Par (golf scoring format)

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Plaque of the 15th hole of Grand Cypress New Course, Orlando, Florida, USA
This article is about the scoring system "Par", that is commonly used in Australian club golf as an alternative to Stableford and normal stroke play. The Par (score) page provides a general definition of par on a golf hole.

Par is a scoring system used mostly in amateur and club golf. It involves scoring (+, 0, -) based on results at each hole. The objective is to have an end score with more pluses than minuses. The result on each hole is always based on one's handicap-adjusted score.

For ease of explanation, assume a player's handicap gives him/her one stroke per hole (i.e., 9 hole handicap of 9). This player, playing to his/her handicap on a given day, will average a bogey on each hole. Playing 'to' one's handicap is expected and so there is no reward or punishment due when a bogey 5 is recorded on a par 4. Thus, a 0 (zero) is recorded. A double-bogey 6 (one over what's expected from a player on a 9 handicap, would incur a penalty of a minus '-'. A 4 (a genuine, unadjusted par) is one better than a '9-handicapper' would be expected to score and would earn a plus '+'. However, for this golfer, 6s and above still incur just one minus '-'. Likewise, 4s and below earn just one plus '+'. At the end of the round, plusses and minuses are reconciled (a minus cancels out a plus). If a player finishes with two plusses, s/he is 'two up' or 'plus 2' (+2). The opposite applies if s/he finishes with two minuses - 'two down'; 'minus 2'; '-2'.

The Par format's main disadvantage is that there is no reward for a handicap-adjusted eagle (or even better).