The 5 Advantages of Executive Golf Courses

An executive golf course is an alternative to traditional or championship-caliber golf courses that may actually be more suitable for experienced golfers.  Executive courses are shorter in length, have a reduced par, are easier to walk, are less expensive to play, and play at a faster pace than a traditional course.  The article will help explain and further break down the differences between traditional and executive golf courses.

1. Executive Golf Courses are shorter than standard golf courses

Executive golf courses are courses that play to shorter yardages than a traditional golf course.   The yardage of a traditional 18 hole course from its longest tee box would be 6000+ yards.  The 18 hole executive course would tend to have yardages below 5000 yards.  The yardage numbers will vary depending on exactly how many par 3’s, par 4’s, and par 5’s a course has.  

A traditional 18 golf course would have a par of 70,71 or 72.  An 18 hole executive course would typically have a par of 5-10 shots lower than the traditional course. An executive golf course typically would not have any par 5’s compared to 3-5 on a traditional course.  An Executive course also tends to have more par 3’s than the 3-5 that most traditional courses have.and lower par levels than traditional courses.  Many executive courses will have greater than half their holes as par 3’s.

A par 3 course is different from an executive course.  As the name states, a Par 3 course only has par 3 holes.  An executive course would have par’s 3 but would also have some par 4’s and even occasionally may have a short par 5.

2. Executive golf courses can be played quickly

Executive golf courses allow players to finish their rounds normally in less than 3.5 hours compared to the traditional course that takes 4-5 hours to play.  The main factors that determine the time to play a course are: length of course, par of course, difficulty of course, ability level of players in your group and how crowded the course is.  Executive courses tend to help with many of the time factors to promote quicker rounds of golf.

3. Executive golf courses are cheaper than standard golf courses

Executive golf courses can see green fees of about half the price of a traditional 18 hole course.  A traditional 18 hole course can see the green fee price above $75 depending on the quality of the course.  Resort courses and PGA tour level courses can even see prices approach $500 for a round. 

Par 3 courses also tend to be a less expensive option than executive courses.  This price difference would be smaller and could vary significantly based on quality of the course.  Some par 3 courses and executive courses are maintained and designed at a PGA Tour level, and they would have higher prices more in line with a traditional 18 hole course.

4. Executive Golf Courses Are More Senior & Child Friendly

Executive courses are the perfect golf courses for beginners, seniors, and children to play.  Because the course is shorter it does not require as much power.  This group of golfers is often limited on distance, and they can experience success and enjoy the game more on an executive course.  Executive courses tend to have fewer sand traps and water hazards than traditional courses which will help these groups of golfers enjoy the game.

What is an executive 9 course?

An executive 9 course is simply a 9 hole course.  This course would have all the same characteristics of the 18 hole executive course with just less holes.  The 9 hole course would offer less expensive prices and quicker play times than the 18 hole version.

5. Executive golf courses are better for walking

Executive golf courses are easier for most players to walk due to their shorter yardage and the fact the holes tend to be closer together and the course is on a smaller size property.  If you still prefer a cart to play, you should contact the course to make sure they offer golf carts.  If you want to walk but struggle carrying your clubs the length of a full 18 holes, consider using a pull cart.  Many executive courses will also offer these for rent.

Why are executive golf courses called executive golf courses?

Executive courses got their name from the original idea to create a golf course that would allow business executives to get out for a quick round on their lunch break or for business meetings.  It was quickly realized that many players enjoy the faster-paced rounds and teaching professionals realized that beginners, seniors and juniors could learn the game easier on the shorter courses.

What is the main difference between a par 3 and an executive golf course?

A par 3 course only has par 3 holes, where an executive course has a mix of both par 3’s, par 4’s, and occasionally par 5’s.

What are the most famous executive or Par 3 golf courses?

Augusta National Golf Club Par 3 Course, Augusta, GA 9 hole Par 27 1060 yards

Sugar Mountain Golf Club, Banner Elk, NC  18 Hole Par 64 4443 yards

Top of the Rock, Branson, MO 9 Hole Par 27 1420 yards

Boca Delray Golf Club, Delray Beach, FL  18 Hole Par 60 3071


Can beginners play at executive golf courses?

Executive golf courses are the perfect place for beginners to learn the game and hone their skills.  There is a lot less pressure for beginners due to the more relaxed environment at an executive course.

How many yards is an executive golf course?

Executive 18 Hole golf courses typically have yardages below 5000 yards.  The yardage can vary widely depending on how many Par 3’s and Par 4’s the course has on it. 

Will I need a driver on an executive golf course?

Yes, you should plan to bring all your clubs to the executive course.  Some may actually have a short par 5 or par 4 that would require you to hit the driver.  Depending on your average driver distance you could actually use several times per round.

Will I need my own clubs to play an executive course?

No, you should check with the golf course in advance but most courses will offer some kind of rental clubs as an option.