What Is An Executive Golf Course? (+8 Examples)

Let’s start this off by stating the fact that executive golf courses are not just for executives. 

In fact, many executives will skip the executive courses and head for the championship courses. Instead, executive golf courses are playable shorter courses perfect for golfers who are short on experience or time. 

I’ll show you exactly what an executive golf course is, give you some examples of where you can find these courses, and a few reasons why you would even want to consider playing an executive course. 

In this article, we will cover:

  • What Is An Executive Golf Course?
  • 8 Executive Golf Course Examples 
  • Why Is It Called An Executive Golf Course?
  • Why Play An Executive Course?
  • Does An Executive Golf Course Round Count Towards Your Handicap? 
  • Are Par 3 Golf Courses and Executive Golf Courses The Same? 

Let’s jump into it!

A golf course with a bunker and trees with the words "what is an executive golf course" in the foreground.

What Is An Executive Golf Course? 

An executive golf course is shorter than traditional length, mixing par 3 and par 4 golf holes. Most executive courses have a par of less than 70, with the majority being around 60. 

The executive golf course is made to be simpler; you don’t really need to bring a driver out here if you don’t want to. 

In addition, the executive golf courses offer an incredibly fast round of golf, which almost any golfer can benefit from. 

Some executive golf courses exist as stand-alone courses, and others act as an alternative to championship golf courses. At certain clubs, when the tee times at the championship course are taken, you have the executive course as an alternative. 

8 Executive Golf Course Examples 

To give you a full idea of what an executive golf course can be, you really need to look at the different options out there and how they vary. 

If you look at a standard 18-hole golf course, you probably expect a total yardage of around 6500 yards and a par of 72. With executive golf courses, there is no standard. 

Take a look at these examples that have yardages ranging from 900 to 3000. Many are just 9-hole courses, but they all have a mix of par 3 and par 4 holes. 

#1: Loma Santa Fe Executive Golf Course 

The Loma Santa Fe Executive Golf Course is close to downtown San Diego. This is a par 56 golf course that plays to about 2,431 yards. If you don’t mind a panoramic ocean view while you are playing a round of golf, this is the one to check out.

Callaway hosts the Junior Worlds at the Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course, as it is one of the top-rated short courses in the country. 

#2: St Mark Executive Golf Course

The St Mark Executive Course is part of the St. Mark Golf Club. The 18-hole layout features a more relaxed atmosphere, affordable pricing, mountain vistas, and tee times spaced 8 minutes apart. While you are there, take a look at the newly remodeled clubhouse. 

#3: Red Reef Park Executive Golf Course

Red Reef Park Executive Golf Course is located in Boca Raton, FL. This impressive (and expensive) little piece of land sits between the ocean and the intercoastal waterway. Red Reef Park has a par of 32 and a total yardage of 1357 yards. 

Holes here range in length from 54 to 227 yards, so you won’t need all the clubs in your bag. 

#4: Rockland Lake Executive Golf Course

The Rockland Lake Executive Golf Course is in Congers, NY. The course has 2780 yards and has a par of 54. The Rockland Lake State Park Golf Course also has a full-length golf course in addition to the executive. 

#5: Heron Executive Golf Course

The Villages is an incredibly popular golf resort community in northern Florida. With plenty of golf options at the Villages, it’s no surprise that an executive course is one of them. The Heron Executive course has two tee options, one from 851 yards and another from 1468 yards. This is a perfect option for beginners and has just one par 4 hole on the course. 

#6: Silver Lake Executive Golf Course

Another great option for golfers at The Villages is the Silver Lake Executive Golf Course. This one is a par 29, and it can be as long as 1613 yards from the back tees. The Silver Lake Executive golf course has been redesigned a few times to make it both scenic and playable. 

#7: Tarpon Boil Executive Golf Course

Tarpon Boil is another executive golf course at the Villages. This one has 8 par 3s and a single par 4. Expect total yardage here to be about 1578. If you are a new golfer, playing from around 900 yards is also possible. 

