Which Are the Hardest Scoring Holes

Par 3’s, Par 4’s or Par 5’s

Most mid to high handicap golfers will tell you that the holes they score best on are the par 3’s while they have the most difficulty on the par 4’s and par 5 respectively.

I recently looked at my 2015 scoring stats using the game tracker feature on the Golf Canada handicap score entry site.  The following are my scoring averages for the year:

Par 3’s          3.3     (+.3)

Par 4’s          4.2     (+.2)

Par 5’s          5.0     (even)

These numbers would seem to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom that par 3’s are the easiest scoring holes.

So I decided to delve a little deeper into this issue.  I looked at the scoring statistics for the 2015 Manitoba Amateur Golf Championship,    which was conducted at Bridges Golf Course and featured many of the premier golfers in Manitoba.  First I looked at the scoring average for the players who finished in the top ten for the Championship.  Their scoring results were as follows:

Par 3’s          3.12     (+.12)

Par 4’s          4.07     (+.07)

Par 5’s          4.81     (-.19)

These result tended to mirror my experience in that the lowest scores relative to par were on par 5 holes and the highest on par 3 holes.

Next I looked at the scores for the 10 players who finished last in the Championship and failed to make the cut.  Their scoring averages reflected a different pattern:

Par 3’s          3.86     (+.86)

Par 4’s          5.2       (+1.2)

Par 5’s          6.37     (+1.37)

This group indeed scored best on the par 3’s and had their highest scores (relative to par) on the par 5’s.

In a subsequent post I will examine why this variation in scoring averages on holes with different pars exists between players of  different levels of golfing proficiency.

Any thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Which Are the Hardest Scoring Holes

  1. Manny Schulz

    My handicap index at the end of year was also 3.8. Looking at my stats for year, my scoring performance was 3.4 for par 3s, 4.5 for par 4s, and 5.1 for par 5s. Although I did play some of these rounds at Wildewood on the red/ white course rating, most of my rounds during the year were played elsewhere (for example Southwood) off tees with higher course ratings. Nonetheless, your basic observation regarding par 3s versus par 5s held true for me, although I did score the worst on par 4s. I also had stats for greens in regulation (GIR), scrambling percentage and putts per round … What were your stats for these and are there general performance metrics for these measures by handicap index? Food for thought as you consider other articles. Cheers!


  2. Menno Zacharias

    I actually did not records GIR, putts etc. consistently enough during the last season to be able to put them to the test or draw any meaningful conclusions . Something for next year.


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