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The Masters Par-3 Contest: A Fun Tradition

Experience the lighter side of the Masters tournament by learning about the history and fun traditions of the Par-3 Contest.

by Jake Tingey & Judd Lyon · Updated: 3/30/23

The Masters Par-3 Contest is a lighthearted yet significant tradition that takes place just days before the prestigious golf tournament. This fun event sees players and their families take to the Augusta National course to play a nine-hole, par-3 course. While it is a relatively new addition to The Masters, having only been introduced in 1960, the Par-3 Contest has quickly become a beloved tradition for both players and fans alike.

In this article, we'll delve into the history of the Par-3 Contest and explore what makes this unique event such a special part of The Masters tournament. From the memorable moments that have taken place on the course to the significance of the contest for both players and their families, we'll uncover everything you need to know about this fun-filled event.

Key Takeaways

Interested in who won? Check out the Masters Par 3 Contest Winners.

Format and Rules of the Par-3 Contest

The Masters Par-3 Contest is a nine-hole event played on the Wednesday of Masters week, the day before the official tournament begins. The contest takes place on a picturesque par-3 course located adjacent to the main Augusta National course, featuring holes that range in length from 70 to 140 yards.

The contest is played in a shotgun format, with multiple groups starting on different holes at the same time. The participants are a mix of Masters players, past champions, and honorary invitees, as well as family members of players and caddies.

The Par-3 Contest has a unique scoring format, with players competing for the lowest overall score, as well as for the coveted honor of making a hole-in-one. In the event of a tie, a sudden-death playoff is held to determine the winner.

While the Par-3 Contest is a lighthearted and fun event, it can also have an impact on players' strategies and confidence going into the tournament. Some players choose not to participate, fearing that winning the Par-3 Contest could be a bad omen for winning the actual tournament. However, others see it as an opportunity to loosen up and have some fun before the intense competition begins.

Notable Moments in the Par-3 Contest

The Par-3 Contest has produced some unforgettable moments over the years. From aces and trick shots to family caddies and touching displays of sportsmanship, the contest has provided players and fans with a wealth of memorable moments.

One of the most iconic moments in the Par-3 Contest came in 2016, when Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson combined to shoot 7-under par and delighted the crowd with their play and camaraderie. Another memorable moment was in 2018 when Tom Watson's grandson, Caleb, served as his caddie and hit a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, creating an emotional scene that captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

These moments, along with many others, have added to the allure and appeal of the Par-3 Contest. They serve as a reminder of the unique and lighthearted nature of the contest and how it differs from regular tournament play.

The Future of the Par-3 Contest

The Masters Par-3 Contest has become an exciting tradition leading up to the prestigious golf tournament, but what does the future hold for this fun event? In this section, we will explore the potential changes or modifications to the contest format and rules in the future.

While the Par-3 Contest has remained relatively consistent over the years, there have been some suggestions to modify the event. For example, some have proposed adding more holes to the contest or changing the eligibility requirements for participants. However, any changes to the contest will likely be met with both excitement and hesitation from players and fans alike.

Despite the potential for changes, the Par-3 Contest will undoubtedly continue to play a significant role in The Masters tournament. Its unique format and playful atmosphere make it a beloved tradition for players and fans alike. As golf evolves, the Par-3 Contest will continue to be a fun and memorable event that adds to the allure and prestige of The Masters.

Whether the contest remains the same or undergoes modifications, the Par-3 Contest will continue to captivate audiences and provide an opportunity for golfers to showcase their skills in a unique and lighthearted setting. Its importance to the tournament and the sport of golf as a whole cannot be overstated, and we look forward to seeing how this exciting tradition evolves in the years to come.


The Masters Par-3 Contest, along with other traditions like the Champions Dinner and Green Jacket, is a fun and unique tradition that adds to the overall excitement and prestige of The Masters tournament. With its own set of rules and format, the contest provides players and fans with a lighthearted and entertaining experience. The moments and memories created during the Par-3 Contest are cherished by golfers and fans alike, making it a significant and beloved part of the tournament. As the tournament continues to evolve, the Par-3 Contest is sure to remain an integral and memorable component for years to come.

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