Pumpkin Ridge Hole 17

10 of the Best Short Par 4s in America (How Many Have You Played?)

We all have our favorite types of golf holes. 

For some it’s a short scenic par 3. Others like reachable par 5s.

For me? It might be the short par 4.

Drivable par 4s are the ultimate risk reward shot on a golf course.

If you get after it and land the green, you could give yourself a shot at eagle or birdie.

But just as often for the average golfer?

Slice. Hook. Double.

Or worse.

The short par 4 allows you to hit pretty much whatever club you want off the tee. Want to get after it with a driver? Go for it.

Looking to play a little more conservative with a hybrid? Do it.

Minimize the risk of doing something really stupid and play for your two putt par with an iron? Fantastic.

I always get excited for this type of hole on any golf course, and I think every course should have at least one. It gives the better player a chance to be aggressive, and the duffer an opportunity to make their best score of the round.

10 of the Best Short Par 4s in Golf

But not all short par 4s are created equal.

And today? I’m sharing with you my 10 favorite short par 4s. Many of these can be drivable (depending on the tee box you play), which creates the ultimate decision.

Especially when you’re doing match play, these are the holes that can shake up the entire round.

I’m only including courses that I’ve personally played, so if you’re favorite is missing – that’s why. But either way, this is a pretty solid list of diverse holes.

Now let’s get to it!

1) Boston Golf Club – Hole #5

Boston Golf Club Hole 5 - Shipwreck

Boston Golf Club is like adventure golf. From the moment you leave the clubhouse, you know you’re in for a fun journey.

And the most fun part of it? Arguably it’s the drivable, uphill 5th hole named “shipwreck”.

This may be the most unique hole on this list.

Playing around 300 yards from the member tees, you’re looking straight up a hill, where the green is a little sliver perched just off to the right. There’s trouble all down the right hand side, and a little too much fade in your shot will result in a very unfriendly lie, or worse, a lost ball.

With a tricky green, even a layup isn’t a guaranteed par, so might as well go for it.

2) Pumpkin Ridge (Ghost Creek) – Hole #17

Best short par 4s: Pumpkin Ridge Hole 17

The 17th on the Ghost Creek course at Pumpkin Ridge is one of my favorite holes anywhere, because there are so many ways to play it. A two tiered green is guarded by a pond on the right, and a creek winds it’s way through the hole forcing you to ask questions like:

“Do I try and go for the green?”

“Maybe I layup with an iron in front of the creek?”

“Should I try and clear the creek and give myself a short pitch in?”

Considering it comes on the 17th, it can be a critical point in a match.

David Duvall doubled it in the 1993 Nike Tour Championship, but still hung on for the win.

Its holes like this that have kept Ghost Creek on most top 100 public lists for decades. 

3) Gozzer Ranch Golf and Lake Club – Hole #12

Gozzer Ranch Hole #12

The 12th is my favorite hole on a course littered with amazing golf holes. 

This is one of the longer holes on this list as it plays just over 350 from the tips, but creeps closer to 300 from mid-range tees.

All you have to do is look at this photo to see why it’s so compelling. Do you go straight at the green? Layup left giving yourself an awkward elevated approach shot?

You get to decide.

Not to mention, it’s beautiful.

4) Pebble Beach Golf Links – Hole #4

Pebble Beach hole 4

The 4th at Pebble Beach

The 4th at Pebble Beach has one of those great golf reveals that remind you that you’re in for a special round. 

Similar to walking down the 4th fairway at Bandon Dunes, or rounding the corner on the 1st at Spyglass Hill, when you’re on the 4th tee box, you don’t necessarily know what you’re in for.

The first time I played Pebble it was a pretty foggy day, and I hit a solid shot on 4 with a nice fade. Our caddie said “50/50”

“50/50?! What’s over there?”

“Ha, ummm, the ocean.”

“Ooooooohhhh”

The 326 on the scorecard is a little misleading as the hole is a bit uphill, but a well struck shot, that doesn’t end up in the ocean or one of the fairway bunkers, will give you a great shot at a low score.

5) Riviera Country Club – Hole #10

Riviera Country Club Hole 10

This is arguably the most famous short par 4 in golf. And it’s one of the most fun tee shots I’ve had. You’re right at the base of the clubhouse, and feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re not). 

The distance and mystique of the hole make it all but impossible to not go for it if you don’t play the course on a regular basis, but it’s probably not the right play.

The green is intense, and full of collection areas and can leave a very tricky chip back up.

And when you factor in blazing fast greens, the one hole at Riv you thought might yield you a birdie could backfire in a big way.