The Tarpon Boil course works its way through a wildlife preserve so it’s also a beautiful course to play. 

#8: El Dorado Executive Golf Course

The El Dorado executive golf course is just over 3000 yards, and it features 18 holes. The total par at this executive course located at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howley in The Hills, FL, is 58. 

Expect this one to be in great shape and offer some really nice playing conditions.

Why Is It Called An Executive Golf Course? 

The executive golf course name comes from the idea that an executive can head out after work or even in the middle of the day and get a quick round of golf in at the executive course. These courses offer quick rounds of golf for busy working professionals during the week. 

If you are not an executive, don’t feel like you have to stay away from the executive course. These courses have become a great way for beginners, women, juniors, and even low handicappers to focus on their short game to get some more golf. 

Why Play An Executive Course?

If these golf courses sound like a lot of fun (let’s face it, some are right near the ocean), you may be glad to find out that location is not the only benefit of the executive courses. Here are a few reasons why you may want to play an executive golf course. 

You Are Short on Time 

If you don’t have much time, the executive course is the one to play. Your round of golf will be less than the traditional 4-5 hour round. In fact, some of the shorter 9-hole courses may only take you about an hour to complete. 

One of the reasons executive golf courses are popular for working people is the chance to get in a quick round after work or maybe even during your lunch hour. 

A golf course with a lake and trees around the border.

Your Short Game Needs Help

Executive golf courses have much shorter hole lengths. Expect most to be less than 250 yards. Some courses may throw a 300-yard par 4 into the mix, but for the most part, you will have very short par 4s and par 3s of varying lengths. 

When you don’t have to worry about the driver so much, you will end up getting great practice for those golf shots from 100 yards and in

Short game practice on the driving range can be kind of boring; take some time out on the executive course to see if it is a more effective way to hone your skills. 

You Are New To The Game

As a new golfer, the last thing you need to be worried about is a 500-yard par 4. Instead, go out and enjoy a golf course that may only have about 1,000 yards for your nine-hole round. Learn to hit shots with your wedges and 7 iron and get used to what it takes to be on the course. 

You Have Freinds That Want To Learn

Do you have friends that are interested in learning to play golf? Taking them out to Bethpage Black or Pebble Beach may not be the brightest idea. Instead, find a local executive course and see how they do hitting controlled shorter shots. 

If all goes well, you can head out to the longer course. 

I have always loved the way that executive golf courses teach people the skills they need to play a fast and efficient round of golf. Let’s face it: slow play is a major problem, and you can learn the skills to play fast while on an executive course. 

A golfing green with the sunrise in the background.

You Can’t Get A Tee Time Anywhere

The executive golf course will often have better availability than the full-length golf courses. If your course is booked up or you know it’s going to be a 6-hour round, play the executive course instead and then spend some time on the range after. 

It’s a great use of your time, and you will end up playing better golf because of it. 

Does An Executive Golf Course Round Count Towards Your Handicap? 

As long as you are playing a golf course with a USGA slope and course rating, you can input the scoring for your executive round. You won’t have to worry about these rounds being considerably lower in total number; that all gets adjusted in the handicap system. 

A golf course by the sea with a white golf flag.

Are Par 3 Golf Courses and Executive Golf Courses The Same? 

Although the Par 3 course and the executive golf courses are very similar, there are some differences. A par 3 course only has par 3’s. These courses can be 9 or 18 holes, either par 27 or par 54. 

The executive coures can have a mix of par 3 and par 4 holes. Some executive courses may even throw in a short par 5. Par for an executive course is usually in the 30’s for 9 holes and 60’s for 18 holes. 

If you have never played an executive course, get out there and give it a try. You may find that it’s the test your short game needed. 

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Brittany Olizarowicz is a former Class A PGA Professional Golfer with 30 years of experience. I live in Savannah, GA, with my husband and two young children, with whom I plays golf regularly. I currently play to a +1 and am now sharing my insights into the nuances of the game, coupled with my gear knowledge, through golf writing.

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