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I am pretty new to the sport and was wondering if there is to determine what a par is for a hole. Does it go by the length?

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As you...I am fairly new to disc golf as well. Under two years. Although there are PDGA determinations as to what par should be as far as length (3, 4, 5)...I feel par is a great big gray area. At least here in my area of Michigan. Before World's '08...the courses in and around my town were all par 3. When Worlds '08 started...some of the holes were changed to par 4. After World's '08 the pars went back to 3's. Well...what happened? The excuse is...when the scores are tabulated at the end of the day...the total is what matters. Plus...I don't think course developers want to go through the headaches of determining what par is according to length. So...they just used a standard 3 strokes for par on all holes regardless of length. I hope this is one answer your looking for, for your discussion.
When in lack of a stated par it is assumed or the default is 3 for everything.
We have had this discussion for years at Hudson Mills as the Monster hole 14 is 1050 from the PRO and 650 from the AM that is a long par for either Tee. We have on occasion used the par as 4 or 5 for this hole. The real reason the par matters is this.

If Par is 3 and you miss the hole due to lateness you went to the wrong hole etc. your score is Par + 4 for that hole a 7 in this case. Now if you start with the Monster hole as a par 5 the penalty becomes a 9 on your score card for that hole.
No offense to any ladies or people like me with really weak arm strength but hole 14 being a 3 is unfair. if i or somebody else misses that hole i just carded a 7. which i occasionally shoot on that hole i range from 4 - 6 normally but take a lady playing from the AM tees is she likely to get a 7 or less? Maybe but by making the Par 5, the penalty makes it a 9 much fairer to the field, or that division.
Sorry I know that is a little of subject, but i felt sort of related.
At worlds the PDGA probably determined Par for the courses not Larry or Kaces.
800. Definitions
Par: As determined by the director, the score an expert disc golfer would be expected to make on a given hole. Par means errorless play under ordinary weather conditions, allowing two close range throws to hole-out.

So the (tournament/course) director has the say using these guidlines.
An "expert" golfer would be a 1000 rated player. On a relatively open hole par four starts at about 600 feet. Par 5 at 900'.
To muddle things a bit however, there is a recognition of tees being progressively more dificult for players who are progressively more skillful. The 1000 rated tee is a Gold tee. Blue for 950 rated players. White = 900, Red = 850, green = 800, and purple = 750. These guidelines are relatively new and rarely followed.
So, on a relatively open hole, a par 4 starts at 475 for a blue tee, or 400 for a white tee, 350 for red.
A gold player on that par 4 red tee is really playing a par 3 hole for that players skill level.

So what's with "everything is a par three"??
It is the lazy disc golfer easy way to keep track of my score!
Let there be no confusion, there is currently NO standard or official way to determine par on a disc golf course. There are suggestions, there are traditions, but there no official universal "par" designations in disc golf. Par is typically determined by the course designer or by a tournament TD or, in the case of Worlds (I guess), it's some PDGA committee.

The idea that everything is a par 3 is not really par in the literal sense, it's just a math trick. It's an easy way to count and add up scores...most of the time it has little to no bearing on the actual difficulty or ease of the course. Like William points out, sometimes calling a hole a "par 3" is totally inappropriate. Not just because it is wholly unrealistic as an "average" score, but it raises issues in rules application as well.

I think the mentality that all holes are "par 3" is something that holds our sport back in some ways. I know many players who scoff at true par 4s and par 5s as "ridiculous" and "stupid" and even "unfair" because they can't "get a birdie". I've come across many beginners who get discouraged on those longer holes because they're told the "par" is 3 and it seems impossible. If the best possible score on a hole is a 3, then 3 should not be "par". It probably should be considered a par 4 or 5. But it rarely ever is because we're conditioned to treat them all as par 3s.

So I say determine your own pars if the course doesn't have actual pars posted. If it takes you two good throws to get to the green, then dammit, that's a par four. :)
Reply by JC 3 hours ago
"there is currently NO standard or official way to determine par on a disc golf course."

JC, to me it is both "official and standard" when the rulebook says "Par: As determined by the director, the score an expert disc golfer would be expected to make on a given hole. Par means errorless play under ordinary weather conditions, allowing two close range throws to hole-out." We know how far 1000 rated players throw on average. Are you saying they are not the expert players mentioned? We also know how long the average "close range throw" is for a scratch player. This is not the same thing as a putt, which is defined as less than 10 meters. Because of this I also disagree when you say "If it takes you two good throws to get to the green, then dammit, that's a par four." I wouuld revise that to say "If it takes you two good throws to get to close range, then that's a par four." While there is some wiggle in these standards, they are clear enough to determine the appropriate par without argument most of the time. They are indeed standards, and they are official.
I definitely agree with what you say about calling par 4's and 5's what they really are. There are also par 2's which should be called what they are. These are holes where the tee is already within "close range".
First though, we have to acknowledge the designed skill level of the tees. Yesterday I played a fun 9 hole course where every hole was a true par 3 - for a red level (850 rating) player (like me :)). But for the 980 player who was there, they were all par 2's. Too bad for him, pretty hard to birdie, while I managed several.
My point again - We do have standards. They are becoming better understood and more agreed upon all the time. And as you say JC our sport would do well to quit ignoring them.
We need to use the color designation for the tee's level of difficulty, and assign real pars accordingly.
I agree with Tick on this...I believe that's how it's determined on a Ball course...what an scratch golfer would average under ideal conditions. In Disc Golf a 1000 rated player is basiclly a scratch golfer.

With todays Disc technology....a par four would start about 600 feet, a five at 900+. Depending on terrain, prevailing wind, proximity of hazards...those numbers could vary. Ulitimately, it comes down to what a scratch golfer would average for any given hole.

Back in the 80's Tom Monroe wrote a course design standard summary...then It was...under 400 was a 3, under 500 a 4, over 500 a par 5....or something along those lines.

Call it laziness, a math trick, whatever...bottom line it is low score. However, In the case where late penalties are a factor...then I would agree it is important to have a pre-determined par.


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