What Is Par In Golf?

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Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

Finding yourself in a position where you need to look up the meaning of “Par,” particularly if you are new to the game of golf, is quite natural.

What Is Par In Golf

Because the phrase is used so frequently in the golfing community, having a comprehensive understanding of it allows you to take a more strategic approach to the game.

Here is everything that you need to know about the golfing phrase “par” and what it means for you in the game.

In the game of golf, what does it mean to shoot par? Let’s define par.

Par – What Does It Mean?

When discussing golf, the term “par” refers to the number of strokes that a skilled golfer should require to finish a single collection of holes known as a “round” (usually 18 or 9 holes).

Golfers have a goal of achieving a score of “par,” which is also used as a benchmark for describing their actual results.

The “par” score is the benchmark that golfers strive to achieve.

These scores are not assigned to each hole at random, rather, they are mostly determined by the number of strokes a seasoned golfer would need to play to finish each one.

On a golf course with 18 holes and a par of 72, you may say that you are “13 over par” or you can simply say that you are “13 over” if you have a score of 85.

You may state that you were “one under par” or “one under” if it took you 4 strokes to accomplish a hole that had a par value of 5.

On the other hand, some other terminology is typically used to characterize a golfer’s score for a hole concerning par, such as Birdie or Bogey.

The difference between decent golfers and outstanding golfers is determined by par.

If you keep your score on each hole at or below par, you may consider yourself to have a competitive golf score and to be an expert in the game.

How Many Strokes Per Par?

This varies between holes as many factors will affect the par that has been set.

As we said above, the distance front the tee-off point to the hole is a potential factor that might come into play when determining the number of strokes necessary to finish a hole.

For instance, a hole with a par rating of three is regarded as a “short hole,” and it would take a skilled golfer just one (1) stroke to get to the green, followed by two (2) further strokes to finish the hole.

It is possible to assign a par-4 or par-5 rating to a hole if it is sufficiently lengthy.

What Is Par In Golf

Par For The Course Definition

Even if you have only just got into golfing, you have probably already heard the phrase “par for the course”. But what does this mean?

The overall par of a golf course is just the total of the individual pars for each of the course’s 18 holes.

Many of the shorter courses will have a par that is lower than 68, and a few of the longer courses or those with an unusually high number of par 5s may occasionally have a par that is higher than 72.

However, most 18-hole courses will have a par that falls somewhere between 68 – 72.

For your traditional or “conventional” golf course, its par and score would be 72, with four par 5s, ten par 4s, and four par 3s.

However, a very large number of courses differ from this, both in terms of their total par and the parts that make up their par.

Handicaps And Par

The World Handicap System does not take into account the course par when determining a player’s handicap, even though many golfers want to compare their score to the par of a course.

There is no correlation between par and a player’s handicap. Instead, a player’s handicap is determined by the course rating as well as the slope rating of a given course.

The reason for this is that the total par score of a course could not be an accurate picture of how challenging it is.

The typical length of a round of golf on an average 18-hole course is somewhere between 5,800 and 6,500 yards.

However, many courses do not fall within these lengths, and it is possible for a course that is 5,700 yards long to have the same overall par as one that is 6,500 yards long.

This could happen, for example, if the shorter course features a greater number of short par 4s rather than additional par 3s.

However, it is quite likely that the former would be a simpler layout on which to play to par. As a result, handicaps are not measured against par while playing any of these courses.

As an example, a course may include 18 holes that are par 4s, each of which is 300 yards long, giving the course a total yardage of just 5,400, but a par of 72.

This would almost certainly be a lot more manageable layout than a par-72, 6,600-yard course that had the standard distribution of par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s.

Other Golf Terms


This is a score that is two strokes lower than the par score for a particular hole. For instance, two strokes on a hole that is par 4, and three strokes on a hole that is par 5.


A “Birdie” is earned when a player finishes a hole one stroke lower than the par score. For instance, two strokes on a hole with a par of three, three strokes on a hole with a par of four

Triple Bogey

On any hole, a score that is three strokes higher than par is called a “Triple-Bogey.”


We hope this helped you understand how par works a bit better. Next time you play a round of golf you will be able to put your new knowledge to the test.

Luke Griffin

Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

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