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Is "Par" relevant?


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#1 Jordan J. Caron

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:03 PM

The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible.  With that being said, why is par relevant?  I was told from a young age that par was something a scratch golfer shot but that doesn't seem true as thats what a course rating is used for.

Over the years I have seen hundreds of golfers let par dictate how they play instead of focusing on getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  Often times they become tentative over birdie putts because they want to secure a par for the hole.  If you do use "par" as a guideline, why not create your own personalized par for a hole instead of what the card says?


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#2 Titleist1455

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:07 PM

What??

So should we start making strikes worth 12 pins in bowling??  or have 4 pointers in basketball?  

nope, it's just how you keep score...

#3 Geo

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:15 PM

Yup.  The handicap system gives us enough outs to feel good about ourselves after losing half a dozen balls on the course.  Playing to par ensures that not everybody gets a ribbon when they finish 18 holes. :lol:
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#4 baseballfrk8998

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:47 PM

I'm not understanding this post. Oh well! If you want to bogey a Par 4 and consider it "par" then so be it! Not this guy..
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#5 WHiT3-TiG3R

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:08 PM

o.O


#6 teejaywhy

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:22 PM

Woosh!

Ha ha Jordan, welcome to GolfWRX!

#7 williethekid

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:36 PM

To those that wish to make par irrelevant, I think that they will find a better overall mental attitude. For example, you make a 4 on a 500 yard par 4 hitting driver 3 wood. You then make a 5 on a par 5 that is  525 yards hitting Driver 5 iron ( only difference was that the wind was hurting on the 4, and helping on the 5). Do you feel you played the hole equally as well? Par says you did.

I know if I get to a hole that is a 500 yard par 4, that par is great score, whereas on a 525 yard par 5 I'm thinking birdie hole all things considered.

What about a 285 yard par 3?

My point is that everyone has a personal par, if you can get yourself to think that 500 yards will take 4 shots on a good day, and then you take 5, it's going to be a blow mentally, whereas if you assessed it as taking 5 shots, you wouldn't. Obviously you can't just add a stroke to every hole and be a happy camper all day, but if you play a hole well you shouldn't let your score affect you.

#8 smartpnoi

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:40 PM

I'm a little weird, but right now I'm shooting to break 90 consistently.  So to me, everything is a "Par" 5.  5 strokes * 18 holes = 90 strokes

Once I start breaking 90 regularly Posted Image, then I'll use the real par score as my guideline.

Edited by smartpnoi, 31 May 2011 - 09:41 PM.


#9 RRFireblade

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 09:42 PM

View PostJordan J. Caron, on 31 May 2011 - 08:03 PM, said:

The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible.  With that being said, why is par relevant?  I was told from a young age that par was something a scratch golfer shot but that doesn't seem true as thats what a course rating is used for.

Over the years I have seen hundreds of golfers let par dictate how they play instead of focusing on getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  Often times they become tentative over birdie putts because they want to secure a par for the hole.  If you do use "par" as a guideline, why not create your own personalized par for a hole instead of what the card says?

Its the standard for how each hole should be played. Nothing more, nothing less.

I don't know a single person that would throw away a birdie to " secure" a par unless your talking about winning a match by either strokes or holes. Or unless its a green that missing a putt badly might costs you 2 more strokes.

So does par matter relative to your own score?  Not in the grand scheme of things but you have to have some benchmark to shoot for or to better or why keep score at all?
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#10 TexasAg

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:31 PM

Everybody's obsession with par, IMO, dates back to the 1960 Masters and Frank Chirkinian's creation of the +/- scoring system for TV.

Prior to that, nobody really cared what "par" was.  If you shot 74, it was thought of as 74, not +2.  It only mattered what you shot relative to your opponents, not an arbitrary "par".

+/- scoring is certainly more exciting and easier to follow for spectator during a tournament.  But it's probably better mentally to just play the round without worrying about par/bogey/birdie.  I know in my best rounds I couldn't tell you what my score is until I add it up after the round.


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#11 RRFireblade

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:34 PM

True.  

