What is an executive golf course?

Executive Golf Defined

2014 was a big year. It was my first introduction to an executive course.

Before that, I had never heard of an executive golf course.

If you’re new to golf or you live in an area that doesn’t have many executive golf courses, you have a good excuse for your ignorance.

Let me give you a simple definition and then we’ll move onto the more advanced explanation.

So what is an executive golf course?

Simply put, an executive golf course is a shorter or more compact version of a regular length golf course.

These courses were originally designed for busy “executives,” hence the name.

Executive Golf Course vs a Regulation Golf Course

What is an executive golf course?
An infographic highlighting the differences between regulation, executive and par 3 golf courses.

A regulation 18 hole golf course typically has a par of 72 and offers more than 5,200 total yards. These courses are a 4-5 hour commitment, depending on the size of the group and the golfer’s skill levels.

An executive 18 hole golf course typically has a par of 60-65 and offers less than 5,200 total yards. Thanks to shorter distances, these courses often shave 1-2 hours off of the total time of play.

There are 9 hole and 18 hole executive courses, but the key factor to remember is this: Overall, executive golf courses are a smaller versions of full size courses.

LiveAbout.com defines executive golf courses as “the Mini-Me’s of golf courses.”

Most holes on an executive golf course will be par 3s or par 4s. Occasionally there is a par 5 in the mix.

Where did the name Executive Golf Course originate?

Great question.

Wikipedia’s official golf entry says that executive golf courses originated from the clientele that these courses originally targeted — business executives who would play the course on a long lunch break or for business meeting purposes.

Because of their shorter length and play time, executive golf courses were also designed for working professionals who wanted to sneak in a round of golf at the end of the work day.

Who typically plays Executive Golf Courses?

Everyone, but there are a few groups that benefit most from the executive golf experience. These courses are great for:

  • Beginners who benefit from shorter distances and less intimidating golfers
  • Juniors who also benefit from shorter distances
  • Seniors who may have limited energy for golf
  • Working golfers who have limited time to play a round of golf
  • Golfers who want to improve their short game with focused practice
  • Folks who are trying to capitalize on the health benefits of golf

Greens fees on an executive golf course are typically a few dollars cheaper, so those with a budget limitations can enjoy all the challenges of a full length course while saving money at the same time.

A Few Final Thoughts on Executive Golf Courses

Sometimes people confuse executive golf courses with par 3 golf courses, so don’t be surprised if the terms are used interchangeably (albiet, incorrectly) by a well-meaning friend.

An executive golf course isn’t a lesser course. Some executive courses are maintained better than full-length courses. These courses often offer all the same challenges as a full length course. You should expect bunkers, water hazards, par 5s, etc.

Bring all your clubs and get ready to enjoy (or despise) the full golf experience.

Ready to Play an Executive Golf Course?

Par 3 Near Me offers a detailed directory of executive golf courses all over the world. New courses are added each week. Course listings include key information about the course and user reviews for an unbiased take on what the executive course has to offer.


  1. I am planning to teach my son to golf and I am thinking about taking him to an executive golf course, so I appreciate all of the information you provide in this article! You make a great point that these golf courses are half the size of a normal golf course. This way my son can start out playing on a smaller course that is less intimidating to him and he can benefit from practicing on the shorter distances first. I think that this would be a great way for him to experiment with the sport and see if he likes it.

    1. Rosie – I hope you and your son have a great time during a future golf outing. Par 3 / executive courses are the way to do it. All the best to you!

  2. I like that you talked about how executive golf courses are well maintained more than full-length courses. I guess I will tell my dad to look for country club memberships with this kind of golf course. It’s to ensure that his experience will be the best when he starts playing golf as a hobby this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.