If you are new to the game of golf and are looking to play at some new courses, you may have seen the term executive golf course come up.
An executive course is a bit different from a traditional golf course.
Understanding the difference between the two and knowing how this will affect your handicap, the price you pay, and your short game is quite essential.
Here is everything you will need to know about an executive golf course.
What Is an Executive Golf Course?
An executive golf course is a golf course which is shorter with a lower par than a traditional golf course.
Most executive golf courses have more par threes than a standard golf course.
A typical par 72 golf course has four par threes, four pars fives, and ten par fours.
An executive course may have ten par threes, or it could have all par threes.
There is no standard in the golf world when it comes to executive golf courses.
Depending on how much land a developer has, they will set up the executive golf course to the maximum ability.
An executive golf course will have a much different slope and rating than a traditional golf course.
What Is the Appeal of an Executive Golf Course?
Executive golf courses are preferred by some players, while others find them to be a bit of a nuisance.
There are, however, some good points which should be considered when you play at an executive golf course.
The most obvious benefit of these executive golf courses is that you can play them much more quickly than a full-length golf course.
If your schedule is short on time and you can only schedule yourself for a few hours of golf at a time, the executive golf course is a great choice.
Although the amount of time will vary with the length of the course, it is usually at least takes less than the standard four to five hours it takes to play a full-length course.
The executive golf courses are also great for golfers who are looking to work on their short game.
Chances are you won’t need to bring your driver, and you will be hitting mostly shorter shots.
If you can learn how to start to par and birdie all par threes, you will also do much better on par fours and fives.
Having the approach shots down and then getting better at the chipping and putting will undoubtedly make you a better player.
The shorter the hole, the more challenges it may have as well.
Most executive courses will have tricky greens as well as some extra sand traps and water hazards thrown in.
These will make the day out on the course a bit more challenging but fun at the same time.
Lastly, the executive golf courses are also usually priced a bit lower than a traditional golf course.
The more time you spend in the world of golf, the more you will see how great it is to be spending a bit less on greens fees.
When greens fees start to add up, you will potentially have to limit the number of rounds you can play in a week.
Overall, saving money on a golf course is a great benefit.
What Are the Negatives of an Executive Golf Course?
Of course, there are a few negatives with the executive golf courses as well.
Since these courses are shorter, you won’t get to work on your long game all that much.
The worst part of the executive golf course is the scoring.
Since par on the executive course is so much lower, the scoring is a bit different and won’t look quite the same.
Let’s say, for instance, that you shoot a 75 on a par 60 course.
If you tell another golfer or friend that you shot 75, they may think you are a single digit handicap.
In reality, you shot 15 over.
On a longer golf course, this 15 over par would equate to shooting 87.
Although this is still a good round, it is undoubtedly quite a bit different than 75.
Golfers struggle with the executive golf course and having it tie back into a score which makes sense when communicating with other golfers.
If you are playing a USGA golf course, you will see that it is still rated, and there is a slope for the courses as well.
You can use these rounds on the executive golf course to keep your handicap as accurate as possible.
What Is the Difference Between an Executive Course and a Par Three Course?
Typically speaking, an executive golf course is a bit longer than a par three course.
On a par three golf course, all of the holes will have a par of three.
At an executive golf course, there will usually be a mixture of par threes and par fours.
There are some golf courses which call their par three courses an executive golf course, and that is entirely understandable.
The par three is essentially a specific type of executive golf course.
Eight Great Executive Golf Courses
To examine the differences that we see in executive golf courses, let’s take a look at ten of the most well-known courses.
Each of these courses does not have the par or the overall length to be considered a full-length traditional golf course.
However, they are also very well known for having great conditions and being a good playing opportunity for golfers.
1. Challenge Course at Eagle Crest Resort
The Eagle Crest Resort is located in Redmond, Oregon.
This is a full-service resort which has lots of amenities for golfers and vacationers.
The great thing about the courses at Eagle Crest is that there are three different options to choose from.
Two of the courses are full length, and then there is one executive course known as the Challenge Course.
This is a par 63 option, and it has about 4,160 yards in total length.
This is quite a bit of length for an executive golf course.
One of the best things about this executive course is the offered views you can enjoy as you complete your round.
If you are new to golf or want to enjoy a leisurely round without making things too difficult on yourself, the Challenge Course is a perfect choice.
2. Oasis Country Club
The Oasis Country Club is a par 60 golf course that is located in Palm Desert, California.
This is a shorter course measuring in at 3,489 total yards.
If you know anything about California, you know that there is a lot of great golf, as well as a lot of expensive golf.
