what is par in golf

This article is about the general definition of par on a golf hole. See the particular score system for further information.Par (golf scoring format).

Ingolf,paris the predefined number of strokes that a skilled (scratch, or zero) golfer takes.handicap)[1]A hole, a round (the total of the pars of the played holes), or a tournament should be required of golfers (the sum of the pars of each round).[2][3]A golfer’s number of strokes is compared to the par score to determine how much the player was “over par,” “under par,” or “even with/equal to par” for scoring purposes.[4]

Holes are often awarded par values ranging from three to five depending on their distance from theteeing groundto theputting green, as well as other elements such as terrain and obstructions.[5]A typical 18-holegolf coursewill have a total par around 72,[2]A 9-hole par-3 course (with all holes rated par 3) has a total par of 27.

Determination of par[edit]

The playing length of each hole from the tee determines par.teeing groundto theputting green. Holes are generally assigned par values between three and five, which includes a regulation number of strokes to reach the green based on the average distance a proficient golfer hits the ball, and twoputts.[3]When determining a hole’s par, factors other than distance are considered. These include altitude, terrain, and obstacles that result in a hole playing longer or shorter than its measured distance, such as a route that is significantly uphill or downhill, or requiring a stroke to finish short of a body of water before hitting over it.[5]

Par-3 holes for men will generally be less than 260 yards (240 m) from the tee to the green, par-4 holes will be 240-490 yards (220-450 m), par-5 holes will be 450-710 yards (410-650 m), and par-6 holes will be more than 670 yards (610 m). Par-3 holes for women will be less than 220 yards (200 m) from the tee to the green, par-4 holes will be 200-420 yards (180-380 m), par-5 holes will be 370-600 yards (340-550 m), and par-6 holes will be more than 570 yards (520 m).[5]These limits are sometimes expanded higher for top tournament players, who may frequently face par-4 holes of 500 yards (460 m) or more, as a consequence of a regular par-5 course being classed as a par-4 for them.[3]Some golf courses have par-7 holes, although the PGA does not recognize them.United States Golf Association.

Course and tournament scores[edit]

A golfer’s score is compared with the par score.[4]If a course has a par of 72 and a golfer takes 75 strokes to complete the course, the reported score is +3, or “three-over-par” and takes three shots more than par to complete the course. If a golfer takes 70 strokes, his or her score is 2 (or “two-under-par”).

Tournament scores are calculated by adding the scores relative to par in each round (there are usually four rounds in professional tournaments). The tournament par would be 288 if each of the four rounds had a par of 72. A golfer, for example, may shoot 70 in the first round, 72 in the second round, 73 in the third round, and 69 in the fourth round. That would yield a tournament score of 284, or “four-under-par”.

Hole scores[edit]

Scores on each hole are reported in the same way that course scores are given. Scores on holes relative to par are typically given names.


A hole score equal to the par of the hole is simply called a par. It is assumed that the phrase came from thestock exchange, where it was applied to the predicted value of stocks. The transition to golf was made by writer A. H. Doleman prior toThe Open ChampionshipatPrestwickwhen he reported on what had been recounted byDavid StrathandJames Andersonas the score resulting from “perfect play”.[6]


A bogie is a score that is one stroke higher than par (+1) for a hole, such as 4 strokes on a par 3 hole or 6 strokes on a par 5 hole.[2]

The term bogey was initially used in golf to refer to the amount of strokes a competent golfer should take at each hole.Great YarmouthBased on the term “Golf Club in England about 1890,”bogey man” and a popularmusic hallsong “Here Comes the Bogey Man“.[6]Players competed againstColonel Bogey, a fictitious player who scored a set amount of strokes on each hole. The tournament was won by the player with the highest match-play score versus Colonel Bogey. The word first appeared in print in the November 28th, 1891 edition ofThe Field, concerning tournaments conducted at the United Services Golf Club,Gosport.[7]The phrase inspired the title of a 1914 British military music, “Colonel Bogey March“.[8]As golf grew more standardised in the United States, par scores tightened and recreational players began to score above par, with bogey moving to one-over-par.

Scores that are greater than one stroke higher than par for a hole are referred to asdouble-bogey(two strokes more than par, +2),triple-bogey(three shots over par, +3), and so on. For higher hole scores it is more common for them to be referred to by the number of strokes, or strokes relative to par, rather than as a “n-tuple bogey”.

