Story by: Mike May

TOP TO BOTTOM: Naples Beach Golf Club, Lake Worth Beach Golf Club, Miami Shores CC, New Smyrna  Beach Golf Club, Cleveland Heights Golf Club.

As we notice every year, a big key to the success of any championship performance at the Masters golf tournament is how the winner fares on his four times playing the par-three 12th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club.  Named Golden Bell, the 12th is the shortest hole at Augusta National -- a mere 155 yards from tee to green, give or take a few yards from day to day.  During any given round at the Masters, every players’ 18-hole score can be negatively or positively impacted by their ability to hit their tee shot over Rae’s Creek and have it come to rest on the 12th green.  In honor of the many trials, tribulations, and triumphs that many golfers have experienced while playing Augusta National’s Golden Bell, this story is focusing on five of the most memorable par three holes at five golf courses along the Florida Historic Golf Trail.

Waterside Wonder.  The most memorable tee shot at the Lake Worth Beach Municipal Golf Club is the par-three 17th.  As you stand on the tee, an unblocked view of the Intracoastal Waterway is at your back.  It’s a priceless perspective.  As you look at the 17th green, the steeple of a nearby church in downtown Lake Worth Beach grabs your attention, especially late in the day with the sun setting in the west.  With your tee shot on this hole, aim to the right or left of the steeple, depending on the location of the pin. 

Precious Par.  At the New Smyrna Beach Golf Club, head pro Gary Wintz’s favorite hole is the 15th hole, a long par three.

“From the back tees, it’s more than 230 yards to the pin,” says Wintz.  “The green is protected by bunkers short right and short left.  Par is a great score.  Not many people birdie the 15th.”

Clearly, at the 15th hole at the New Smyrna Beach GC, birdies are few and far between, pars are celebrated, and bogeys are the norm.

Classic Closer.  When you play the 188-yard, par-three 9th hole on the Azalea Course at the Cleveland Heights Golf Club in Lakeland, proper club selection will be the key to your success at this hole.  This par three features an uphill tee shot to a raised green with the clubhouse looming in the background.  The view of this hole from the tee is an attention-getter.  Closing with a par at the 9th on the Azalea Course is impressive, powerful, and pleasing.

Memory Maker.  ‘Fun’ and ‘beautiful’ are two words used to describe the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.  One of the ‘fun’ and ‘beautiful’ holes at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is its signature hole -- the par-three 16th hole.  The 16th green is a peninsula with water in front, on the right, and behind the green. It’s not a long hole, but it requires an accurate tee shot.  A well-struck tee shot is a joy to watch on this hole.

Helluva’ Hole.  The most talked-about and most-photographed hole at the Miami Shores Country Club is the par-three 2nd hole, which used to be the 11th hole.  While standing on the tee, the 2nd green actually angles from right to left.  Your tee shot must clear the Biscayne Canal in order to reach the putting surface, but if your tee shot drifts too far left, it will probably end up in the canal, whereas tee shots that veer too far right may well finish in the bunker complex to the right of the green.  Willie MacFarlane, the winner of the 1925 U.S. Open, referred to this short par three as “the hole.”

For complete details on the 53 courses along the Florida Historic Golf Trail, check out www.FloridaHistoricGolfTrail.com.

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