The Basics of Golf Par: Explained Simply

Par in golf

‘Par’ is one of the most used golf terms. It’s something you need to understand immediately after getting interested in golf. So many things are related to it that you can’t go without it. It helps you get an idea about the hole, set an aim, calculate scores, and many more. Thus, we have explained the golf term ‘par’ very simply here. Let’s get down to it.

What is Par in Golf?

‘Par’ is the standard number of strokes required to complete a hole under normal course and weather conditions. Each hole has a par value for it. It is usually determined in the design phase of the course, primarily depending on the hole’s length. It also depends on the difficulty of the course.

How does par work in golf?

Par works as a standard to determine if you are performing well or poorly on a hole. For example, finishing the par-5 hole in 4 strokes is better. In the ‘par scoring system,’ a better score on each hole eventually leads you to win the game.

The result of each hole in this format is written down in only ‘+’,  ‘-‘, or 0. The golfer finishing with more pluses or less number of minuses wins the game. But the disadvantage of this scoring system is making 3 strokes less than the par is the same as 2 strokes less than the par. You get one ‘+’ for both. 

Is par good in golf?

Yes, it gives golfers an idea of how many strokes are required to finish the hole. It helps set an aim, compare themselves and be better at golf. For example, when golfers consistently breaks 90 on a par-72 golf course, they are considered above-average golfers.

What are the types of par in golf?

On regulation golf courses, there are usually 3 types of par. They are par-3, par-4, and par-5. Although par-2 is seen on miniature or pitch and putt style courses, standard courses suitable for tournaments don’t have them. In comparison, par-6 and par-7 aren’t very common.

What does par 3 mean in golf?

Par-3 means an expert golfer is expected to complete the specific hole with only 3 strokes under normal conditions. They are the shortest, with a length of up to 260 yards for men and 220 for women. Typically having 4 par-3s is considered standard on an 18-hole course. But it might be anywhere from 2-6.

What is a par 3 golf course?

‘Par-3 golf course’ is where all holes are par-3s. They mostly consist of 9 holes. So, the total par for the 9-hole par-3 golf course is 27. Going to a par-3 course lets golfers learn or have fun in a limited time. Even some professional events are held there, like The Masters Par 3 Contest.

What does par 4 mean in golf?

Par 4 means a scratch player is expected to require only 4 strokes to finish the hole. The length of par-4 is usually 240 to 490 yards for men and 200 to 420 yards for women. Most of the golf courses’ holes are par-4s. The typical number of par-4s on a course is 10.

What does par 5 mean in golf?

Par 5 means an expert golfer is expected to finish the hole in 5 strokes. The number of par-5s on a golf course is mostly 4. Typically the length of them should be 370 to 600 yards for women. And for men, it’s 450 to 710 yards.

Is there a par 6 in golf?

Yes, there is par 6 on some golf courses. However, they aren’t commonly seen on courses. According to the hole length recommendation by the USGA, par-6s length should be 570 yards and up for women. For men, the length should be 670 yards and up.

Is there a par 7 in golf?

Yes, par-7 exists in golf. But they are very rare. They are the longest holes in golf, might even have a length above 1000 yards. The longest golf hole on earth is the par-7 hole with a length of over 1000 yards at Gunsan Country Club, South Korea. It is the 3rd hole there.

However, according to the Guinness World Records, the official world’s longest golf hole is the Par-7 hole with 964 yards length at Satsuki Golf Club, Japan. It’s the 7th hole. 

How many strokes in a par?

There are typically 3-5 strokes in a par. It can be 6-7 too, depending on the length and difficulty. You might see 2 strokes in a par on a miniature golf course. The number said with par is the number of strokes. If it is a ‘par-3’, then 3 strokes are there in the par.

What do par-70, par-71, and par-72 mean?

It means the total strokes required to complete an 18-hole course, not just one hole. For instance, Par-72 means an expert golfer is expected to finish the course with 72 strokes under normal conditions. Par-70, 71, and 72 are the most common total par for a full-size 18-hole course. 

What is par in golf for 18 holes?

A standard 18-hole golf course typically has a total par of 72. As for different holes on a course, the most common is to have 10 par-4s. The number of par-3s and par-5s are most likely to be 4 for each. Different golf courses do have different pars, but it’s usually around these numbers.

What is par in golf for 9 holes?

A 9-hole golf course’s par should be usually 36, which is half of the most common par for an 18-hole golf course. There would be a combination of par-3, 4, and 5 for 9 holes as well. However, there are exceptions too. Many 9-hole golf courses have all par-3s, with a total par of 27.

What is under-par golf score mean?

Under-par score means finishing with fewer strokes than the par. For example, when you complete a par-4 hole with 3 strokes, it is 1 under-par score. There are different names for different under-par scores like 1 under-par is called Birdie. Eagle, Albatross, Condor, etc. are the names of different under-par scores.

What is over-par golf score mean?

Over-par score means taking more strokes than the par. For example, finishing a par-3 hole with 4 strokes is 1 over-par score. It is also called ‘bogey’. While double bogey means 2 over-par, and triple bogey is 3 over-par. Quadruple and quintuple bogey are taking 4 and 5 strokes more than par.

What does the saying it’s par for the course mean?

“Par for the course” is an idiom meaning something expected. For instance, “I got a B in Math, but that’s par for the course” means getting B was expected. It came from the ‘par’ in golf, which is the number of strokes experts are expected to require to complete a hole or course.

Summing it up

‘Par’ is just a number defining how many strokes you should aim to take. Taking fewer than that is even better. So, are you clear about the term ‘par’ now? If there is anything else you want to know about par or have any confusion, feel free to ask away in the comments section.

Flora Brown
Written by Flora Brown

Golf is the first and only sport that got Flora Brown so interested in it. She likes to share how every single thing from the type of golf ball you hit to your ride on the golf cart for saving energy has an impact on the game. Right now, she is a content expert at Nifty Golf, with 2 years of writing experience in the golf industry. She is hoping to share and get introduced to many more dimensions of golf with the people having the similar interest.

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