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How Is the Par of a Golf Course Hole Determined?

By Edited Jul 13, 2016 1 0

As a game that was once associated strictly by engagement with the wealthiest individuals in society, the natural progression of the game of golf has caused it to take on forms, such as miniature golf, that has clear marketing potential to those with less skill and influence. While golf has evolved, with very controversial roots concerning its exact origin in history, the modern day form of the game has come to embrace a concept called "par". Determination of "par" is a key element behind the game of golf because it serves as a baseline regarding what a normal, skilled, golfer, on any course hole, would be expected to shoot in terms of golf club strokes in order to reach the green.

For anyone who is familiar with the game of golf, you may be familiar with the fact that a golf course hole's "par" serves as a guidelines and criteria for play that typically appears on a player's score card. Whether one plays regular golf, or miniature golf, each hole's "par" will be displayed on your score card. Where other games, such as baseball or football, rely on a player or team having the highest score possible, the inverse is actually true with golf: the lowest score, whether above par or below par, is the winner of a golf course hole. When all the scores are added up, from all 9 or 18 holes, this same concept applies as the lowest scoring player or team (in Match play golf) will reign the victor.

While there are several factors involved in making the determination of the "par" of a golf course hole, the pre-established distance from where a player 'tees off' to the actual golf hole is one of the main determinants of a golf course hole's "par". Besides this distance measurement, which is typically presented on a sign near the 'tee-off' spot or on a player's scorecard, any other factor that would lend to the difficulty of a golf course hole would be an element of consideration for increasing a hole's "par". Bear in mind, however, that the "par" of a golf course hole is never adjust by players, but, rather, it is essentially an accompanying trait that is inherent to each golf course hole.

Other factors that would be attributable to a golf course owner's desire to increase the "par" of any given hole on their course, as mentioned earlier, would include variables that increase the actual difficulty of the course. The slope gradiant of the course (whether it goes uphill or downhill) is another major considering that will affect the "par" of a golf course hole. If the golf course hole is primarily level, than this obviously isn't a factor, however most golf course holes lend themselves to at least some degree of downhill or uphill slope.

When a golf course hole slopes downward, the reason why this can impact a golf course hole's "par" rating (by lowering it) is because the tee-to-green ratio would actually play shorter and be 'easier' for golf players overall. On the other hand, a golf course hole that slopes upward, dependent upon the incline, could very well increase the "par" rating simply because of the difficulty that is added when the hole pays longer.

Without some degree of hazards injected into the engineering and architecture of a golf course hole, a game of golf could get very dry and monotonous quite easily. For this reason, anyone who is familiar with the game of golf should be very much familiar with the extent of strategy required to navigate hazards such as looming sand trap bunkers, water, and seemingly oversized rough patches of grass (the "rough"). Because of these added elements, that inherently increase the difficulty of the game of golf, the "par" rating will have to be higher in order to account for these things. A course with no hazards will typically have a low "par" rating, while, for each new hazard added to the architecture of the golf course hole, you will find that the "par" rating will have to go up in order to account for these things. The affect of hazards, or even the shape of the green itself, may require an extra stroke in order to navigate, and, therefore, may increase the difficulty and, subsequently, the "par" of the golf course hole you are playing.

When strictly distance from the tee-off area to the golf course green are discussed, one will encounter distances that 'typical' for different par ratings. As mentioned earlier, the "par" rating will increase with the distance from the tee-off area to the golf course green. With this in mind, a golf course hole that is 250 yards, or less, is typically classified as a Par 3 course. Because of the strokes required to make the green, outside of miniature golf, on a regular golf course hole you will very seldom find a "Par" that is lower than "Par 3". On the inverse, although uncommon, a golf player may even encounter "Par 6" or "Par 7" golf holes.

With "Par" as the baseline for both the holes (the 'rounds' that are played) and the entire golf course, scoring is conducted while referencing that baseline requirement. When a player scores "under par" that is a good thing, while scoring "over par" means that it took you more shots to conquer the golf course than the golf course's "par" value actually allowed for. Scoring over or under par, however, isn't the sole determinant of a winner however. Instead, it is the skill and talent of your opponents that determines a winner in the game of golf. If your pool of competition all score high above par, you may very well win the game if you, yourself, score about par, but to a lesser degree than they did. The same is true with regards to a game in which all the players have low scores below the established "Par" rating value of the course.

As you can see from this Info Barrel article, golf course hole par can become a rather complicated phenomena to establish quite quickly. While distance from the tee-to-green may be the sole consideration, with so many other factors at play, this may not always be the case dependent on the structure and architecture of the golf course. When playing golf, not only is it important to know your opponents, your clubs, and their capabilities, it is also important to know what exact confines you are operating under on any given golf course hole. The victors will be those who can successful master all aspects of the game of golf.

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