What is 4 under par called?

In the game of golf, par represents the number of strokes that a skilled golfer is expected to take in order to complete a given hole. Par is set by the course or tournament committee and varies depending on the difficulty of the hole. For professional tournaments, par for each hole is typically set between 3 and 5 strokes. The par for an entire course is the sum of the par figures for each of its holes.

Scoring in relation to par is used to evaluate a golfer’s performance on a given hole or course. If a golfer completes a hole using fewer strokes than par, they achieve a score under par for that hole. Some common scoring terms in relation to par are:


A birdie is a score that is one stroke under par. For example, completing a par 4 hole in 3 strokes would be considered a birdie. Birdies demonstrate good execution and are considered positive scores.


An eagle is a score that is two strokes under par. For example, completing a par 5 hole in 3 strokes would be an eagle. Eagles demonstrate exceptional play on a given hole.

Double Eagle

A double eagle, also known as an albatross, is a score that is three strokes under par. For example, completing a par 5 hole in 2 strokes would be a double eagle. Double eagles are rare and demonstrate outstanding play.

Hole in One

A hole in one occurs when a player completes a par 3 hole in just one stroke. This is the best score possible on a par 3 and extremely rare for amateur golfers.


A bogey is a score that is one stroke over par. For example, completing a par 4 hole in 5 strokes would be a bogey. Bogeys are considered negative scores.

Double Bogey

A double bogey is a score that is two strokes over par. For example, completing a par 4 hole in 6 strokes would be a double bogey. Double bogeys demonstrate poorer than expected play on a hole.

Triple Bogey

A triple bogey is a score that is three strokes over par. For example, completing a par 4 hole in 7 strokes would be a triple bogey. Triple bogeys demonstrate significantly below average performance.


So in summary, a score of 4 under par would be called an eagle. Eagles demonstrate exceptional skill and performance on a given hole. While birdies are more common, eagles are rare and noteworthy achievements in a golf round or tournament.

Scoring Terminology Table

Scoring Term Definition
Hole in One Completing a par 3 hole in 1 stroke
Double Eagle 3 strokes under par
Eagle 2 strokes under par
Birdie 1 stroke under par
Par Expected number of strokes for the hole
Bogey 1 stroke over par
Double Bogey 2 strokes over par
Triple Bogey 3 strokes over par

This table summarizes common golf scoring terminology in relation to par. It provides the definitions for positive scores under par such as eagles and birdies, as well as negative over par scores like bogeys and double bogeys.

Importance of Par in Golf

Par serves several important functions in the game of golf:

  • Par provides a benchmark for evaluating player performance. Scoring relative to par allows players to assess how well they are playing on a given course or hole.
  • Par helps standardize difficulty across different courses. While the actual par values may differ, par provides a consistent point of comparison.
  • Par influences golf strategy. Players may adjust their decisions based on what score is needed relative to par on a hole.
  • Par affects golf handicaps and stats. Scoring averages and handicaps are calculated using par as a reference point.
  • Par sets expectations for good play. Lower scores compared to par are perceived as good while higher scores are seen as weaker play.

Because of these roles, par is a fundamental element of the game of golf and scoring. Understanding par allows players to evaluate their performance, strategize their play, and measure progression in the sport.

Setting the Par for a Golf Hole

When designing a golf course, determining the appropriate par for each hole is a key decision. Here are some factors that influence par values:

  • Hole length – Longer holes often have higher par values as they require more shots to reach the green.
  • Terrain – Holes with greater obstacles like water hazards or sand traps may have higher par.
  • Green complexity – Greens with more tiers or undulations can increase par.
  • Doglegs – Holes that bend left or right require more strategy and may up the par.
  • Elevation changes – Dramatic uphill or downhill slopes can extend hole length.
  • Wind exposure – Holes exposed to stronger winds may necessitate an extra shot.

Course designers analyze these elements carefully to designate an appropriate par value for each hole. This par number then becomes the benchmark that players use to measure performance on that hole.

History of Par in Golf

While par is now an integral part of golf, the term was not always a part of the game’s scoring system. Here are some key points in the history and evolution of par in golf:

  • Early Scottish courses in the 15th century had natural par values based solely on hole length and difficulty.
  • The term “par” itself originates from the Latin phrase “par oultrum nothis” meaning equal or level.
  • In 1898, par was formalized by the Ladies Golf Union for its tournaments, marking the first par standardization.
  • The United States Golf Association followed by implementing par for scoring in 1911.
  • Originally par values were set based on hole length only, but evolved to factor in other elements.
  • Par started as a way to standardize amateur scoring, then expanded to professional tournaments.
  • As golf course architecture advanced, par setting became more strategic to balance challenge.
  • Par values have gradually decreased over time, leading to lower scoring averages.

While early golf relied on natural par, formal par values enabled standardized records, fair handicapping, and consistent measurement of player skills.

