Important Golf Concepts


    This is the simplest and most accurate description there is of some of the most important concepts in the game of golf.    I hope these explanations are useful to anyone interested in the sport, whether you are just starting out or have been a lifetime golfer.  If something isn't explained well enough and you'd like to know more, feel free to e-mail me at bmk267@nyu.edu.

Golf Course Picture

Understanding "Par"
 
    There are three different types of holes on a regulation golf course.  Each hole is assigned a score known as "par".  "Par" is basically the ideal score on a hole.  A regulation golf course consists of "par 3", "par 4", and "par 5" holes.  If you get your ball in the hole in 3 shots on a "par 3" hole, you made par.  Scoring a 5 on a "par 5" hole is also a par.  Par for a hole is usually determined by length.  Par 3's are going to be the shortest holes, par 4's the medium holes, and par 5's the long holes.  Par is higher or lower depending on how far the green is from the tee and other possible obstacles that could make reaching the green difficult.  

    Scoring 1 stroke higher than par is known as a "bogey".  An example of a bogey is a score of 5 on a par 4.  Scoring 2 strokes higher than par is known as a "double bogey", such as a 7 on a par 5.  Three strokes higher than par is called a "triple bogey" and four strokes higher than par is called a "quadruple bogey".  Any score more than 4 strokes over par on a hole doesn't have any golf term to match it and is just referred to by its number.

    Now that we've talked about scoring over par, lets discuss what it means to score under par.  Scoring 1 stroke less than par on a hole is called a "birdie", such as a 2 on a par 3.  Scoring 2 strokes below par on a hole is called an "eagle", such as a 3 on a par 5.  Three strokes below par is called a "double eagle" or "albatross", such as a 2 on a par 5.  These are the three designations for scores less than par on a hole.

    All of the pars, birdies, eagles, double eagles, bogeys, double bogeys, triple bogeys and so on are combined to come up with an overall score in relation to par.  This is how leaderboards in PGA Tour events work.  If the golfer makes par on every hole, he is said to be "even par".  However, if he makes 9 birdies and 9 bogeys he is also said to be "even par".  5 birdies and 13 pars would result in a score of "-5" or "5 under".  5 bogeys and 13 pars would result in a score of "+5" or "5 over".  8 bogeys, 6 pars, and 4 birdies would result in a score of "+4" or "4 over".  2 eagles and 16 pars would be "-4" or "4 under" because each eagle is 2 less than par.  Double bogeys are each 2 more than par.  When looking at a PGA Tour leaderboard, one can see all of these number designations next to the players names indicating how they are scoring relative to par.  The lower the number, the better.  Under par numbers are always written in red, while even par or over is usually displayed in black or green.

For an explanation of the most important statistics in golf, click the link below:

Statistics

For an explanation of golf clubs, how they are numbered, and what the numbers mean, click the link below:

The Basics Of Golf Clubs




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