Traditional golf courses are comprised of 3 main types of holes. Par 3s are the short holes that test a player’s ability to hit accurate iron shots. A Par 4 is the staple of a golf course as it challenges golfers in every aspect of their game. Par 5s are the longest of the par designations which test a player’s strength and strategy.
These three types of distinct hole designs are integral to the game. They provide variety on the course and challenge a golfer’s ability in their own way. However, what is stopping courses from deviating from this concept? Why aren’t there other holes with varying lengths and par value? In the article below, we are going to dig into the characters of a par 6 hole, why they are uncommon, and if they are found in professional course play.
What Does Par Designation Stand For In Golf?
The first step in understanding how courses designate a hole’s par status is to understand par itself. The USGA defines par as “the score that an expert player would be expected to make for a given hole. Par means expert play under ordinary weather conditions, allowing two strokes on the putting green.”
Given this definition, we can understand why there are no par 2 holes. A par score always allows for 2 putts so a par 2 would be a putting contest, not an actual hole design.
Ok, so no par 2s but what about par 6 and more? Well on some courses, there actually are par 6 holes. In the article below, we are going to dig into the characters of a par 6 hole, how to play them, and if they are found in professional course play.
What Would Be The Length Of A Par 6 Hole?
Now that we know that par 6s exists, we can look to the USGA for guidance on the matter. Per the USGA, any hole with a length greater than 670 yards for men and 570 yards for women should be classified as a par 6. In contrast, par 5s have a length of 450 to 710 yards for men and 370 to 600 yards for women.
That said, it is important to note that a golf course has control over the designation of their holes. Typically, a golf committee will determine the par of a hole based on its length, course layout, and their playing demographics.
Are There Any Par 6’s On The PGA Tour?
Anyone who frequently watches professional golf on the weekends may wonder why they never see par 6s on tour. This is because the PGA does not recognize par 6 as legitimate holes. Their view is that par 6s are a novel and fun challenge on some courses but are not part of the true tradition of the game.
In fact, as golf manufactures continues to innovate technology, and PGA professional become stronger and better, longer hole may be necessary on tour without the par 6 title. The longest hitters on tour can easily drive the ball 300 yards or more. Par 5s, per the USGA parameters, are just not long enough for these big time hitters. As golf continues to evolve, we will continue to see longer and longer par 5s instead of the inclusion of par 6s.
How To Play A Par 6 Hole?
On the rare occasion that you are playing on a course that has a par 6 hole you may find yourself in uncharted waters. How do you even begin to approach a hole so long? Well for starters, stay calm and approach the hole like any other par 5.
Given the distance, you may be tempted to hit your longest clubs in the bag. That is a great approach if you are skilled with your long irons and fairway woods. If not, don’t worry. You get an extra stroke on this hole for a reason, the length. As with any other hole on the golf course, play to your strengths and be conscious of the pitfalls of the hole design. Master this and you’ll be lowering your scores in no time.
Would It Possible To Get A Hole In One On A Par 6?
One of the most ask questions about a par 6 is if it is possible to get a hole in one? Given our background that par 6s are generally 670 yards and greater in distance, it would be nearly impossible for someone to get a hole in one on a par 6 hole. That said, statistically anything is possible but there would need to be extraordinary circumstances for this to happen.
The longest recorded drive in the world is held by Mike Austin. Austin drove a ball 515 yards on a course in Las Vegas1 during a professional tournament. Knowing this, we can almost certainly say that getting a hole in one on a par 6 is virtually impossible.
That said, anything is possible given enough tries along with a little bit of luck. Balls can take large bounces, animals can move balls, among many other anomalies which could lead to a hole in one. However, the odds of this happening are slim to none. Next time you find yourself on a par 6, its safe to say a hole in one is out of the question. Just tee up, hit the ball, and have fun.
Par 6s are a rare find on the golf course and never found on tour. Golf traditionally has had the 3 main par designations, each with its own unique challenges for the golfer. Although a novel idea and a fun challenge for some, don’t expect the par 6 hole to become a standard on the golf course. Overtime, we may see holes with longer length, but almost certainly not a deviation away from pars 3, 4, and 5.
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