Par 5 (Par-5 Hole)

golf course
Hawaii, Big Island, Waimea Country Club, 7th Hole Par 5. (Peter French/Getty Images)

A par 5, or par-5 hole, is a hole that an expert golfer is expected to need five strokes to complete. On most golf courses, a par 5 is the longest hole (par-6 holes exist, but are rare).

Also Known As: 5 par, 5-par hole

Alternate Spellings: Par-5

A hole's par always includes two putts, so a par 5 is one where the expert golfer is expected to hit the fairway with his tee shot, advance the ball farther up the fairway on the second stroke, hit the green with his third stroke, and then take two putts to get the ball in the hole.

Golfers who hit the ball very far might be able to reach the green of a par-5 hole in just two strokes, rather than three, setting up an opportunity for eagle.

There are no rules about how long or short golf holes should be. But in its Handicapping Manual, the United States Golf Association does offer these guidelines:

  • For men, a par-5 hole is 471 to 690 yards long
  • For women, a par-5 hole is 401 to 575 yards long

(Important: Those yardages are not actual, measured yards, but, rather, a hole's effective playing length. Think of it this way: Say a hole has been measured off at 508 yards. But that hole is all downhill from the tee to the green, so it plays shorter than its measured yardage. That hole's effective playing length might only be 450 yards.)

There are usually from two to six par-5 holes on a full-sized 18-hole golf course, with four (two on the front nine, two on the back nine) being the most common number of par 5s.