For tourny purposes theres really no other way to judge competitor scoring relative to each other when on different holes of the course.
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#12 STL_Baller

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:18 AM

View Postsmartpnoi, on 31 May 2011 - 09:40 PM, said:

I'm a little weird, but right now I'm shooting to break 90 consistently.  So to me, everything is a "Par" 5.  5 strokes * 18 holes = 90 strokes

Once I start breaking 90 regularly Posted Image, then I'll use the real par score as my guideline.


Once you get to 90 regularly, try getting 4 on each hole....:)  4*18 = 72    :P


To the OP and others, my father was my coach for many years when I was learning the game.  As a mental assistant, he and I went through the course on the scorecard and made personal par levels for each hole based on my playing ability at the time....as I developed, those levels went down.  Even today, although I guage my self on standard par as most of you do, mentally I know there are holes that are legitimate birdie opportunities, those that where par is a good score and those where bogey won't give up a shot to the field.  This game is hard enough mentally, do what ever you can to give yourself the edge and the momentum to keep going in the right direction.

Edited by STL_Baller, 01 June 2011 - 04:19 AM.


#13 DMViking

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:31 AM

View PostJordan J. Caron, on 31 May 2011 - 08:03 PM, said:

The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible.  With that being said, why is par relevant?  I was told from a young age that par was something a scratch golfer shot but that doesn't seem true as thats what a course rating is used for.

Over the years I have seen hundreds of golfers let par dictate how they play instead of focusing on getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  Often times they become tentative over birdie putts because they want to secure a par for the hole.  If you do use "par" as a guideline, why not create your own personalized par for a hole instead of what the card says?

People are all over the TS's post but this line makes sense.

#14 DH48

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:59 AM

The vast majority of golfers never shoot even par in their life so in that sense it isn't relevant. However it is a standard to measure against. Measuring against the course rating would in many ways be better because that differential would let you more accurately compare your performance on different courses and tees.

I'm not scratch or close to it so I have a personal par that is in my head when I start the round. As I improve it goes down.

As for worrying about saving par when standing over a birdie putt, I was playing with a pro the other day. On a longish par 4 I hit a good tee shot good approach and burned the edge on a 15 ft birdie putt. I started to get irritated with myself and the pro said "hold on, if I had offered you pa on the tee box you would have happily taken it right?". Keeping that bought has made me a little more relaxed over birdie putts and on difficult holes even some par putts and I think helped my game.

Edited by DH48, 01 June 2011 - 05:00 AM.


#15 sgniwder99

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 05:14 AM

View PostDMViking, on 01 June 2011 - 04:31 AM, said:

View PostJordan J. Caron, on 31 May 2011 - 08:03 PM, said:

The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible.  With that being said, why is par relevant?  I was told from a young age that par was something a scratch golfer shot but that doesn't seem true as thats what a course rating is used for.

Over the years I have seen hundreds of golfers let par dictate how they play instead of focusing on getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  Often times they become tentative over birdie putts because they want to secure a par for the hole.  If you do use "par" as a guideline, why not create your own personalized par for a hole instead of what the card says?

People are all over the TS's post but this line makes sense.

I've definitely left birdie putts short because in my mind I was already satisfied with par, and would rather leave myself a couple of feet to clean up than take an aggressive run at the hole and knock it 6 feet by.

It's a mental error, but I've definitely made it on occasion. I'd think I'm not the only one.

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#16 richard t

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:41 AM

Par is par. A par 5 is uh, well, it's 5. I have heard of the idea of fixing par for yourself on each hole by what you are truly capable of. So if it's a par 4 and 5 is damn good for you call this hole a 5 for yourself. As you get better adjust par as your skill level improves. Just don't put 4 on the card when you made 5. But then isn't that what a handicap does?

#17 teejaywhy

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:04 AM

Par is just an arbitrary value.

When is par not a par?   Example - USGA turning a par 5 into a par 4.

What about the "half par" hole?   i.e  par 3.5 or 4.5

#18 bortass

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:52 AM

View PostSTL_Baller, on 01 June 2011 - 04:18 AM, said:

View Postsmartpnoi, on 31 May 2011 - 09:40 PM, said:

I'm a little weird, but right now I'm shooting to break 90 consistently.  So to me, everything is a "Par" 5.  5 strokes * 18 holes = 90 strokes

Once I start breaking 90 regularly Posted Image, then I'll use the real par score as my guideline.


