Scoring in Relation to Par – Key Takeaways

  • For most golfers, Par 4s yield the highest average score relative to par
  • For most golfers, Par 5s yield the lowest average score relative to par

Improved Performance Through Data

Big data is a powerful tool. Not only does it allow golfers to assess individual parts of the game, but it provides an opportunity to examine performance from a variety of perspectives.

Golf stat-tracking and performance management companies like ShotScope help golfers better understand individual on-course performance. However, by aggregating data from golfers across the world, we get a more complete picture of the realities of amateur performance.

So, as we dive into a relatively straightforward topic, take a moment and think about where you find the most difficulty on the course. Does par make a difference in how you approach a hole?

Par 5 Scoring Average by Handicap

A chart showing Shot Scope Par 5 scoring averages



  • Par 5s are statistically the easiest holes on the course across all handicaps.
  • Par 5s often give golfers the best chance to make a birdie (or better).

Par 4 Scoring Average by Handicap

A chart showing Shot Scope Par 4 scoring averages


  • Par 4s show the biggest variation between handicaps. Shot Scope’s data shows a difference of 1.24 shots between a 2 and 26 handicap.
  • Higher handicap golfers, on average, have the most ability to improve on Par 4s.
  • In 2018-19, 17 of the 20 most difficult holes on the PGA Tour were Par 4s.

Par 3 Scoring Average by Handicap

A chart showing Shot Scope par 3 scoring averages


  • Par 3s generally only require one good shot to produce a score of par (or better).
  • Par 3s provide every golfer with an opportunity for golf’s most iconic result – a hole in one!
  • Check out a more in-depth Par 3 discussion in our previous Shot Scope case study.

How Do You Compare?

Do you score better or worse than the Shot Scope database averages?

What’s your biggest takeaway? Where is there room for improvement on the course in your game?

Post a comment below!