Par on holes

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Postby jiwaburst » Tue May 09, 2006 1:39 pm

Yeah, I agree that Par is not a measure of a hole's difficulty but more so of its length. Ball Golf has simple muni courses, longer nice courses, champion courses, and courses where the tees and course are altered for tourney play to make them more difficult. I could shoot par on the easy ones and shoot a 108 at Augusta while playing with the same skill.

Especially when everybody would like to see more people play disc, I'm not so sure that holding the rec player "Par " to the distance standard of top players is such a good idea.

Add on the complication of different pin positions on a course and sometimes alternate tee boxes, and gauging a true par readout for rec players is pretty difficult.

It's fine when you have a nice enough course to host a sanctioned tourney and can thereby run the numbers and see what the 1000 golfer does on each hole, but most courses aren't going to be able to that.

Add to that a disc culture that likes to play everything as threes anyway and you get a lack of urgency about it.

They have had a ton of dialogue about this on the PDGA board, and the ultimate answer is that good course design remedies much of this. But the way it, there are few places on any given piece of land to naturally place a pin so that there is enough risk in the putting to make it similar to ball golf. There are only so many coves in trees that can be used (in most places), eventually earth moving might become a requisite part of disc course design so that going for it has more consequences and so a 35 footer is not an automatic go for it without worry. More mogul greens!
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Postby Blake_T » Tue May 09, 2006 3:51 pm

actually, par in ball golf is generally defined as the number of strokes for a given hole that a scratch golfer is supposed to hole out in.

5+ years ago you could almost make the conversion of a 1:1 ft:yd reference comparison for ball golf and disc golf, but that gap has widened now. a 250 yard drive in ball golf is equivalent to ~400' drive in disc golf, which is more like an 8:5 reference comparison.

putting is what has usually skews any further comparison and what is the cause of inflated par.

in ball golf, the stat for the PGA card carrying touring pros is that they make ~19% of their putts from 18'. according to the 8:5 conversion, that "equivalent" length in terms of tee distance is 9.6', but we all know that even the most rec players generally make way more than 19% of these.

the mentality of putting in DG is way different, as is the actual performance. while a ball golfer lays up on a 30' putt, we are nearly always running 30' putts, and with good putters, a good chunk of these are going in. what i see is that what ball golfers do from 30' (get it close, maybe go in, usually not, but always stay close) is what scratch disc golfers do from 70'.

in disc golf's pro ranks, there's basically 5 types of putters, with the extreme ends representing a very small percentage of players.

1) bad putters (make less than 50% from 30', make less than 60% from 25' and in)
2) average putters (make 50% from 30', make ~70% from 25' and in)
3) good putters (make 60% from 30', make ~85% from 25' and in)
4) great putters (make 70% from 30', make ~95% from 25' and in)
5) insanely great putters (make at least 70% from 30', make at least 95% from 25' and in, but the insane putters usually separate themselves by making 25% or more from 40-70' whereas others will be lucky to hit more than 10%).

if you take the range where the array of tour card holding PDGA members, i would say 40-45' is about the range where the make % will be around 19% (it could be slightly closer, like 38'), as this is a range where i think the mentality begins to equate the 18' ball golf putt: give it a run, but stay within 90% make range on a miss (~6-8' for a ball golfer, ~18-20' for a disc golfer).

most ball golf greens are well over 50' in diameter, so only a small circle becomes the gimme range. in dg, the gimme range is much larger but the greens are often yet smaller. the idea that makes sense is that a 30' ball golf putt is closer representative to an approach shot in dg (maybe 100'?) where it's random if it goes in, but you want to pin it.

basically, imo, this removes a lot of the need for two putts calculated into par. if you have a 150' wide open hole, you SHOULD be able to get within 45', and good players SHOULD nearly always be within 30'. where scratch ball golfers are unlikely to get within 6-8' from 95 yards, it is quite common for a disc golfer to get within 18-20' from 150'. to me, this turns a 150' disc golf hole into a 1 drive 1 putt hole and a par 2.

i believe par should mean something as it's part of the key to legitimacy for converting a game to a sport. yes, the true average scores often calculate out as a decimal, but if the entire pro field averages a 2.16 on a hole (which is an average rating much lower than 1000), it should be rounded down. however, a good course will also have a true par 4 (average > 3.5) to cancel it out.

a lot of this is from a chip in my shoulder from early on when someone would say "what do you shoot under par?" and i would say "i usually shoot +2 to +5" and they would be like "wow, you must suck." they didn't take into consideration that my home course had a WCP/SSA of 54 and theirs a WCP of ~40.

most pros i know go into rounds looking at the available birdie opportunities and i believe there has to be some way to differentiate a course that has 5 deuce opportunities vs. 18 150' wide open holes.
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Postby Tim H » Wed May 10, 2006 10:10 am

I think slope is the word you are looking for Blake. In ball golf there is a slope rating for every course. So August will be rated as more difficult that say the local corn field. The same concept could be applied to disc golf courses as well.

I'll admit I'm pretty ignorant of how slope works in ball golf, but I know that it is used to calculate handicaps and rate courses.
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Postby Blake_T » Wed May 10, 2006 7:35 pm

yes, slope is the term. the idea of WCP/SSA combines slope into actual par.

i do think there needs to be some kind of distinction on what range constitutes the range for a single putt, as well as what range is "fair" to constitute landing within the single putt range.

it's frustrating and doesn't really get anywhere, but enough nerding it up and maybe it will lead somewhere.
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Postby TexasOutlaw » Thu May 11, 2006 9:53 am

Some very good discussion has developed here. The only confusion I have is the way courses are designed; that is, this course had tee signs with par being designated on them. According to the locals, we ignore this because in tournaments everything is played a 3.

