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Par Talk

Which of these best describes Hole 18 at the Utah Open?

  • A par 5 where 37% of throws are hero throws, and 21% are double heroes.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .
Some holes are highly resistant to any attempt to assign par.

The hole in question here "seems" to be Hole 10 at the Reykjavik Open. At 522 feet my immediate leaning would be to Par 4 but without any other info it is impossible to really say. Are there forced layups, elevation, or just a ridiculously tight fairway? It scores like a Par 5.

The hole in question here "seems" to be Hole 10 at the Reykjavik Open. At 522 feet my immediate leaning would be to Par 4 but without any other info it is impossible to really say. Are there forced layups, elevation, or just a ridiculously tight fairway? It scores like a Par 5.
Not hole #7?
You are right. It's 7. Even shorter at 479, all the other questions still apply.
OK, then.

Here is the scoring distribution for 1000-rated players on hole #7.
Using the Par by Average Score method, this falls just under the cutoff of 4.95 so par of 4 would be indicated.

Using the Par by Scoring Distribution method would indicate a par 5. Barely. However, because of statistical fluctuation, there is more than a 10% chance this result would have been seen even if the underlying actual distribution was that of a difficult par 4.

Independent of the two measures above, the scores of 3 bring up an issue. If a 3 is possible, shouldn't players be able to play for 4 quite often? There are hints that by going for the birdie, the better players are getting stung by 5s. If so, then those scores of 5 were not the result of errorless play. Thus, no matter how many happened they shouldn't be included in determining par.

Another way to look at it is: What throws would be required to get a 4? Even if there are a lot of trouble around the target so experts expected two putts, that just leaves two 240 foot (73 meter) throws to get there. I think a 1000-rated player should be expected to be able to do that, even in the woods. Where is the other errorless throw which would be needed to call this a par 5?

Either par 4 or par 5 would be defensible. (Sometimes things hang on the edge between the buckets instead of falling neatly into one or the other.)

I personally think this is a nasty par 4 which tricks players into making too many errors. Obviously, experts can get a 4 with errorless play; but not enough of them are doing it to prove it should be expected.

Calling it a par 4 might be the cause of those errors: highly skilled players feel they must go for birdie even though the risk is too great on this hole.

The hole does a good job of measuring skill, so I wouldn't want to mess with it too much. (For players rated 970 and up, the scoring spread width was very large: 3.97, with a good correlation to ratings.)
So you actually think there's a difference (technically or in common parlance) between 'unbirdiable' and 'nonbirdiable'. If so, you're coming across as more stubborn and foolish than you need to be. Oh well....
Well, from here, you sound rather foolish. I read the former as "nobody can count on getting a birdie" and the latter as "nobody will ever get a birdie." Granted, I have a degree in English and reading for context is a habit for me.
While there is a lot of talk about the way-under-par winning scores of MPO, something we don't think about enough is that for many divisions winning scores are way over par.

Often there aren't enough competitors to do a proper analysis. The recent Masters Worlds probably had as many of the best from each age-protected divisions as we're going to see.

The following chart shows the winning scores expressed as over- or under-par. The red marks show the winning score relative to par as officially reported on the Event Page. The black arrow head shows what the winning score relative to par would have been if the pars had been set per the PDGA Par Guidelines (specifically the Par by Scoring Distribution Method).
One thing par is supposed to do is make it easier to tell who is really winning during a tournament. To do this, the amount a player is over or under par should change slowly. At the DGPT - Trubank Des Moines Challenge Presented by DGA, the top four players got birdies on more than half the holes. That's not a real slow pace of change.

While it would be possible to reduce the rate at which the scores relative to par change for top players by changing the definition of par or changing the level of skill considered to be an "expert", that would either set this event apart, or affect all events.

I wondered whether a single event can bring its own winning-under-par score closer to zero without changing the pars already assigned to the holes. (Except, of course, for making them equal to guidelines. For DMC, this just means changing hole #10 to par 4.)

The answer is to increase the difficulty of the holes - but not so much that par would change. It turns out that at the DMC, the course could be lengthened by a whopping 3,800 feet and remain at par 63. All the par 4s would average 0.91 over par, and the par 3s would average 0.65 over par. That's the top end of how difficult a hole can be for the given pars.

The Scratch Scoring Average would increase from 64.7 to 77.0. The scores of the elite (top four) players would increase from 54.8 to an estimated 66.3. Or, instead of finishing 25 under par for three rounds, the elites would have finished about 10 over par for the three rounds.

Smaller measures are possible.

To get the average score of the elite to equal the guideline par of 63, the course could be lengthened by 2,750 feet. SSA would be 73.5. The winner would finish just about at even par.

To get the average score of the elite to be like the 4 or 5 under-per-round that is seen in golf, the course could be lengthened by 1,250 feet. SSA would be 68.7. The winner would finish about 13 or 14 under par after three rounds.

At the other end of the spectrum, to let the elite average 18 under par of 63, the course could be shortened by 3,140 feet. SSA would be 54.7. The winner would finish around 54 under par.

What this shows is that no matter the definition of par or how it is set, TDs have an enormous range of difficulty available to them for any given par. It is disc golf's choice to create way under par scores, not the result of any limitation imposed by the nature of the game.

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