A bogey-free round is considered an accomplishment. Four bogey-free rounds in a professional competition are uncommon. Here are several examples:Lee Trevinoat the 1974Greater New Orleans Open;David J. Russellat the 1992Lyon Open V33;Jesper Parnevikat the 1995Volvo Scandinavian Masters;Manuel Piñeroat the 2002GIN Monte Carlo Invitational;Diana Lunaat the 2011UniCredit Ladies German Open; andJonas BlixtandCameron Smithat the 2017Zurich Classic of New Orleans(This is a team event). Each of them won the tournament except Piñero, who finished third.[9]


A birdie is a hole score of one stroke less than par (one under par, 1), such as 2 strokes on a par 3 hole or 4 strokes on a par 5 hole.[2]This expression was coined in 1899, at theAtlantic City Country ClubinNorthfield, New Jersey. According to legend, on one day in 1899, three players, George Crump (who subsequently developed thePine Valley Golf Club, about 45 miles away), William Poultney Smith (founding member of Pine Valley), and his brother Ab Smith, were playing together when Crump hit his second shot only inches from the cup on a par-four hole after his first shot had struck a bird in flight. The Smith brothers both yelled that Crump’s shot was “a bird” at the same time. Crump’s short putt left him one-under-par for the hole, and the three of them referred to such a score as a “birdie” from then on. The name was quickly adopted by the whole club membership. Because the Atlantic City Country Club was a resort with numerous out-of-town guests, the term quickly spread and piqued the interest of all American golfers.[10]

Theperfect round(a 54 on a par-72 course) is most frequently characterized as making a birdie on each of the 18 holes.[11][12]but no player has ever recorded a perfect round in a professional tournament. During the year 2009,RBC Canadian Open,Mark Calcavecchiarecorded nine straight birdies in the second round, shattering the previous recordPGA Tourrecord.[13]


An eagle is a hole score of two strokes less than par (two under par, 2), such as two strokes to finish a par 4 hole or three strokes to complete a par 5 hole.[2]Because it is a very rare birdie, the term “eagle” was adopted to signify a higher score than a birdie.large bird.[6]An eagle usually occurs when a golfer hits the ball far enough to reach the green with fewer strokes than expected. It is most prevalent on par-fives, although it may also happen on short par-fours. Ahole in oneon a par-three hole also results in an eagle.


An albatross is a hole score of three strokes less than par (three under par, 3).albatrossbeing one of the biggest birds); also known as a double eagle in the United States, e.g. two shots to finish a par five hole.[2]It is an extremely rare score and occurs most commonly on par-fives with a strong drive and a holed approach shot. Hole-in-ones on par-four (usually short) holes are also albatrosses. The first well-known albatross was created byGene Sarazenin 1935 on the 15th hole atAugusta National Golf Clubduring the final round of theMasters Tournament. It propelled him into first position and prompted a playoff, which he won the next day. It was dubbed “the” by sportswriters of the time.shot heard ’round the world.”

Between 1970 and 2003, 84 similar pictures were captured on the film (an average of around 2.5 each year).PGA Tour.[14]

Recent high-profile albatrosses include those byJoey Sindelarat the2006 PGA Championship, only the third in that competition’s history;[15]Miguel Ángel Jiménezwhile defending hisBMW PGA Championshiptitle in 2009;[16]Paul Lawriein the final round of the2009 Open Championship;[17]Shaun Micheelon the final day of the2010 U.S. Open,[18]only the second ever in that competition;Pádraig Harringtonin the2010 WGC-HSBC Champions;[19]Louis Oosthuizenon the final day of the2012 Masters Tournament, the fourth in the competition’s history, the first to be broadcast on television, and the first on Augusta’s par-five second hole;[20]Rafa Cabrera-Belloat the2017 Players Championship; andBrooks Koepkaat the2018 Players Championship.[21]


Condor is an unofficial name for a hole score of four strokes fewer than par (four under par, −4). A condor is sometimes known as a triple eagle or a double albatross.[22][23]This is the lowest individual hole score ever achieved in comparison to par. A condor would be a hole-in-one on a par-five (typically by cutting over a dogleg corner), a two on a par-six,[24]or a three out of seven (which is not known to have been achieved).[22]Par-sixes are exceptionally rare,[25][26]as are par-sevens.[27][28]

A condor has only been seen five times on a par-5 course as of January 2021.[29]time allegedly on a straight drive (a record 517 yards or 473 metres, helped by thin air at high altitude inDenver).[22]Another feat was purportedly accomplished using a 3-iron club (in 1995 on a horseshoe-shaped par-5 hole).[22][23]In December 2020, a condor was seen on the 18th hole atLake Chabot Golf CourseinOakland, California.[30]In a professional event, a condor has never been accomplished.