Once you get to 90 regularly, try getting 4 on each hole....:)  4*18 = 72    :P


To the OP and others, my father was my coach for many years when I was learning the game.  As a mental assistant, he and I went through the course on the scorecard and made personal par levels for each hole based on my playing ability at the time....as I developed, those levels went down.  Even today, although I guage my self on standard par as most of you do, mentally I know there are holes that are legitimate birdie opportunities, those that where par is a good score and those where bogey won't give up a shot to the field.  This game is hard enough mentally, do what ever you can to give yourself the edge and the momentum to keep going in the right direction.


  I'm kinda similar to both of you. I'm trying to crack 90 so 5 is a good guide for me and keeping pace. There are holes that are par 4 on the card but are par 5s for me. I can't reach the green in 2 because of length. I have parred those holes but I consider a bogey 5 to be good and a 6 is decent. A 4 is sweet. There are other holes that a par isn't as special because I can get right off the green or on it in regulation. I don't par them alot but it's more likely then those longer holes.

#19 richard t

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

Another thing to consider. Some of the most fun I've had is playing match play, either competition or just with other guys. When total score is no longer the issue, neither is 'par'. I make 5, you make 4, par is 3 , you are 1 Up. If more people played some match play I believe their skill would get better. Concentrate on making the shots that will win a hole not what 'par' is.  I won a damn trophy once because I made an 8 footer for bogey on 18 ,at all even, after my opponent 'skulled' it out of the trap and made 6.  I shot 78 but I'll always remember that 5! Hey, the game is hard enough as it is and if it stops being fun then what?

#20 Jordan J. Caron

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 02:55 PM



View PostRRFireblade, on 31 May 2011 - 10:34 PM, said:


View PostTexasAg, on 31 May 2011 - 10:31 PM, said:

True.  

For tourny purposes theres really no other way to judge competitor scoring relative to each other when on different holes of the course.


Everybody's obsession with par, IMO, dates back to the 1960 Masters and Frank Chirkinian's creation of the +/- scoring system for TV.

Prior to that, nobody really cared what "par" was.  If you shot 74, it was thought of as 74, not +2.  It only mattered what you shot relative to your opponents, not an arbitrary "par".

+/- scoring is certainly more exciting and easier to follow for spectator during a tournament.  But it's probably better mentally to just play the round without worrying about par/bogey/birdie.  I know in my best rounds I couldn't tell you what my score is until I add it up after the round.

Par is indeed relevant for the viewers and players when live scoring is used.  I wonder how many Professional players actually think about Par for a hole?


View PostRRFireblade, on 31 May 2011 - 09:42 PM, said:


  Not in the grand scheme of things but you have to have some benchmark to shoot for or to better or why keep score at all?


This is what I refer to as a personal par.  That benchmark should be your personal par for a hole, not what a "scratch" golfer is supposed to do.

View Postrichard t, on 01 June 2011 - 11:23 AM, said:

Another thing to consider. Some of the most fun I've had is playing match play, either competition or just with other guys. When total score is no longer the issue, neither is 'par'. I make 5, you make 4, par is 3 , you are 1 Up. If more people played some match play I believe their skill would get better. Concentrate on making the shots that will win a hole not what 'par' is.

Awesome point Richard.  When playing a match you simply disregard par and play off your opponent as much as possible.  If you have a 10 footer for 3 on a par 4 but it's to halve the hole, you'll do whatever you can to make it.


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#21 J Jack

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:04 PM

I can hear Renton Laidlaw saying "he shot 280 and won"  - the over/under par thing is our invention.

But there is a relevant point here somewhere:  why is a 500-yard par 4 a bogey hole but a 510-yard par 5 a birdie hole?

