The Links at Terranea - An Extraordinary 9-hole par 3

When talk turns to "growing the game of golf" it frequently does these days in golf media circles... one of the most often suggested initiatives is the development... and promotion... of shorter layouts.

Taking into consideration that cost, time and difficulty are the three most frequently cited factors in the decision to give up the game... or play fewer rounds... you'd think there'd be a major movement towards 9-hole courses and par 3 layouts, which would presumably address those issues. However, the past couple of years have actually seen shorter courses close at a higher rate than "regulation length" tracks.

So why are shorter courses not thriving when they seem to present an ideal solution to the main "issues" many have with the game of golf? There are myriad reasons, but the most common seem to be the perception that shorter courses and par-3 layouts tend to be designed cheaply for beginners and juniors and are generally uninteresting and poorly maintained.

Though that may have been the case in the past, a gradual shift is taking place as more quality par-3 courses are beginning to appear on the golf landscape.

The breathtaking Links at Terranea is certainly one of the finest. With a stunning Pacific coast layout on the Palos Verdes Peninsula the dramatic 9-hole par 3 is actually "a collection of 9 championship-caliber par-3 holes, masterfully routed and integrated with each other and the natural surroundings."

The course totals approximately 1,239 yards from the back tees, with a par of 27. It's a walking course in a magnificent setting that's sure to delight both beginners and highly competitive golfers. In addition to the artful bunkering and the wide range of classic strategic elements, such distractions the whales that frolic just off the coast can sometimes come into play. A round can be played in and the cost

Not surprisingly the Links at Terranea was voted Golf Inc. 2009 Development of the Year and cited as one of the Best New Courses of 2009 by LINKS Magazine.

I get the distinct feeling it could change some of those perceptions about par three courses pretty quickly.