BTW, the course was designed by Houck, I believe. It was designated a beginner course years ago. And the local club has designated "pro" tee offs that they call blues due to the blue colored piece of wood they use to mark it.

So we can play the concrete tee boxes or play the blues. For most of them, they just add 10 feet. But for some holes, angles and paths are different, which is good because once you've thrown a shot so much, changing the path or angle adds challenge.
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Postby discmonkey42 » Thu May 11, 2006 10:08 am

One other interesting note about slope. When disc golf can have a standardized measurement of par using something like slope, you can then start giving people legitimate and meaningful handicaps so players of different skill levels can compete fairly. For my roomate, an avid ball golfer, he uses along with everyone else in Chicago. That way, they have an objective third party source for their handicaps. This is very important when playing for $$$. That website gives everyone a handicap based on the scores and courses they play and then gives them how many strokes to give on the next course they play. This, of course, relies on player honesty (something that is clearly lacking in this sport - see the 9,000,000 people who can throw over 400ft with their eyes closed), but works well for most around here.
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Postby Denver Discer » Thu May 11, 2006 9:25 pm

This, of course, relies on player honesty (something that is clearly lacking in this sport - see the 9,000,000 people who can throw over 400ft with their eyes closed), but works well for most around here.

How did you know I had my eyes closed? ;)
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Postby The Clergyman » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:04 pm

adidadg wrote:But by the definition of par it really makes no sense to call a 800 foot hole a par 3 :)

Amen, brother.
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Postby TexasOutlaw » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:31 am

My local course, a 9 hole, is changed to a 21 for tournaments. But many of the added holes are across open field 500 + feet. What this does is allows anyone with a big arm to catch up or grab a lead. I call these big balls holes as they require nothing but arm.
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Postby Weebl » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:03 am

the only difference between calling a 700' hole a par 3 or a par 4 is the boost your ego gets when you get a 4 on it. Trust me, that's all.
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Postby GetMuddy350 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:42 am

Jacked from todays Ask Torque Newsletter from Marshall Street:

"I now take this opportunity to point to Mr Lowe Bibby. He has tweaked Ball Golf par to Close Range (CR) par. There are a couple of semi-complicated algorithms (all of which I agree with) that result in Close Range being defined as 120'. So, par equals the number of errorless throws it takes the average 1000 rated player to get within 120 feet, plus 2.

I've tested this at Maple Hill and it works. The minimum par for a course is 54 and the longer, more challenging a course is, the closer the course par will be to the world class par (the average score of a 1000 rated golfer). Give this CR Par a chance at your home courses. Try a shorter course and a longer course and see what you get for pars. See if you like the pars. I'd love some feedback on this one. "
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Postby trogdor » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:00 pm

GetMuddy350 wrote:par equals the number of errorless throws it takes the average 1000 rated player to get within 120 feet, plus 2.

Assuming 400' is the errorless throw for the avg 1000 player,
400 + 120 = 520'
All holes between 120' and 520' are par 3 by this method.

Comparison A:
Hole 1 is 150' wide open. Par 3
Hole 2 is 500' with a narrow fairway (errorless throw.) Par 3

Comparison B:
Hole 2 is the same hole....500' with a narrow fairway Par 3
Hole 3 is 550' wide open. Par 4

I'll let you decide what the typical scores for these 3 holes are. :lol:
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Postby jgarcia9102 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:16 pm

I see one problem with that however.... (edit: it looks like trogdor and i posted at the same time and he beat me to it, but its the same idea)


hole 1 - 325' open shot in a field with a 90 degree dogleg left then another 150' to the basket.

On that hole i would think most 1000 rated players could throw a 325' hyzer that cuts around the dogleg, landing 130' away from the basket. This is a par 3

Hole 2 - same layout as the last hole, but the first drive is through a 10' wide fairway in the woods.

Now Most pros would be able to throw a 325' drive straight down the fairway then stall it left beyond the required 130'. that would make this also a par 3.

Now the first hole most Ams could throw par since its an open drive, and a hyzer is all you need to make the dogleg. The second hole Is a hard 325' tunnel shot that needs just the right ammount of heigt to stall around the dogleg 30'+, and while its not impossible by any means, it is considerably harder than the first hole. Since the system asks for errorless drives, they would be rated the same, because no matter how easy the hole's drive is, and no matter how difficult the second hole's drive is, they are both shots that a 1000 rated player could make in an errorless drive.

its a good system, but what about that situation?
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Postby GetMuddy350 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:30 pm

I'll let you decide what the typical scores for these 3 holes are.

Touche! :lol:

No way of judging par is perfect. However, I do think this is one of the better methods i've seen. There is nothing wrong with easy birdies and tough pars on the course.

There should be holes on the course that you MUST birdie and there should be holes that you would be lucky to save par, thats what keeps the game interesting.
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Postby adidadg » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:56 pm

i think its a good starting point at establishing Par and like he said no method can be perfect, exceptions can always be made .

Besides, Par is not really a measure of difficulty (nobody can tell how difficult a hole is by looking at a scorecard) its more a measure of how many strokes it should take to complete a hole, it may be easy to achieve it, it may be hard.

Disc golf is, in most cases, a much easier game than ball golf. So just because someone whos only played for 6 months can break par doesnt mean that Par is set to high...its just the way it is.


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