Explaining the Score of Even Par in Golf

Golfer tees off in the Portugal Masters tournament
Warren Little/Getty Images

"Even par" is the term for when a golfer uses the same number of strokes as a hole's par rating, or when the golfer matches the 18-hole par of a golf course for the entire round.

Remember that "par" is one of the basic scoring terms in golf: It's the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need. That applies both to single holes and to the entire round. And that means that each individual golf hole, as well as the collective 18 holes of a golf course, has a par rating assigned.

A hole with a par of 4 is one that an expert golfer is expected to need four strokes to complete, for example. A golf course that an expert golfer is expected to need 72 holes to complete is called a par-72 course.

And "even par" (often shortened to just "even") means that the golfer matched that par number in strokes. Let's do some examples.

Examples of Under Par, Even Par and Over Par

A golfer who matches par is even par, so, naturally, a golfer who uses fewer strokes than par is said to be "under par" and one who uses more strokes than par is said to be "over par." The most common par ratings for individual holes are par-3, par-4 and par-5. Here are examples for each of those types of holes:

On a Par-3 Hole

  • A score of 2 is 1-under par
  • A score of 3 is even par
  • A score of 4 is 1-over par

On a Par-4 Hole

  • A score of 3 is 1-under par
  • A score of 4 is even par
  • A score of 5 is 1-over par

On a Par-5 Hole

  • A score of 4 is 1-under par
  • A score of 5 is even par
  • A score of 6 is 1-over par

The same formulation applies to the golf course's total par number. If the golf course is a par-72 and the golfer's score is 72, that's even par. If the golfer shoots 67, that's 5-under par; if the golfer shoots 90, that's 18-over par.

Even Par Is Also Known As ....

A golfer who is "even" or "even par" can also be said to be "level" or "level par." Level par is terminology that is more commonly used in the United Kingdom and is often used in other R&A-governed locations. Also, an uppercase "E" in a list of scores usually designates "even par."