Golfers are normally responsible for entering their own scores on a scorecard, and submitting an incorrect one may result in a penalty or disqualification from a tournament.[31]Scorecards often offer some basic course information, such as thecourse rating, theslope rating, and each hole’s par andhandicapratings, as well as data from the various color-coded groupstee markersdenoting different yardage options to the hole.[32][33]It will also often include columns that give the overall totals for the first “front/outward nine” holes, the final “back/inward nine” holes, and the whole 18-hole course.[34]


  1. ^Drane, Dan; Block, Martin E. (2005).Accessible golf: making it a game fore all(Illustrated ed.). Human Kinetics.ISBN 978-0-88011-979-5. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  2. ^Jump up to:abcdef“What is par?”.BBC Sport Academy. September 22, 2004. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  3. ^Jump up to:abc“How is par on a golf course determined?”.Sporting News. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  4. ^Jump up to:ab“Over Par in Golf: Definition and Scoring Examples” May 24, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  5. ^Jump up to:abc“Handicapping Rules | Appendix F: Establishing Par”. USGA. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  6. ^Jump up to:abc“From Bogey to Blow-Up: Bogey: Scottish Golf History” 2003–2007.
  7. ^“bogey / boogie man” June 7, 2020.
  8. ^Harris, Ed (2007).Golf Facts, Figures & Fun. Vol. Illustrated. AAPPL.ISBN 978-1-904332-65-7.
  9. ^“Bogey-free Luna makes history in Germany”. Ladies European Tour. May 25, 2011.
  10. ^Price, Charles (1962).The World of Golf. p. 124. Price’s book is required reading for all membership applicants to the PGA.
  11. ^“Atlantic Cite: On to the Next Round”.The New York Times. May 10, 1998.
  12. ^“Atlantic City Country Club; A Golf Mecca Opens to the Public”.Golf Digest. June 2008.
  13. ^“Calcavecchia birdies record 9 straight holes”.Golf Magazine. Associated Press. July 25, 2009.
  14. ^Fields, Bill (April 2, 2004).“The Rarest Bird: The albatross flew in the 1935 Masters, but golf’s most unusual shot is difficult to discover”.Golf World. Archived fromthe originalon March 5, 2007.
  15. ^“Sindelar plunders rare albatross”.BBC. August 19, 2006. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  16. ^“Casey holds on for Wentworth win”.BBC. May 24, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  17. ^“Lawrie enjoys albatross at Open”.BBC News. July 19, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  18. ^Editorial, Reuters (June 20, 2010).“Golf-Michael scores his second U.S. Open albatross”.Reuters.
  19. ^Keogh, Brian (November 6, 2010).“News: Albatross not enough for Harrington”. Irish Golf Desk. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  20. ^“BBC Sport 2012 Masters: Day four as it happened”BBC Sport, 9 April 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  21. ^“ESPN Brooks Koepka hits an albatross and matches the TPC record with a 9-under 63”. ESPN. May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  22. ^Jump up to:abcd“Condor”.Golf Today. October 2008.
  23. ^Jump up to:abKelley, Brent.“Has There Ever Been a Par-5 Hole-in-One?”.About.comGolf. 24th of August, 2014. One was even recorded using a three-iron! Shaun Lynch hit it on the 496-yard No. 17 at Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England, in 1995. According to a 2004 article in Golf World magazine, Lynch aimed straight toward the green on ahorseshoepar-5, clearing a 20-foot-high hedge, then hitting a downslope on the other side. His ball was carried by the downslope to the green and into the cup.
  24. ^Becker, Jon (January 12, 2021).“East Bay man achieves golf’s rarest shot ever”.East Bay Times. Bay Area News Group. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  25. ^Kelley, Brent.“Par 6 (Par-6 Hole)”.About.comGolf. 24th of August, 2014. As noted, par-6 holes are rare, with most golf courses having only par-3, par-4 and par-5 holes. Most recreational golfers go their entire golfing careers without ever seeing a par 6.
  26. ^“Farmstead Golf Links, Calabash” North Carolina Course Reviews. The 29th of January, 2002. The date was October 1, 2012.
  27. ^Robb, Victoria (April 13, 2007).“The World’s Longest Golf Hole”.Esquire. Retrieved December 25, 2014. According toThe Guinness Book of World RecordsThe longest hole in the world—an grueling 964-yard, par-7 humdinger—is located on the Satsuki golf course in Sano, Japan.
  28. ^Aumann, Mark (September 7, 2014).“In South Korea, a par-7, 1,100-yard hole presents a test to long hitters.”.PGA of America. Gunsan’s par-7, 1,100-yard third hole… Gunsan Country Club… contains some of the world’s longest golf holes, including a Par 7 (1,004m) and a Par 6 hole (661m).
  29. ^“What is a condor in golf? What are the rarest birds in golf?” Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  30. ^“East Bay man achieves golf’s rarest shot ever” January 12, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  31. ^“What Happens If You Sign An Incorrect Scorecard?”.Golf Monthly. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  32. ^“Explanation of a Golf Scorecard” USA Today. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  33. ^“What Are Golf Cards?” USA Today. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  34. ^“Which nine was that?”.Golf Digest. July 18, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2022.

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