Lost in the hubbub of all the fancy golf courses around the world is the role of the par 3 course. A place to refine the mid-iron and short game for players of all skill level, for beginners to fall in love with the game, and for old timers to bet their dimes and quarters on closest-to-the-pin contests on every single hole.
In the late evening of a warm cloudless day, I walked into the pro shop of the Exchange City Par 3 course in Billings and asked if I could get out for a quick 18 and quickly joined up with a pair of retirees named Dave and Lionel on the first tee. Dave was the more experienced golfer, but Lionel provided more entertainment as we took our best shots at each and every pin at the short course.
A par 54 layout the par 3 course plays extremely well with great greens, a fast pace of play, and several challenging tee shots over water, around trees, and up and down hillsides. With the amount of play the greens at Exchange City get they didn’t show much wear and tear at all. They were receptive, green, and putted true.
The first hole at Exchange City plays at 212 yards from the back tees and works away from the clubhouse and through a line of pine trees to an elevated green pitched back-to-front. Only one hole plays longer than the first at Exchange City and that is the eighteenth that measures in at 218 yards along a wall of pine trees on the left and some small deciduous trees behind the green.
The shortest hole at Exchange City is the 16th that plays at a little less than 110 yards back and allows you to take dead aim at the pin or play a shot to spin back down the sloping green and towards the hole if enough spin is applied.
As Dave, Lionel, and myself ventured our way along this short course and tried our best to make an ace, we visited about what brought them out to the Par 3.
“For me, I just love this golf course. It’s perfect for my game and not too long for a duffer like me” said Dave. “And it doesn’t take too long to play your way around here in the evening. It’s perfect.”
After our round, I had to agree with Dave’s sentiments about the Par 3. It is a perfect little place to work on your golf game and meet new people. Without the hubbub of needing a driver.