What Is Par In Golf?

The introduction of the handicap system renewed the emphasis on scoring in golf. It is quite an intricate system that compares scoring again the par of a hole and par of the golf course.

Most golfers have heard the term “par” bandied about on just about every hole that they have ever played.

In this article, we will explain what is par in golf all about.

Par in golf terms is what all scores are measured against to indicate the level of competency you have achieved.

What Does “Par” Mean In Golf?

Par score refers to the number of strokes that a competent or scratch golfer should make to complete a hole. 

What Is Par In Golf For 18 Holes

Par in golf is the sum of the number of holes that the course comprises. It could vary from 54 for par 3 golf courses to the most popular score of 72 on most golf courses. This averages the number of holes to a par score of 4 per hole.

What Is Par On A Golf Course?

In golf terms, par for the course generally varies between 70 and 73 for most professional tournaments. Par score of 72 is the most frequently used score on the majority of courses.

Is A Par Good In Golf?

Par is the target for most golfers on every hole. Less than 1 percent of golfers manage to complete 18 holes in par or less regularly.

📋 Keep in mind: Grint.Com says that the top 1 percent of golfers have a single-digit handicap.

Of these golfers Scratch golfers score on average 9.7 pars per round, 1 – 5 handicap golfers average 7 pars per round while 5 – 9 handicap golfers average 7 pars per round. Most of these pars are achieved on par 5s and par 4s.

Mid-handicap golfers average between 5 and 3.6 pars per round while high-handicap golfers struggle to score 3 pars per round.

How Many Strokes In A Par 3, 4 and 5?

Par in golf terms can vary from a par 3 short hole up to a par 6 on some of the longest holes in the world.

A par 3 allows for 3 shots to complete the hole and generally is less than 225 yards which is accessible to most average golfers. It also allows for 2 putts.

Par 4 holes are the most common holes found on most golf courses.

These holes range from 225 yards to 425 yards or longer. Golfers generally have a tee shot, an approach shot, and 2 putts.

Par 5s generally range from 426 yards to 600+ yards allowing for a tee shot, second shots, approach shot, and 2 putts.

Average to good golfers can generally reach shorter par 5 holes in 2 shots while shorter hitters require 3 shots to get onto the green in regulation.

📢 Need To Know: There are several courses in America and around the globe that have some par 6 holes which United States Golf Association defines as longer than 670 yards for men and longer than 570 yards for women.

What Do Course Pars Mean Like Par 71 or Par 72?

What is par on a golf course?

The course par is the accumulation of the par assigned to every hole included in the overall score of the course.

To make it more equitable, the handicap calculation added a slope rating to every course indicating the difficulty of the course compared to other courses.

Par is generally set at 72 which is equal to 18 par 4 holes.

Par and Hole Distance

USGA initially determined the par of a hole depending on its length. Originally It takes into consideration the number of shots a good golfer requires to get onto the green in regulation and then adds two shots for putting.

Par was calculated as

  • Par 3 – up to 225 yards
  • Par 4 – holes between 226 and 425 yards
  • Par 5 – holes between 426 to 600 yards
  • Par 6 – holes longer than 600 yards

The Origin Of ‘Par For The Course’

It is believed that the phrase “par for the course” originated in golf where the term “par” is used to describe the number of shots a good golfer should use to complete all the holes on the golf course.

The number of shots may vary depending on the ability of the golfer playing and the prevailing conditions of the day.

Dictionary.Com believes that its figurative use for the expectation created by this saying has its roots from the second half of the 1900s.

It means that the statement you are making is what you should expect from the actions executed. An example of this is “This supercar can reach 250 miles per hour or more, which is par for the course.


How many points is a par?

Par is 2 points. In other words, a par score is the number of strokes that a golfer is expected to need to complete the hole.

What does par-4 mean in golf?

A par 4 is a hole on which an expert is expected to need four strokes to complete. It is the most common par rating for holes in a full-sized golf course. 

What does a par 4/5 mean?

A par 4/5 is a hole with two different pars, one for men and one for women. The men’s par is usually four, while the women’s par is usually five. This designation is used to help golfers of different skill levels choose the appropriate tee box to play from. Playing from the wrong tee box can make the hole much more complicated than it needs to be.

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Charl is a full-time writer who has been with Golfible since 2019. He is an avid golfer and tech enthusiast. When not writing, he tries to squeeze in a round of golf or escape to the mountains.

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