What 'Par Is Your Partner' Means for a Golf Tournament

World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play - Final Day
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"Par Is Your Partner" is the name of a rule or stipulation put into place in a golf tournament that limits a player's or team's maximum score on each hole to a net par. It's a pace-of-play measure to keep tournament rounds from reaching excessive lengths.

When Is Par Your Partner?

When "Par Is Your Partner" is in place, you pick up your ball and move on when you can no longer beat a score of net par on the hole you're playing. Which is another way of saying that net par is the maximum score any golfer or team can make when Par Is Your Partner is in use, so that's what you write on the scorecard if you pick up.

What is net par? A team's or golfer's gross score is the actual number of strokes used to complete play of a hole. Net is your gross score minus any handicap strokes. Say you're playing a par-4 hole and you get one handicap stroke on that hole — then 5 is a net par (5 actual strokes played, minus 1 handicap stroke, equals the hole's actual par of 4). Tournament organizers will tell you whether to use full or partial handicaps (or groups of golfers playing a friendly round can decide that among themselves).

Types of Tournaments Using Par Is Your Partner

Par Is Your Partner can be used in conjunction with just about any format but is especially popular in scrambles.

A tournament using Par Is Your Partner can be scored at stroke play using handicaps, or sometimes a point system is employed.

When the point system is used, Par Is Your Partner works this way: a net birdie is worth 1 point, a net eagle 2 points, a net double eagle 3 points. Since net par is the maximum score, pars are worth 0 points. In this case, total points rather than strokes is what determines the winner. (Think of this as the Stableford version of Par Is Your Partner).

The Par Is Your Partner scoring stipulation would never be in effect in high-level golf tournaments. But in tournaments that involve many golfers of higher handicap ratings, this add-on rule can keep golfers and teams from compiling large scores on those blow-up holes. And by limiting the number of triple-, quadruple- and worse bogeys during the tournament, the rule helps keep the pace of play moving.