6) Bandon Dunes – Hole #16

Bandon Dunes Hole 16

Now that’s a golf hole.

I go back and forth between choosing between Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails as my favorite at the resort, but when you’re standing on the 16th at Bandon Dunes during sunset, it’s hard to argue with that not being one of the single greatest settings in golf.

The course does a masterful job weaving you out to the ocean and back again, all culminating with a cliff side, drivable par 4 on 16.

The drive is actually more forgiving than it looks, and the feeling of getting it up on the top deck by the green is unbelievable. 

I’ve been fortunate to experience sunset rounds on this course a number of times, and it never, ever gets old.

But that’s not surprise given how much fun holes like this one are.

7) TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course) – Hole #12

Best short par 4s: TPC Sawgrass Hole 12

I forgot how brown it was the day I played Sawgrass!

While the 17th gets all the glory at TPC Sawgrass, the 12th is one of my favorite holes on the course. 

In part because of how terrifying it is.

It plays 358 from the Players tees, which makes it close to drivable for the longest hitters.

It’s a super tricky green, and the entire left side of it is mowed down short and drops into water, so two VERY precise shots are necessary if you want a chance at making a good score.

This is one of those holes where the length is deceptive. Seems easy on the scorecard, reality is anything but.

From the standard tees, it plays close to 300 yards, so the casual golfer is often tempted to try and go for it in one (ahem me), doing this will often leave you in the rough, making par a very difficult proposition.

8) Merion Golf Club – 10th Hole

Best short par 4s: The 10th at Merion Golf Club Hole 10

Merion Golf Club may have the best collection of shortish par 4s in the world. There’s a reason it’s one of my all time favorite courses.

But the 10th, is the shortest of them all measuring a mere 303 yards, again, you’d be lulled into thinking it’s easy.

The hike up into the trees to the teebox, makes for one of my favorite spots on the course.

If you’re smart, you’ll layup to a good distance (and angle) in the fairway, based on the day’s pin position. But the allure is there to try and cut the corner, clear the bunker and hit your most memorable shot of the day.

Good luck holding that green.

9) Tetherow Golf Club – Hole #10

Best short par 4s: The 10th atTetherow Golf Club in Bend

10th tee at Tetherow

Tetherow is a wild golf course. It’s links golf in the high desert, so that alone makes for a memorable experience.

But after making the turn and heading to the 10th tee, you’re treated to one of the most fun shots of the round (on a course full of fun shots).

For most players, you’ll be playing the drivable par 4 10th, just under 300 yards. 

The teebox is elevated, and if you’re playing downwind? Game on.

But as with any good short par 4, pulling driver isn’t without significant risks. You basically can’t go long, and left is trouble too. Not to mention the bunker guarding the front of the green.

Short version? You’ve got a lot of options, and a killer view, which makes for a wonderful golf hole in my mind.

10) Myopia Hunt Club – Hole #1

Myopia Hunt Hole 1

What’s different about this short par 4 at Myopia Hunt when compared to every other hole on this list?

It comes at the very start of your round.

The opening hole at Myopia Hunt is one of my favorite in the world (along with Spyglass, Mid Ocean Club, and NGLA).

It gives you the choice of being aggressive from the outset and starting your round with confidence, or coming out too hot and making a big number.

Myopia is full of holes like this that simply wouldn’t be built today, and it’s why it’s one of the most special courses in the world, despite being relatively unknown to the average golfer.

What Short Par 4 Golf Holes am I Missing?

So there you have it, that’s the list of my favorite drivable par 4s I’ve played in golf. 

That said, there are dozens that weren’t included here and if I were making this list again next month? It might look very different.

So what did I miss? What are your favorite short par 4s, and how many of these have you played? Drop a comment below and let me know.




There are 7 comments

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  1. David M Fisher

    The 18th at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain, a former US Amateur venue, and a superb risk-reward challenge on which to end a match.

  2. Matt

    Can’t go wrong with 16 @ Bandon for views but I would say the best designed short par 4 on property is actually Pacific Dune 6. Depending on the angle trying to hold that green will keep you up at night which means it’s not necessarily a gimme birdie.

  3. Robert

    A list of short par 4s without the “Five & Dime” at Ridgewood (6th hole – Center Course) seems to be incomplete

  4. Gerry Baker

    My vote goes to #11 at Misquamicut club in Rhode Island. It’s a private club I work weekends at that doesn’t get a ton of play (even from the members). It’s a beautiful 300 yarder from an elevated tee with red stakes left and the ocean right and long. Really makes me feel like I’m on tour with that view!


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