I’ve often wondered why those guys who smash those 400-yard tee shots in those long-drive competitions rarely surface on the PGA Tour.

Well, unless you’re Happy Gilmore, we know the short game is a prerequisite for having any kind of golf game. Drive for show and putt for dough is the mantra as we know.

That’s why I love spending time at executive and par-3 tracks. Places such as Reidy Creek, Oaks North and the Welk Resort are ideal courses to work on your short game.

Here are 5 reasons why short tracks are great for the soul:

  1. Time is on your side: Your busy life can sometimes make it tough to set aside 4-5 hours on a weekend to play a big course. But you can usually zip around a short course in a lot less time. Even at the Fountains Course at Welk Resorts in Escondido, considered the longest executive course in San Diego County at 3,940 yards, you can finish in three hours, even on weekends.
  2. Narrow your focus: Years ago I had a regular game at the Spindrift, the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club’s nine-hole course. No hole was longer than 85 yards and all we’d carry was a pitching wedge, a putter and a beer. I remember those days fondly because that’s where my short game started taking shape. It’s amazing how much the game opens up when you finally feel comfortable with a three-quarter swing.
  3. Easier on the wallet: The almighty dollar has a big influence on where we play. Let’s face it, if money wasn’t an issue we’d all be flying up to the Bay Area every weekend to play Pebble Beach. It’s less of an issue when you play shorter courses. JC Players Card members can play Oaks North on the weekend for less than $30. Same with Reidy Creek.
  4. Kick it around: A golf course isn’t just a golf course anymore. Reidy Creek and the Oaks Course at Welk Resorts now host FootGolf, a fast-growing sport that’s played with a soccer ball and oversized holes (about the diameter of a trash can) as targets. In 2015, the Oaks hosted nearly 8,000 rounds of FootGolf, making up more than one-third of the 22,000 rounds played.
  5. Hole hunting: If a hole-in-one has continued to elude you all these years, you can significantly increase your chances at Reidy Creek, a 2,582-yard course with 18 distinctive and memorable par-3 holes. Reidy Creek has been referred to as one of the top par-3 courses in California, named in the same breath as the Cliffs Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco and the Peter Hay Golf Course at Pebble Beach. Pretty good company.

Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.