What is Par Golf and how do you play it? Here's what you need to know about this fun golf format

Par Golf is a fun scoring format which combines elements of stroke play and match play competition.

The concept of Par Golf is to play against the course, trying to better the score of par on many holes as possible.

How to play Par Golf

Par Golf involves playing match play against the course using stroke play rules.

On each hole, a player tries to beat the score of par to win the hole and go up +1 in the match. If a player makes a par, they halve the hole and the score does not change. But if a player makes a bogey or worse, they lose the hole and go down -1 in the match.

In par competitions, the aim is to therefore better the score of par on as many holes as possible. That means unlike in match play, competitions are played right up until the final hole, keeping games fun and exciting for all players.

At the end of the round, the number of holes won is subtracted by the number of holes lost to give a final score and determine the winner.

Playing with handicaps

Like in Stableford format, points are adjusted based on a player’s handicap and the stroke index of each hole.

For example, if a player is given a shot on a par-3, a score of 3 or lower would win the hole for them. A score of 4 would then halve the hole, whilst a 5 or worse would lose them the hole.

The fairness of a Stableford is therefore kept in par competitions, whilst the occasional horror hole is does not affect the scorecard too much. This also helps speed up play, as balls can simply be picked up once a player realises a hole will be lost.

Unlike is Stableford, however, the high rewards for making an eagle or better is lost in par golf, as all scores bettering a par count the same. On the flip side, this helps maintain a fairly even playing field, as the odd 4/5 pointer seen in Stableford golf does not come into play.

Another variation of par golf is bogey golf. These games follow virtually the same format, the only difference being that golfers play against the bogey on each hole instead. This means bogey competitions are slightly easier than par competitions, favouring the higher handicapper who is likely to score more bogeys than pars.

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