How Long Is a Par-6 Hole? (And More Par-6 Facts)

long golf hole

Do par-6 holes exist on golf courses around the world? Yes, but they are not common. How long does a hole have to be to be called a par-6? Nearly 700 yards for men, nearly 600 yards for women — but there are other factors besides length that determine what the par rating of a golf hole is.

If you want to play a par-6 hole — want to find a golf course near you that has one — your best bet is to do some internet searching for "par 6 holes in (location)." You're not guaranteed to find any nearby, because, as mentioned already, par-6 holes are not common.

In fact, it's possible that par-6 holes were more common in the early 20th century than they are today. For example, the 1905 Women's Metropolitan Championship and 1918 Trans-Mississippi Championship both took their golfers over a par-6 hole. (It is extremely rare for high-level golf tournaments today to include any par-6 holes.) Back then, distance was pretty much the only factor that went into assigning a par value to a hole. Also, golfers hit the ball much shorter distances than they do now. A 560-yard hole in 1925 might have been called a par-6; today, that's a par-5.

So, just how long does a hole have to be today to be called a par-6? In the World Handicap System introduced in 2020, the governing bodies of golf (the R&A and USGA) introduced these guidelines for the yardages of par-6 holes:

  • For men, holes 670 yards and longer qualify as par-6 holes;
  • For women, holes 570 yards and longer qualify as par-6 holes.
What factors besides actual, measured yardage go into assigning par ratings today? Things like whether a hole plays uphill or downhill; how many bunkers or penalty areas are on a hole; how tight or wide open the hole is. Such factors, along with measured yardage, are considered to determine what is called "effective playing length." We all know that some 450-yard holes play longer than others (an uphill 450-yarder, for example, certainly plays longer than a downhill 450-yarder).

So the par-6 distance guidelines (670+ yards for men, 570+ yards for women), while they do refer to actual, measured length, can be tweaked a bit during the course rating process if the hole's effective playing length requires it. That is why it is possible for a par-6 hole to be shorter than the guidelines above, or for a par-5 hole to be longer than the par-6 minimum.

What counts as a green in regulation on a par-6 hole? If you hit the green in four strokes or less, you get a GIR.

What is an eagle on a par-6 hole? Scoring 4.

What is an albatross (double eagle) on a par-6 hole? Scoring 3.

And, just for fun: A hypothetical score of 2 on a par-6 would be called a condor; a theoretical hole-in-one on a par-6 could be called an ostrich.

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Photo credit: "File:Marianske Lazne Golf Hole 7.jpg" by Ulrich Mayring is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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