Golf Par

Golf Scoring Terminology – What is a Golf Par?

Additional Golf Scoring Terminology:

The term “par” in golf actually didn’t originate from the game of golf itself. Par is a term that was often used in regular English as meaning normal or average. If you’re on par, then that just means you’ve accomplished the standard that has been set. So whether you’re in a job review or playing golf, if you’re on par, you’ve lived up to the set standard or average. Granted, in golf, if you’ve just shot par, you’re far better than the average golfer. But you’ve lived up to the course’s set standard.

A golf par is the average. The golf par is set on each individual hole based upon the length of the hole primarily. This is determined by adding two strokes to the minimum number of strokes that the average golfer can reach the green on that particular hole. A golf par assumes a two putt is the average, so that when a golfer reaches a par 4 hole in two strokes with a drive and an approach shot, they’re left with being able to make two putts in order to get the ball in the hole and achieve their golf par for that hole.

Other terms you’ll here associated with golf par are “saves”. A save takes place when the golfer doesn’t land the golf ball on the green in regulation, and has to get the ball “up and down” to “save” their par. Okay so I threw in a number of different terms that are all used in relation to each other.

Green In Regulation – Landing the golf ball on the green in two less shots than the par value associated to that golf hole. As mentioned above, the golf par assumes most players need two putts to get the ball in the hole once reaching the green. So reaching the green in “regulation” means you allow yourself two putts to still achieve the golf par.

Up and Down – This term is used often in relation to the golf par, but it doesn’t have to be. It just means that you only needed to make one putt to get the ball in the hole after reaching the green. Often this term is used when golfers don’t reach the green in regulation, and have to chip the ball onto the green and then make one putt to get the ball in the hole. The chip is referred to as the “up” and the one putt is referred to as the “down”. So when you get “up and down”, you were able to chip the ball onto the green and then make the putt. The up and down term can be used for achieving any score, but often it’s used in relation to scoring a golf par.

Save – You’ve probably heard this term before used in context of “saving par”. Or maybe you’ll hear, “nice sand save”. Saving a golf par usually means that the golfer did not reach the green in regulation, and had to make an up and down to save the par. By not reaching the green in regulation, the golfer was “in trouble” and did not have the luxury of having two putts to make par. Instead, they had to chip up and make only one putt to get the ball in the hole to make their golf par. The “up and down” and the “save” are often used synonymously as they mean very similar things and are commonly used together in context.

Depending on the situation on a particular hole, a “save” or an “up and down” don’t have to be used in relation to scoring a par. Often times getting “up and down” to “save” a bogey or a double bogey is a good score considering the situation. If a golfer has hit a ball out of bounds or into the water, bogey or double bogey may be the best outcome at that stage of the golf hole.

Every stroke counts in golf. A 300 yard drive and a 1 foot putt count just the same on the scorecard, so saving as many strokes as possible is the name of the game. Within that game, achieving a golf score closest to par is the next goal. Par wasn’t originally used as the official golf scoring term for the “standard” in golf until 1911. Prior to that, in Scotland, bogey was actually the term used instead of par.

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