What Does Par Mean in Golf? What is a Par

If you're new to the game of golf, you have probably heard the term par before but used in a different context. People will often say something like "that's par for the course" when talking about a certain standard or level. So what does par mean in golf?

According to Merriam-Webster, “Par” is the score standard for each hole of a golf course. Every hole on a course is given its own par rating which is defined by a number of factors. Most golf courses will have a mix of par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes. The total par value for a 18 hole golf course will usually add up to 72.

Par is also loosely linked to the length of an individual hole. Typically, longer holes require more shots to complete, therefore the par for these holes is greater in comparison to holes with fewer yards.

what is par on the scorecard in golf

How does par work in golf?

Par is the standard that golfers try to achieve. It is important to note that par is a score which an expert golfer or professional golfer would be expected to make on that individual hole. Most golfers expected score on a hole could be anywhere from 1 to 3 shots over par depending on their golfing ability and experience.

Is a par good in golf?

If you're making pars on the golf course, you are playing to a high standard. Golf is an extremely challenging game and getting the golf ball into the hole is really difficult. Professional golfers will make mostly pars when playing a complete round. Recreational golfers making pars regularly should be proud. A scratch golfer would be considered to be playing to a par score regularly.

Over par can be seen as not as good: bogey and double bogey.

How many strokes in a par?

How many shots you need to take to make a par score will depend on the golf hole in question. Most golf courses will consist of par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes. On a par four for example, an expert golfer is expected to take two shots to reach the green, then take two putts to get the ball into the hole.

If they were two take one stroke less this would be a birdie. Two strokes less and it would be an eagle!

What is par-70, par-71 and par-72?

You could be led to think that this means a very long hole, but it is actually the total of all the par values for all the holes on an 18 hole golf course. Most regulation golf courses will have a par between 69 and 72. A par 72 course may have four par-3 golf holes, ten par-4 golf holes and four par-5 golf holes.

What is par in golf for 18 holes?

Par over 18 holes is usually 72 strokes. Some course may be as much as par 74 or 73. There are executive courses which could be a lower par, from par 54 to par 69. Most professional level golf courses will have pars between 70 and 73.

What is par in golf for 9 holes?

Half a round is usually the 18 hole par divided by any random 9 holes could have a par anywhere between 27 and 38.

What does par 72 mean in golf?

Par 72 means that the 18 holes on that golf course should be playable by a scratch handicap in 72 strokes. 

What does par 3 mean in golf?

Par 3 is a short hole with a maximum length of 250 yards which the scratch golfer should complete in 3 strokes.

What does par 4 mean in golf?

Par 4 is a hole with a length between 251 yards to 470 yards which the scratch golfer should complete in 4 strokes.

What does par 5 mean in golf?

Par 5 is a hole with a length between 471 yards to 690 yards which the scratch golfer should complete in 5 strokes.

Scoring relationship and par

If you have ever watched golf on the television, you will have heard the golf terms "level par", "even par", "under par" and "over par."

These are used to describe a player's scoring relationship relative to par. For example if a player plays the first hole of a golf course, (a par 4) in for shots, they would be level par or even par through one hole. If they then made a hole in one on the next par 3, (unlikely) they would be 2 under par.

Here's a link to more golfing terms.

What does “par for the course” mean?

You probably heard of the term “par for the course.” It’s basically an idiomatic expression derived from golf which usage is equal to that of “normal”, “expected” or “common.” Like in golf, par is the expected/normal number of strokes. So you could use the phrase to describe a similar situation, event or behavior.

What does under par mean in golf?

Under par means the golfer scores a number of strokes into the hole, less than the number stipulated on the scorecard. The names for these scores are birdie, eagle and albatross. 

On a par 4, that would be 3 or fewer strokes.

On a par 5, that would be 4 or fewer strokes.

On a par 3, that would be 2 or fewer strokes.

Over 9 holes, you can add up a score and be considered 'under par' if your total score is below the total number for par on that nine.

Over 18 holes, you add up your score and be considered 'under par' if your total score is below the total number for par on that course.

Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Matt