Depiction of the 97-159 yard par 3, 4th hole at Bridges Golf Course
In a previous post I talked about how high handicap golfers tend to score better (relative to par) on par 3 holes as compared to par 4’s and par 5’s, and how the opposite is true for scratch and low handicap golfers who score better (relative to par) on par 4’s and par 5’s.
There are several reasons for this:
1) The shorter the par 3 the easier it is to score well.
2) Most high handicap golfers tend to play off the forward tees which means that for them most par 3’s are in the range of 150 yards or less. Many scratch or low handicap players will play off the longer tees with an average distance closer to the 190 yard range.
Let me provide a number of examples for average distances of par 3 holes off various tees at two local courses:
Bridges Golf Course, Starbuck, MB
White tees 133 yards
Blue tees 153 yards
Black tees 178 yards
Southwood Golf and Country Club, Winnipeg, MB
White tees 152 yards
Blue tees 175 yards
Black tees 197 yards
So on par 3 holes high handicappers have significantly shorter tee shots to contend with than golfers playing of the back tees.
3) In many sports there is no substitute for speed. In golf there is no substitute for distance. Generally speaking, low handicap golfers hit the ball further than high handicap players and in many cases are also more accurate. Low handicap players, even though they may play off the longer tees, tend to have shorter approach shots into the green than high handicap players on par 4’s and especially par 5’s.
This disparity in distance off the tee means that for many high handicap golfers their approach shots on par 4’s and par 5’s are longer than their normal tee shot on par 3’s, whereas for low handicap players their approach shots on par 4’s and par 5’s are shorter than their typical tee shot on par 3’s. In some cases par 5’s become two shot holes for the scratch player which further promotes lower scores.
The long and the short of it (pun intended) is that low handicap golfers because of their additional length and accuracy have the ability to turn their approach shots on par 4’s and par 5’s into short par 3’s.
The shorter the “par 3” the lower the score.