What is Par in Golf for 18 Holes: Understanding Golf Scoring

Mark Crossfield
11 Min Read

Ever wondered what is par in golf for 18 holes? If you’re a golf enthusiast or a beginner eager to understand the game’s nuances, you’ve likely pondered this question. Maybe you’ve found yourself stuck on the 18th hole, tallying up your scorecard, and wondering, “Did I meet par, or did I fall short?”

So, what is par in golf for 18 holes? Typically, par for an 18-hole golf course ranges between 70 and 75, with 72 being the most common.

Curious to dive deeper? Stick around. As an expert in golf scoring and course management, I’ll guide you through the intricacies of par, from its calculation to its impact on your game. You’ll also learn about variations like par 3, par 4, and par 5 holes, and how different courses and their terrains affect the par score. Whether you’re aiming to go under par or simply trying to understand what those numbers on the scorecard really mean, this blog post has got you covered.

Key Facts:

  1. Par for an 18-hole golf course typically ranges between 70 and 75.
  2. Par is determined by the length and difficulty of each hole.
  3. Par 3, Par 4, and Par 5 holes have distinct characteristics.
  4. Course length, difficulty, and terrain can influence a course’s overall par.
  5. Understanding par is crucial for both beginners and seasoned players for score improvement and course management.

What is Par in Golf for 18 Holes?

Par is the standard number of strokes that a scratch golfer is expected to complete a hole or a round in. It serves as a benchmark for golfers to measure their skills and performance. On an 18-hole course, par is the sum of the par values assigned to each hole.

How is Par Calculated?

Par is calculated based on the length of the hole and the number of strokes it should take to reach the green and sink the putt. The calculation also considers the number of strokes needed to reach the green, which is typically two fewer than the hole’s par value. For example, for a par-4 hole, it’s assumed you’ll reach the green in two strokes and take two putts to complete the hole.

What is the Typical Par for an 18-Hole Course?

The typical par for an 18-hole golf course ranges from 70 to 75, with 72 being the most common. Courses are designed with a mix of par 3, par 4, and par 5 holes to challenge golfers and provide variety.

Tip: Always check the scorecard before teeing off to familiarize yourself with the course’s par. It’s an essential part of your course management strategy.

Types of Golf Holes and Their Par Values

What is a Par 3 Hole?

A Par 3 hole is a short hole where achieving the green in one stroke is feasible. These holes usually require fewer strokes, making them ideal opportunities for birdies or even hole-in-ones. However, don’t underestimate them; they often feature tricky greens and hazards.

What is a Par 4 Hole?

A Par 4 hole is of moderate length and usually requires two good shots to reach the green. The strategy often involves a long drive off the tee followed by an approach shot to the green. Par 4s make up the majority of holes on most courses and are crucial for a good round.

What is a Par 5 Hole?

A Par 5 hole is the longest type of hole, usually requiring at least three well-executed shots to reach the green. These are the holes where birdies and eagles are most likely but also where the risk of a bogey or worse is significant.

Key Takeaway: Knowing the types of holes and their par values can significantly improve your game strategy.

How Does Par Vary by Course?

How Does Course Length Affect Par?

The length of a golf course directly influences its overall par. Longer courses tend to have a higher par, often featuring more par 4 and par 5 holes. Conversely, shorter courses may have more par 3 holes, resulting in a lower overall par.

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How Does Course Difficulty Impact Par?

The difficulty of a course, determined by its layout and hazards, can also affect its par. More challenging courses may have higher pars to account for the extra strokes players are likely to need.

How Does Terrain Influence Par?

The type of terrain impacts the par of a course. Hilly terrains with lots of hazards will generally have a higher par compared to flat courses with fewer obstacles.

Tip: Always consider the course’s length, difficulty, and terrain when planning your strategy. It’s crucial for effective course management.

Scoring in Relation to Par

What Does Scoring Under Par Mean?

Scoring under par means you’ve completed the round in fewer strokes than the course’s par. Terms like birdies (one under par) and eagles (two under par) are used to describe such achievements.

What Does Scoring Over Par Mean?

Scoring over par means you’ve taken more strokes than the course’s par to complete the round. In this case, you’ll hear terms like bogeys (one over par) and double bogeys (two over par).

What Does Scoring Even Par Mean?

Scoring even par means you’ve completed the round in exactly the same number of strokes as the course’s par. It’s a respectable score and a sign of consistent play.

Key Takeaway: Understanding these scoring terms in relation to par can help you set realistic goals and track your progress.

Tips to Improve Your Score on a Par 72 Course

To improve your score on a par 72 course, focus on your short game, avoid penalties, and manage the course effectively. Practicing your putting and chipping can save you several strokes. Also, knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe can make a significant difference.

What is a Perfect Round of Golf?

A perfect round of golf is scoring 18 holes-in-one, resulting in a score of 18. While this is theoretically possible, it has never been achieved. The lowest recorded score is 55, achieved by Rhein Gibson in 2012.

Tip: While a perfect round may be out of reach, setting achievable goals like breaking 100 or 90 can keep you motivated.

FAQs About What is Par in Golf for 18 Holes

What is typically par for 18 holes?

The typical par for an 18-hole golf course ranges from 70 to 75, with 72 being the most common.

What does par-72 mean in golf?

A par-72 course means that a scratch golfer is expected to complete the course in 72 strokes.

How many strokes is a par?

Par is the number of strokes a scratch golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or course. It varies from hole to hole and course to course.

What does par 70 mean in golf?

A par-70 course means that it’s expected to be completed in 70 strokes by a scratch golfer.


In summary, what is par in golf for 18 holes is a standard that serves as a benchmark for golfers of all skill levels. It varies from course to course but typically ranges between 70 and 75 for an 18-hole course. Understanding par and how it’s calculated can significantly improve your game and help you set realistic goals. So the next time you’re on the course, use this knowledge to your advantage and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself scoring under par.

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Mark Crossfield is a UK-based golf coach, author, and YouTuber. He simplifies complex concepts, emphasizes understanding fundamentals, and has authored several golf books. Mark has helped golfers worldwide improve their game through his coaching, online content, and contributions to magazines and TV programs.
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