Are All Golf Courses Par 72

The game of golf, with its picturesque fairways and meticulously manicured greens, has captivated enthusiasts for centuries. A key feature of golf courses is their par, which refers to the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete the course. Many people believe that all golf courses are designed with a par 72, but is this really the case? Let’s explore the world of golf course design and debunk this common myth.

The Origin of Par

Par, as a term, emerged in the late 19th century to provide a standard by which golfers could gauge their performance. Over time, it has evolved into a critical aspect of golf course architecture, providing course designers with a framework for shaping the challenges and rewards of each hole.

Par 72 Courses: The Classic Design

While many golf courses adhere to the par 72 standard, this is by no means a rule. A par 72 course typically consists of four par-3, ten par-4, and four par-5 holes. This configuration offers a balanced mix of short, medium, and long holes, providing an engaging experience for golfers of all skill levels. The par 72 layout has become popular due to its versatility and the fact that it accommodates various landscapes and course designs.

Variations in Golf Course Pars

In reality, golf courses can feature a wide range of pars. Some examples include:

  1. Par 70 courses: These courses usually have two fewer par-5 holes compared to a par 72 course. Par 70 layouts often challenge golfers with more demanding par-4 holes, which require precision and strategic play.
  2. Par 71 courses: A par 71 course will generally have one less par-5 hole than a par 72 course. This design is often found in courses that are built on limited land or terrain that cannot accommodate the longer par-5 holes.
  3. Executive courses: These shorter courses are designed for quicker rounds and often have pars ranging from 54 to 65. Executive courses typically consist of more par-3 holes, making them ideal for beginners or golfers with time constraints.
  4. Par-3 courses: These courses are composed entirely of par-3 holes, offering an ideal setting for practicing short game skills and providing a fun, accessible experience for golfers of all abilities.

Factors Influencing Golf Course Par

The par of a golf course is influenced by several factors, such as:

  1. Land availability: The size and shape of the available land can dictate the course’s overall par, as some terrains may not accommodate the longer holes found in par 72 designs.
  2. Course design philosophy: Some architects may intentionally design a course with a specific par in mind to create a unique challenge or cater to a particular skill level.
  3. Environmental considerations: In some cases, environmental concerns or regulations may restrict the development of certain types of holes, leading to alternative course par configurations.

Top 10 Golf Courses with Par 72

RankCourse NameLocationTotal YardageCourse Rating
1Augusta NationalAugusta, Georgia, USA7,475 yards76.9
2Pebble BeachPebble Beach, CA, USA7,075 yards75.5
3St Andrews Old CourseFife, Scotland7,279 yards74.6
4Oakmont Country ClubOakmont, PA, USA7,255 yards77.5
5Pinehurst No. 2Pinehurst, NC, USA7,565 yards76.2
6Torrey PinesLa Jolla, CA, USA7,258 yards78.1
7MuirfieldGullane, Scotland7,245 yards74.4
8Royal MelbourneMelbourne, Australia7,078 yards74.3
9Shinnecock HillsSouthampton, NY, USA7,445 yards76.8
10Winged FootMamaroneck, NY, USA7,477 yards76.7

Types of Golf Courses with Par 72

Course TypeNumber of HolesExample CourseTypical Yardage RangeDifficulty Level
Parkland18Augusta National6,500-7,500 yardsModerate-Hard
Links18St Andrews Old Course6,800-7,400 yardsHard
Desert18TPC Scottsdale6,500-7,300 yardsModerate-Hard
Mountain18Bighorn Golf Club6,200-7,200 yardsModerate-Hard
Coastal18Pebble Beach6,700-7,200 yardsHard

Popular Golf Tournaments Played on Par 72 Courses

Tournament NameHosting CourseLocationMonth HeldWinning Score
The MastersAugusta NationalAugusta, Georgia, USAApril-20
U.S. OpenRotatingUnited StatesJune-13
The Open ChampionshipRotatingUnited KingdomJuly-15
PGA ChampionshipRotatingUnited StatesMay-18
The Players ChampionshipTPC SawgrassPonte Vedra Beach, FLMarch-16

Common Par Breakdown for Par 72 Courses

Total ParsPar 3 HolesPar 4 HolesPar 5 HolesCommon Variation
724104Standard Par 72
724122Par 72 with fewer Par 5s
72684Par 72 with more Par 3s
72495Par 72 with extra Par 5
725103Par 72 with extra Par 3 and fewer Par 5s

Average Hole Yardage for Par 72 Courses

Hole TypeProfessional CoursesChampionship CoursesResort CoursesMunicipal Courses
Par 3200-235 yards175-215 yards150-200 yards125-175 yards
Par 4420-480 yards380-450 yards350-400 yards320-370 yards
Par 5550-600 yards515-580 yards490-550 yards450-520 yards


The belief that all golf courses have a par of 72 is a misconception. Golf course designers consider various factors, such as land availability, design philosophy, and environmental constraints when determining the appropriate par for a course. As a result, golf courses come in a wide range of pars, offering a diverse and enriching experience for players. Whether it’s a classic par 72, a challenging par 70, or a beginner-friendly par-3 course, there’s a golf course out there for every player to enjoy.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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