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Par

Feb 8th, 2012

A hole is classified by its par, meaning the number of strokes a skilled golfer should require to complete play of the hole.[13] For example, a skilled golfer expects to reach the green on a par-4 hole in two strokes: one from the tee (the 'drive') and another, second, stroke to the green (the 'approach'); and then roll the ball into the hole in two putts for par. This would be termed a 'green in regulation' (GIR). A hole is either a par-3, −4 or −5. Par-6 holes are extremely rare.[23]

The key factor for classifying the par of a hole is the distance from the tee to the green. A typical par-3 hole is less than 250 yards (225 m) in length, with a par-4 hole ranging between 251 and 475 yards (225–434 m), and a par-5 hole being longer than 475 yards (435 m). The rare par-6s can stretch well over 650 yards (595 m).

The gradient of the hole can also affect its par. If the tee-to-green distance on a hole is predominantly downhill, it will play shorter than its physical length and may be given a lower par; the opposite is true for uphill holes. Par ratings are also affected by factors such as the placement of hazards or the shape of the green, which can affect the play of a hole by requiring an extra stroke to avoid playing into hazards.[24]

Eighteen-hole courses may typically comprise four par-3, ten par-4, and four par-5 holes, though other combinations exist and are not less worthy than courses of par-72. Many major championships are contested on courses playing to a par of 70, 71, or 72. Additionally, in some countries, courses are classified according to their play difficulty, which may be used to calculate a golfer's playing handicap for a given course.[25]