#22 jswaykos

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:08 PM

I think par is definitely relevant in the right context, but basically it's just a 'short cut' that has been created to quickly show how well or how poorly someone is playing.  But nothing burns me up more than when I tell someone (out of state, who has no idea what course I played) that I played well, and they ask "what'd you shoot?"  How does that matter?  What if I shot 90 on a 5,200 yard course?  That's a lot worse than a 90 on, say, a 6,700 yard course.  But whatever.

Just think, though, if we didn't use 'par' for tournament scoring (on TV) - it'd mean nothing to me if all I was told was that Phil was at 229 for the tournament.  I get that total strokes are what ACTUALLY matter, but in an instant, that number is too hard to figure if it's good/bad.

#23 RRFireblade

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:41 PM

I know this WRX but you-all puttin way too much thought into this.

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#24 Ogre41

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:22 PM

View Postsmartpnoi, on 31 May 2011 - 09:40 PM, said:

I'm a little weird, but right now I'm shooting to break 90 consistently.  So to me, everything is a "Par" 5.  5 strokes * 18 holes = 90 strokes


That is exactly how my friends and I play. I am not aiming for a 72, that is unattainable. But with my desire to break 100 as often as possible, 90 is a good goal that I have beaten only once. Should I ever become skilled enough where that is not a massive challenge, I will reevaluate then. But I don't exactly see that happening.
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#25 larrybud

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 07:44 AM

I agree in theory with what the OP is saying.  Par definitely brings a more mental aspect to the game than necessary. As someone else said, you walk up to a 470 par 4 and it's a "difficult par".  Walk up to a 470 yard par 5, and it's "an easy birdie".


#26 youngstructural

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:13 AM

I like using a course handicap system to establish my 'par'.  

Say if I'm playing at course X with a slope of 124.  I take my handicap 12.7 and multiply by the slope of the course, normalized by the average slope rating (113) ....  12.7 * 124 / 113  .... what that does is give a number called course handicap.  Therefore on course X, I would recive 13.79 strokes.  So a 72 + 14 = 86.  Therefore, I feel like I should shoot an 86 there, any better then I did  better then 'par' , any worse, and I'm over par.  

One day I will use 72 as my goal, but unitl i'm well into the single digits, I prefer to use this method.

http://www.usga.org/...lator/index.asp

Edited by youngstructural, 07 July 2011 - 10:14 AM.

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#27 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:41 AM

If you search the older threads, there was a pretty lengthy discussion about this. I think it started out as a question of whether a 59 on a par 70 was better than one on a par 71. It may have had Goydos in the title. If you can find that one, it's a pretty good read.


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#28 Sean2

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:46 AM

Yes, par is relevant. IMHO you need something to match your score against. That said, when I first started playing I would make my own personal par, which for me was 90 on a par 72. It gave me something realistic to shoot for, and made the game more enjoyable.
Hey...be nice.

#29 QEight

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 04:01 PM

View PostSean2, on 09 July 2011 - 09:46 AM, said:

Yes, par is relevant. IMHO you need something to match your score against. That said, when I first started playing I would make my own personal par, which for me was 90 on a par 72. It gave me something realistic to shoot for, and made the game more enjoyable.


In Finland we use EGA system for handicap. In EGA we do not count strokes as such, but Stableford points based on your strokes and adjusted by your HC. This way you are always playing against your an adjusted par. I think this is more encouraging than aiming for true par, unless you are into single figures already.

For example my 10 year old son played his first official 9 holes today.  He started with so called Club HC of 54, ie getting 3 shots for each hole. With drives maxed out at 170yds with roll downhill, a 340yd par 4 would be little bit intimidating. Aiming to play better than his adjusted par of 7 (worth 2 points) was much more rewarding for him. On a short 250yd par 4, he actually made a true par (worth a whopping 5 points!). In the end he shot 63 shots, worth of 20 points. This lowered his HC to 52. So next time he will get 3 extra shots on each hole, except on two "easiest" holes only 2 extra shots. So his adjusted par is adjusted on based on his HC and the HC index of the hole.


Of course we still play also pure stroke games, both with HC and scratch. But for "recreational" golf, the adjusted par o f Stableford makes the game more enjoyable.
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#30 hitsalittle

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 11:56 PM

The answer is no - class dismissed.


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