What is Par?

163 1
163 1
Register for a free webinar

During July, I toured a 27-hole property with a member of the ASGCA.  The facility offers a fabulous 18-hole championship course and a more recreational 9 hole golf course. The 9th hole of the recreational course requires you to traverse about 75 yards from the 8th green over a fence and through the woods or down a steep hill with a precarious turn for the cart, hit the tee shot and then proceed up the same cart path after playing the hole.  I stated the hole appeared “forced into the landscape” and pondered why.

The 8th hole was a long par 5 that could have easily been split into a par 4 and a par 3 ending far closer to the clubhouse.  The response was they wanted to ensure the par for the 9 holes was 36 for consistent with “traditional design.”

Another client that I am working with is undertaking a renovation and is strong in their belief that the course has to be a Par 72.

Instinctively, I thought the adherence to a “standard par” for 9 or 18 was a mistake.

I sincerely believe I have seen more golf courses in the world than anyone (over 5,000 courses I speculate in more 49 countries).  How is that possible?  Notwithstanding I have flown 2.836 million miles on United Airlines, when I secret shop a golf course for a client, I not only play their course unannounced to the staff but will visit the competitive set of upward of 20 courses in the client’s market.  The more courses I see and terrible golf I watch, the conclusion that people play golf for many reasons and adherence to tradition is far down the list.

Often identifying with Dustin Hoffman’s role in “Rainman”, I tabulated the par for every golf course in the United States that has been built.   The great dispersion of par will surprise you.   Presented below is the par for nearly every course ever built in the United States:

Par # of Courses
27 461
28 42
29 105
30 116
31 120
32 106
33 134
34 255
35 1,153
36 2,433
37 58
38 3
39 4
40 0
41 1
42 1
43 0
44 1
45 0
46 0
47 0
48 0
49 0
50 0
51 0
52 0
53 1
54 149
55 12
56 16
57 14
58 31
59 22
60 74
61 32
62 46
63 32
64 31
65 34
66 35
67 37
68 59
69 94
70 1,360
71 2,561
72 6,731
73 103
74 18
75 2
76 1

I don’t believe that financial success at a golf course is based on par but rather the experience provided.  That is why I think.  More importantly, what do you think?  Comment below.

Join the Conversation

1 comment

  1.    Reply

    Par is only important to the USGA, the rest of us don’t give a damn!

    Remember that “you cannot win golf, you can only play it”
    Bagger Vance