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Why does 4-10-4 seem to be the norm for an 18-hole course?

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Thomas Dai:
A comment on another thread referring to a course with 6 par-3's, 6-par-4's and 6 par-5's has me wondering why 4 par-3's, 10 par-4's and 4 par-4s seems to be the norm for an 18-hole course, after all, TOC is 2-14-2. How did 4-10-4 come to evolve?

All the best

Jim Sherma:
TOC wasn't always 2-14-2. I believe the the Road Hole was deemed a par-5 through a good part of it's history after pars were established.



No one knows. Its one of the great mysteries of life on this planet or others.

That said, there is always that tendency to standardization, probably for handicap reasons.  And, I know a business consultant who claims his research says that golfers avoid other than par 72 courses like the plague.  He has never supplied any actual data to me, saying its just his memory of studying so many courses, rounds played, etc.  A lot of developers believe that, thought.

If you've got a crappy par-70 course, you're in trouble.  If you've got a great one, it's no problem at all, as places like Merion and Pine Valley  confirm.

I am not sure when a standard of four 3's and four 5's became commonplace.  People spoke of "even fours" going back to the 1920's, but the architecture books of the day advocated a variety of holes and not necessarily par-72 ... some Golden Age designers spoke fondly of having five par-3 holes, and very few back then opted for four par-5 holes as a rule.

My guess is that Augusta National helped to set the standard, once The Masters became an important tournament in the 1950's.  US Opens and the Open Championship of the same period were often contested over courses where par had been reduced to 70.


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