USGA Handicap System (pre-2020): Par has little significance because a Course Handicap™ represents the number of strokes a player receives in order to play down to the Course Rating™ of the tees being played – not par.
Rule Change for 2020: Par will have an important role within the World Handicap System™, requiring par values to be more precise. Golf courses fall within the jurisdiction of the Authorized Golf Association, who has the final determination of par based on the following guidelines:
|3||Up to 260 yards||Up to 220 yards|
|4||240 to 490 yards||200 to 420 yards|
|5||450 to 710 yards||370 to 600 yards|
|6||670 yards and up||570 yards and up|
- When determining par, the Authorized Golf Association will also consider how the hole is designed to be played and effective playing length factors such as elevation, doglegs and forced lay-ups.
- For example, if an uphill hole falls within the par 5 yardage guidelines for men from all tees except the most forward set, which is 435 yards, that hole may also be designated as a par 5 from the forward tees.
Reasons for Change:
- The Course Handicap calculation will include a Course Rating minus par adjustment, which will enable a Course Handicap to represent the number of strokes a player receives to play down to the par of the tees being played.
- As a result, as long as players are competing from tees with the same pars, no additional adjustment is needed.
- If players are competing from tees with different pars, the player(s) competing from the tees with higher par must add the difference in par to their Course Handicap.
- The maximum hole score for handicap purposes will be a “net double bogey,” equal to Par + 2 + any handicap strokes the player receives. For this adjustment to be accurate, par values must be correct.
- When a player does not play a hole, “net par” must be recorded as their score for the hole. Net par is equal to par + any handicap strokes the player receives.