Par, SSS and Stroke Index
Can anyone enlighten me on how pars are calculated (I've noticed some par 4s are longer than par 5s), why courses need a par and an SSS (and what SSS stands for) and who decides the stroke index for each hole.
Reply : Wed 2nd Apr 2008 19:50
It seems as though the criteria for this might have changed in recent years and being out of the game I might have missed it, but it used to be anything up to 250 yds was a par 3, a par 4 was anything up to 474 yds and anything over that distance was a par 5.
I have never encountered a par four longer than a par five, but that does not mean to say it does not exist. It seems that assessment of par for holes is now decided on differeent criteria, like a par four up hill could be unreachable in two shots, yet a par five downhill could easily be reached in two.
For me these days par fives cannot be reached in three shots.
Reply : Wed 2nd Apr 2008 23:21
Maybe I'm mistaken. I've noticed it on the yardage reported on this site on two courses. Possibly one of the hole yardages is a typo when they were entered. I am playing one of the courses tomorrow so I will check against the club scorecard and tee sign to see if the yardages are correct.
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 12:09
I've never understood some of stroke indices. Played a course on Sunday where the 8th was a par 4 262 yard SI 7, but the 9th was a par 4 439 yard SI 9! The 9th was a much harder hole. Both were in the same direction but the 9th had out of bounds on the right and behind the green. I almost drove the green on the 8th (10 yards short) on my way to a par (blew the birdie) but took a 9 on the 9th, though three of those were poor shots by me.
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 13:06
A.1 The Standard Scratch Score (SSS) is a measure of the playing difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer under normal midseason course and weather conditions.
ok now this i understand. So should there not be an SSS for all weather conditions? i have had to spank my 3 wood at 140yd par 3's recently with this wind so surley it should be adjusted.
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 14:41
therin lies the fundamental problem with SSS/CSS
par is par - keep it simple like me!
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 15:59
First of all apologies to the site, the yardage is correct for the final hole at Oakmere, Notts. It is a par 5, 435 yards off the yellow tee and 453 off the white. The hole is a 90 degree dog leg left and if you play the dog leg you would be left with 220 yard second shot to the green but I am not sure that justifies the par 5 tag alone. There are no other significant hazards other than a few bunkers. The dog leg wraps around the driving range and I am sure better golfers could easily cut the dog leg over the fence to leave 150 yd second shot.
On the same course there is a 475 yard par 4 (440yd yellow tee) which is straight away but is a much harder hole with a decent size stream running across the whole fairway just in front of the green. This effectively makes it a three shot hole to get to the green for mere mortal golfers.
Can any one explain this discrepency
Thanks for all the replies on SSS, I think I understand it a little better. I would still be keen to hear more on how Stroke Indexs are set as I've come across some that seem a little random.
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 16:09
Stroke Index is set by how difficult it is to achieve par on each hole. The more difficult it is to achieve par, the lower the stroke index (1 being the hardest hole and 18 the easiest). As every golfer has different strengths and weaknesses they may not be right for each golfer (a 475 yard par 4 is not a problem to a power hitter but those who have an accuracy rather than power based game would struggle to reach the green in two).
Reply : Thu 3rd Apr 2008 20:39
Thanks Chris but I would still like to know who sets the SI for each course and whether there is some science behind it. Is it the local handicap committee using local competition scores to determine which are the most difficult holes to par or is like the sss and there are set down criteria on length and hazards that are used to determine it. Or is it just done on the whim of the local committee when the course is set up.
Reply : Fri 4th Apr 2008 09:48
Thanks, Chris, that was a very interesting read.
Reply : Fri 4th Apr 2008 19:20
Thanks Chris that's a very comprehensive and clear reply. It explains why the SI doesn't slavishly follow the difficulty of the holes. It also explains why on the 9 hole at my club the SI on the two nines aren't the same ie a hole indexed 1 on the front nine is not indexed 2 on the back nine.
So thats SSS and SIs comprehensively dealt with. Has any one got the definitive answer on how pars are allocated for each indivdual hole and if the criteria set out by John in the original reply is still valid why are some courses deviating from it?
Reply : Fri 4th Apr 2008 19:27
This link will help in giving you a rough idea as to how it is assessed, Jon, I was pretty well near right, give or take a few yds, but apparently the USGA bring other parameters into the equation - like downhill par fives being mad 4's and uphill par fours being made par 5's.
Reply : Fri 4th Apr 2008 21:21
Thanks John, I note the yardages are guidelines so I suppose courses have some discretion and my local course has used this on 455 yard par 5 because of the dog leg and the resulting long second to the green.
I suppose par length can be discretionary as there is also the SSS for the whole course which is a little more scientific and more important for the handicap system.