The Oasis Country Club is always in great shape, and they offer rentals for those who don’t have their own golf clubs.
It is a smart idea to bring some extra golf balls when you play here, as you will lose some in the water hazards.
3. Maple Leaf Golf and Country Club
Florida is home to many golf courses, and quite a few of those are executive golf courses.
With all of the retirees who live in the state of Florida, many are looking for a shorter and easier option to get around the course.
The Maple Leaf Golf and Country Club is 3,871 yards of a very nice executive golf course.
The total par for this course is a 62.
As we mentioned earlier, many executive courses will have ten par threes.
This is exactly what the Maple Leaf Golf and Country Club feature.
Like any good Florida golf course, there are lots of bunkers and water hazards along the way.
You will get a great day at a course which is in good condition and is fully capable of testing your short game.
4. Portland Golf Course West
Staying on the east coast, we move north a few thousand miles to Connecticut.
Connecticut is actually a good state for golf.
With many people living and working in New York, Connecticut, is a quick escape and one that gives golfers a break from the grind of city life.
In the town of Portland, you will find a par 60 executive golf course.
This is a shorter course that has 12 par three holes and six par fours.
One of the things that people love best about this golf course is that there are no homes on the golf course.
Part of Connecticut is quite rural, and the Portland Golf Course West certainly helps to show the beauty of western Connecticut.
Those coming from the more populated surrounding areas will also enjoy the fact that there is lots of wildlife around the Portland Golf Course West.
5. Huron Shores Golf Course
The Huron Shores Golf Course is a great choice if you are in the Port Sanilac, Michigan area.
Although the Huron Shores course is considered an executive golf course, it is almost a full-length course.
The par takes it very close to the 72 mark, and the yardage falls just slightly under an average golf course.
The par for the Huron Shores Golf course is 70, and the yardage is going to be 5,428 yards.
As you can see, this is very close to being a full-length golf course.
In other words, shooting around par on a course like this is quite an accomplishment.
One of the best things about the Huron Shores Golf Course is the beauty.
It is located across the street from Lake Huron, and you will thoroughly enjoy some of the views that you get.
If you have only played shorter courses and think you are ready for a larger golf course, the course at Huron Shores is a great choice to consider.
6. Audubon Park Golf Course
The New Orleans area has some great golf courses and lots of golf history.
One of these courses is an 18-hole executive course known as Audubon Park Golf Course.
This is a 4,220-yard course with a total par of 62.
This means that a few of the holes are going to be quite long.
One of the great things about the Audubon Park Golf Course is that, for those visiting New Orleans, it is a quick round only a few minutes from downtown.
If you have spent enough time touring and partying, you will easily be able to fit in a quick round of golf at Audubon.
The course is usually in good condition and can be affordable to play compared to some of the longer golf courses in the nearby area.
7. Mountain Course at Incline Village
If you didn’t already know this, skiing and golf tend to go hand in hand at times.
Many golfers are skiers and vice versa.
If you are in Nevada in the Incline Village area, you should stop in and take a look at this par 58 executive course.
This is the shortest course on our list, and it features 14 par threes.
Certainly, with the addition of the four par fours, the course went from being a par three to an executive option.
The interesting thing about this mountain course is that it is located at a very high elevation.
When you are up higher, your ball flies quite a bit further, which will make the Mountain Course feel even shorter than it is.
You should call ahead for a tee time, but the good news is that the Mountain Course is usually quite accommodating.
8. Palm Beach Par Three
Although Palm Beach Par Three is a par three course, it has undoubtedly earned a spot on this list.
You will not get any par four holes on this course, but you will get an incredible experience.
The Palm Beach Par Three is built on some of the highest valued real estate in South Florida.
Part of the golf course is going to be on the intercoastal, and the other part is going to be on the ocean.
When playing the Palm Beach Par Three, you are going to have to be ready to contend with quite a bit of wind.
The course has some elevation built in and plenty of natural water hazards as well.
With a total par of 54, this is one of the more challenging par three golf courses around.
In addition to being a fun day for the average golfer, many professionals go to try their hand at the Palm Beach Par Three as well.
Players have learned that this is a real test of their short game, and it can prepare you to play some better golf, especially in the South Florida area.
Now that you have a better idea as to what an executive golf course is, you can decide if this is something that you want to go out and try.
For beginner golfers or senior golfers, the executive golf course is a great solution.
For those who have been playing the game a while, sometimes switching to a par three or executive course can bring on some significant changes and awareness to your golf game.
The executive golf course is faster to play, usually a bit less expensive, and certainly less exhausting as well.
We certainly recommend trying one out today!