The Relevance of Par Changing Conditions

The numbers on your scorecard don’t know what the weather is like when you put your tee in the ground on the first hole. That might be an obvious point, but it is another important key to think about when discussing the relevance of par. Due to the ever-changing conditions that are part of the game of golf, you can never assume that a hole is going to play the same way each day. In fact, the way golf holes play changes frequently, based on factors like wind, rain, turf conditions, and more.

Again here, the best we can do is offer an example to illustrate this point. Let’s imagine that the first hole at your local course is a 400-yard par four. You are going to play rounds on that course both days over the weekend, teeing off Saturday afternoon and then again Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon, the wind is coming out of the south, blowing directly from tee to green. In addition, the temperatures are warm, allowing your ball to carry easily. With the combination of a helping wind and warm temperatures, you are able to launch a long drive and set up an easy approach shot.

When you return Sunday morning for your next round, things look totally different. The weather has changed, resulting in a strong breeze that is blowing out of the north, causing the hole to play directly into the wind. Also, as a result of your early tee time and the changing weather, the temperature is much lower for this second round. Right away, you can tell that your tee shot isn’t going to travel anywhere near as far as it had less than 24 hours ago. In fact, you’ll be lucky to hit your drive far enough to even have a shot at the green in two.

So, are these two experiences the same hole? Well, technically yes, but not really. On Saturday, this hole was playing as an easy par four. On Sunday, it was playing more like a par five. However, on the scorecard, nothing changed. It was always a par four, so most players would treat it the same way regardless of course conditions. You now know better. Adjusting your approach to the course based on conditions is an essential part of becoming a better player. Be flexible in the way you play the game and never force yourself to hit shots that aren’t likely to succeed.