toja, Pontevedra, Spain (Ramon Espinosa Garcia/1968) 

CHINA (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Mission Hills Haikou (Stepping Stone), Hainan, China (Brian Curley/2010)

Vestman Island GC in Iceland.

Courtesy GolfIceland.org

DENMARK (1 course)

SHORT COURSE

Fanø Golf Links, Fanø, Denmark (5,590 Yards/Par 70)

GERMANY (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Golf Club Norderney, Norderney, Germany (Members/1922)

ICELAND (1 course)

SHORT COURSE

Vestman Island GC, Vestman Island, Iceland (5,909 Yards/Par 70)

The 4th hole at Shiskine in Scotland, where 12 lovely and varied holes are set on an island next to an island.

Getty Images

NORTHERN IRELAND (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Bushfoot GC, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (Locals/1980, Updated by David Jones/2009)

SOUTH AFRICA (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Kambaku GC, Komatipoort, South Africa (Douw Van Der Merwe/1999)

TASMANIA (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

King Island Golf & Bowling, Currie, Tasmania (Locals/1932)

WALES (1 course)

SHORT COURSE

Welshpool GC, Welshpool, Wales (5,846 Yards/Par 70)

UNITED STATES

CALIFORNIA (6 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Sunnylands Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Dick Wilson/1964) 

Northwood GC, Monte Rio, Calif. (Alister MacKenzie/1828)

SHORT COURSES

Goat Hill Park, Oceanside, Calif. (4,454 Yards/Par 65)

Claremont CC, Oakland, Calif. (5,495 Yards/Par 68)

PAR-3 COURSES

The Olympic Club (Cliffs), San Francisco, Calif. (Tom Weiskopf/1994)

Quarry at La Quinta, La Quinta, Calif. (Tom Fazio/2003)

The Palm Beach Par 3 in Florida.

FLORIDA (5 courses)

9-HOLE COURSE

Winter Park GC, Winter Park, Fla. (Harley Ward & Dow George/1914, Updated by Johns & Rhebb/2016) 

PAR-3 COURSES

Palm Beach Par-3, Palm Beach, Fla. (Dick Wilson/1961; Updated by Raymond Floyd/2009)

Origins GC, Panama City Beach, Fla. (Davis Love III/2006)

St. Andrews Club, Delray Beach, Fla. (Pete & Alice Dye/2013)

The Concession GC (The Gimme), Bradenton, Fla. (Chris Cochran/Nicklaus Design/2019)

MASSACHUSETTS (5 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Whitinsville GC, Whitinsville, Mass. (Donald Ross/1925)

Edgartown GC, Edgartown, Mass. (Connie Lee/1926) 

Highland Golf Links, North Truro, Mass. (Willard Small/1892)

Milton-Hoosic Club, Canton, Mass. (Willie Park Jr./1891) 

Cohasse CC, Southbridge, Mass. (Donald Ross/1918)

Maine’s Castine GC.

MAINE (4 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

North Haven GC, North Haven, Maine (Unknown/1916, Updated by Wayne Stiles/1932)

Castine GC, Castine, Maine (Willie Park Jr./1921) 

SHORT COURSES

Northeast Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Maine (5,602 Yards/Par 70)

Cape Arundel GC, Kennebunkport, Maine (5,859 Yards/Par 69)

Kanawha Club in Virginia.

NEW JERSEY (3 courses)

9-HOLE COURSE

Madison GC, Madison, N.J. (Members/1896) 

PAR-3 COURSE

Pine Valley Golf Club, Pine Valley, N.J. (Tom Fazio/1992)

Hamilton Farm (Hickory), Far Hills, N.J. (Hurdzan & Fry/2001)

VIRGINIA (3 courses)

SHORT COURSE

Princess Anne CC, Virginia Beach, Va. (5,995 Yards/Par 70)

PAR-3 COURSE

Kanawha Club, Manakin-Sabot, Va. (Lester George/2003)

The Olde Farm, Bristol, Va. (Bobby Weed/2011)

The Dunes Club in Michigan.

MICHIGAN (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

The Dunes Club, New Buffalo, Mich. (Dick Nugent/1991)

Wawashkamo GC, Mackinac Island, Mich. (Alex Smith/1898) 

MISSOURI (2 courses)

PAR-3 COURSES

Big Cedar Lodge (Mountain Top), Ridgedale, Mo. (Gary Player/2018)

Big Cedar Lodge (Top of the Rock), Ridgedale, Mo. (Jack Nicklaus/2014)

NEW YORK (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Saratoga Golf & Polo, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Robert C.B. Anderson/1896)

Quogue Field Club, Quogue, NY (Tom Bendelow/1901)

Pinehurst’s Cradle course.

NORTH CAROLINA (2 courses)

PAR-3 COURSES

Pinehurst (The Cradle), Pinehurst, N.C. (Gil Hanse/2017)

Headwaters, Cashiers, N.C. (Tom Fazio/1999)

TENNESSEE (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSES

Sweetens Cove GC, South Pittsburg, Tenn. (King-Collins/2014) 

The Course at Sewanee, Sewanee, Tenn. (Albion Knight/1915, Updated by Gil Hanse/2013)

WISCONSIN (2 courses)

9-HOLE COURSE

Eagle Springs Golf Resort, Eagle, Wis. (William Tuohy/1893, A.G. Spaulding/1921) 

PAR-3 COURSE

Sand Valley (The Sandbox), Nekoosa, Wis. (Coore & Crenshaw/2018)

The Sandbox at Sand Valley.

ALABAMA (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Grand National/Magnolia Grove at RTJ Trail, Opelika/Mobile, Ala. (Robert Trent Jones Sr./1992)

ARIZONA (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Scottsdale National (Bad Little 9), Scottsdale, Ariz. (J. Kahn Golf Course Design/2016)

Colorado (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Ballyneal (The Mulligan), Holyoke, Colo. (Tom Doak/2017)

Culver Academies GC.

CONNECTICUT (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Hotchkiss GC, Lakeville, Conn. (Seth Raynor/1924)

GEORGIA (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Augusta National, Augusta, Ga., (Cobb & Roberts/1958)

INDIANA (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Culver Academies GC, Culver, Ind. (Langford & Moreau/1923) 

LOUISIANA (1 course)

SHORT COURSE

Audubon Park, New Orleans, La. (4,220 Yards/Par 62)

NEBRASKA (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

The Prairie Club (Horse), Valentine, Neb. (Hanse & Shackelford/2010)

Bandon Preserve at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon.

NEW HAMPSHIRE (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Hooper GC, Walpole, N.H. (Stiles and Van Kleek/1927)

OREGON (1 course)

PAR-3 COURSE

Bandon Dunes (Bandon Preserve), Bandon, Ore. (Coore & Crenshaw/2012)

RHODE ISLAND (1 course)

9-HOLE COURSE

Weekapaug GC, Westerly, R.I. (Phil Wogan/1967)

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Jessica Marksbury

Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.