Famous Courses and Their Par Values

Many famous golf courses around the world have iconic par values that offer a mix of challenge, enjoyment, and natural beauty:

Augusta National Golf Club

  • Known for hosting The Masters tournament annually
  • Located in Augusta, Georgia, USA
  • Par 72 over 7,475 yards
  • Famous holes: Par 3 12th, Par 5 13th, Par 4 17th

Old Course at St Andrews Links

  • Oldest golf course in the world founded in 1552
  • Located in Fife, Scotland
  • Par 72 over 6,721 yards
  • Famous holes: Par 4 “Road Hole” 17th, Par 3 11th over the Eden Estuary

Pebble Beach Golf Links

  • Known for beautiful ocean cliffside holes
  • Located in Pebble Beach, California, USA
  • Par 72 over 6,828 yards
  • Famous holes: Par 5 18th hugging the Pacific Ocean

These iconic courses demonstrate how par values along with layout, terrain, history, and scenery all blend together to create a unique golf experience.

Lowest Par Values on Golf Holes

While most golf holes have par values between 3 and 5, there are some holes around the world with extremely low par numbers of 1 or 2. Here are a few examples:

  • Par 1: The 12th hole at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, Georgia.
  • Par 2: The 7th hole at Trump International Golf Club in Dubai, UAE.
  • Par 2: The 8th hole at Coeur D’Alene Resort Golf Course, Idaho.
  • Par 2: The 4th hole at Bootleg Gap Golf Course, Montana.

These diminutive par holes offer golfers a chance to swing for a birdie or eagle with just one or two good shots. The short lengths combined with the pressure of low par tends to create excitement and drama.

Highest Par Values on Golf Holes

Conversely, some long and difficult golf holes around the world have extremely high par numbers of 6 or more. A few examples include:

  • Par 6: The 3rd hole at Satsuki Golf Course, Sano, Japan.
  • Par 6: The 8th hole at Utrecht De Pan, Netherlands.
  • Par 7: The 7th hole at Matsuyama Kurasi Kokusai Golf Club, Japan.
  • Par 7: The 4th hole at Kaeng Krachan Country Golf, Bangkok, Thailand.

These marathon holes represent major challenges even for professional golfers to reach the green and putt out in the designated par strokes. Just scoring bogey on one of these holes is an accomplishment.

Adjusting Par for Handicapping

To enable players of different skill levels to compete fairly, golf incorporates a handicap system. Handicaps account for individual golfer ability and adjust par scoring to level the playing field.

The handicap system works by determining a golfer’s potential scoring ability from past rounds. Higher handicaps are given to less consistent players, while lower handicaps go to more skilled players. The difference between a golfer’s handicap and the course par provides their adjusted par value for scoring.

For example, a 10 handicap golfer on a par 72 course would have an adjusted par of 82. Their net birdies, pars, and bogeys would be counted relative to the handicap adjusted par rather than the course par. This allows players of any skill level to meaningfully compete in a tournament or game.

Common Par Values for Different Distances

While par on each golf hole is determined by the unique features and design of that hole, certain par values are commonly used based on the total hole length. Some typical par values for different yardages are:

Hole Length Common Par Value
150 yards or less Par 3
Between 150-470 yards Par 4
Between 470-690 yards Par 5
Over 690 yards Par 6 or higher

These ranges demonstrate how par values typically correlate with overall yardage. However, factors like terrain can still affect par, so these are general guidelines.

Differences Between Professional and Amateur Par

Professional golf tournaments will sometimes use lower par values compared to what everyday amateur golfers would face on the same course. This occurs because pros hit the ball farther and play more skillfully than casual players. Some key differences include:

  • Professionals par for a hole could be 1 less stroke (e.g. par 4 instead of 5).
  • Elite male pros may see par adjusted by 2-3 strokes.
  • Forward tees for amateurs make courses play longer.
  • Difficult pin placements are used in tournaments more than casual play.
  • Extra hazards like deeper rough are added for tournaments.
  • Faster, firmer greens happen in tournaments versus normal play.

These factors make the same course play substantially easier for amateurs than tour professionals. Adjusting par between the levels helps account for the performance gap.

Scoring Average vs. Par

On a given course, par represents the expected number of strokes to complete the hole. Scoring average shows the actual number of strokes most golfers took. Comparing average to par offers insight into course and player difficulty:

  • Scoring average lower than par indicates easier than expected play.
  • Scoring average equaling par means typical play matched expectations.
  • Scoring average exceeding par points to challenging course and/or poor execution.

PGA Tour pros have a scoring average of around 70 for 72 par courses, demonstrating their high skill level. Amateurs may exceed par by 10 or more strokes indicating room for improvement.

How Par Relates to Golf Course and Player Ratings

Par also factors into metrics like course rating and player handicaps. Specifically:

  • Course rating evaluates difficulty based on par. A higher rating means scoring lower than par is harder.
  • Slope rating indicates challenge for bogey golfers based on par. Higher slopes equate to tougher for amateurs.
  • Player handicaps derive from ability to score relative to par. Better players have lower handicaps.

By integrating par into these measurement systems, golf provides structured ways to compare course and player performance. Par offers the foundation for these useful ratings.

Changes in Par Over Time

Golf courses have generally seen their par values decrease over the decades. Some reasons why par has declined include:

  • Golfers hit the ball farther requiring less shots to reach greens.
  • Golf club and ball technology have improved distances.
  • Course conditioning and maintenance enables more roll and speed.
  • Greens have become larger on average to accommodate approach shots.
  • Tee boxes have expanded to lengthen or shorten holes as needed.

These changes have allowed architects and designers to strategically reduce par values. Modern par settings enhance the enjoyment, challenge, and flow of the game for all players.

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