As a part of a tradition unlike any other, the annual Par 3 Contest at The Masters is much more about camaraderie than competition. But it still makes for quite a spectacle on the Wednesday before the first major of the year.
As part of the grounds on the northeast corner of Augusta National Golf Club, the nine-hole Par 3 course was built in 1958 by former club chairman/dictator Clifford Roberts, and designed by George W. Cobb. It’s just 1,040 yards, with hole distances ranging from 70 to 140 yards. It’s also considered one of the most beautiful tracks in the world.
The contest often has relatives or significant others acting as a caddie, and is a much more fun and relaxed atmosphere ahead of the big competition that starts on Thursday. You’ll often see other people taking shots for a golfer if that player is out of winning the trophy. Attempts at wild shots are de rigueur, as if you’re not firing at the pin, you’re not really trying.
The first Par 3 Contest was won by Sam Snead in 1960, and the three-time Augusta Champion also won on the short course contest twice. Tom Watson and Sandy Lyle are the other green jacket winners to twice take home a Par 3 victory. But famously, no golfer that has won the Par 3 has gone on to win The Masters that same year.
The course record belongs to Jimmy Walker, who is the only man to break 20 on the Par-27 layout with his -8 in 2016. Of course that included one of the 94 aces in Par 3 Contest history.
This year’s Par 3 contest will be held on Wednesday, April 6th at noon, with broadcast coverage on both ESPN as well as the Masters website.
The nine-hole event can be live-streamed through ESPN+ from noon until 3 p.m. ET, and it will air on ESPN from 3 to 5 p.m. ET. The First Round of the Masters will then tee off Thursday, with the next champion being awarded their green jacket Sunday, April 10th.