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Last Updated on March 16, 2020
Trying to understand the basics of the game of golf?
Wondering what “par” is in golf and how it relates to the game?
Golf is unique compared to many other sports because the person with the lowest score is the winner. Par is an essential term that you need to know if you want to become a great player in the game and how you can win it. While par wasn’t always a part of golf, these days, the term is essential for understanding how to play the game.
So what is “par” in golf? For our purposes, we’ll define par as:
The number of strokes an accomplished golfer should need to take in order to complate a hole or a course
What is Par?
Par is the most fundamental piece of the sport; it underlines everything in the game.
The standard golf course has 18 holes (with different pars) strategically placed along the 5,000 – 7,000 green area. The par is what determines how many strokes and putts, you need to hit the ball into the hole. Let us say hole 3 is a 4 par, it translates to you needing two strokes and two putts to get the ball into the hole.
It can be compared to a game in the game show “The Price is Right”, whereby the contestant is given $100.00 to purchase three items, and he cannot go over or under. It like mental math with a high level of difficulty.
Levels of Golfers
There are different levels of players, the expert or gold players, and the beginner player or the green players.
The expert will normally have a par of 72 after playing a standard 18-hole round of golf. A beginner will have a par of 100 after playing the same 18 holes. This is because the expert takes the accurate strokes and putts to get the ball in the hole.
If you are a beginner though, you will have to make an extra stroke or putt to get the ball in the hole. This means you will be over par (+1).
Par 3, Par 4, and Par 5
These are the three most common golf pars:
- Par 3 – means that you will need one stroke. Then, two putts to get the ball into the hole.
- Par 4 – means that you will need two strokes. Then, two putts to get the ball into the hole.
- Par 5 – translates to you needing three strokes. Then, two putts to get the ball into the hole.
Please remember this is based on an expert playing a perfect game. This is more like a guide for a beginner.
Here are the yardage guidelines for golf pars:
- Par 3: Up to 250 yards. (or 210 for women)
- Par 4: 251 – 470 yards. (211 – 400 for women)
- Par 5: 471 – 690 yards. (401 – 575 for women)
- Par 6: 691+ yards. (576+ for women)
This chart is a guide for a beginner. It explains how many yards there are in each par. This then allows you to calculate your swing, and the two putts needed to get the ball into the hole.
Here is some basic terminology you should know that relates to par:
- Even Par: you get the ball in the hole with the allotted number of strokes and putts.
- Under Par: you get the ball in the hole with fewer strokes or putts, you have become an expert, this is also called a Birdie (-1).
- Over Par: you need one more stroke or putt to get the ball into the hole, this is also called a bogey (+1).
- Teeing Ground: this is your starting point.
- Fairway: this is where you use a big swing to get the ball the closest to the hole.
- Green: this is where you get the ball into the hole with two putts or more.
The most important thing is for you to take your time, and understand that you will have a higher par when you are a beginner. You should not put pressure on yourself and expect to shoot at an 80 par right out of the gate.
There is a reason why there are 18 holes and different pars for each hole. Some pars you will be even, some you will be over, and sometimes you will get lucky and earn a birdie.
That’s just about everything you need to know about the basics of what par is in golf.
While it may take you some time to understand the different types of terminology, the basics of par are actually pretty simple to understand. By understanding par, you’ll be able to advance more quickly in your golf skills while setting new goals for yourself as you improve.
Looking for more golf tips and advice? Check out our top tips for gripping the golf club now.