Par is defined as the average number of strokes it takes an above average, experienced tournament player to hole out. Basically if you had 100 players who are pretty good and they’re competing with each other, you can measure what their average score was and find about what that hole was for par.
Maine par is easier than standard par also known as “true par”. Holes that are 5’s in Maine would often be 4’s in other states. Also some 4’s would be 3’s.
I’ve been told from the players who started playing before me that Maine par began when disc golf came to Maine. People wanted to shoot under at the end of a round, and so they made the pars more beginner friendly. It’s kind of stuck that way at most disc golf courses in the state.
Simon Lizotte talks about it on his vlogmas. We do have a different approach and I think it encourages more people to play.
As I’ve traveled and seen thousands of travelers at Sabattus I think there’s two generalizations I’d like to make.
- Mainers when they go out of state to play disc golf for the first time won’t have a stellar round. It’s jarring to see holes you’d imagine are 4’s as 3’s.
- Out of staters who come to Maine to play are pretty good players. Casual players don’t travel as often as competitive players. So that guy you met from Minnesota who crushes doesn’t mean that everyone from Minnesota is amazing at disc golf. (Sorry to pick on Minnesota, but I’m still upset with Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook for letting my fantasy team down last year.)
This week in the blog I’m going to look at our Hawk course and how it holds up to Maine par versus what some folks would consider “true par”. These are 100% subjective and based on my opinion. I do get some insight from UDisc as a course ambassador, so I can see what people are scoring on holes.
The data for it isn’t perfect, unless someone really is out here acing all our 500 foot wooded holes. But I think the majority of users are honest who use UDisc.
So let’s look at those holes and what I think of them.
211’ Par 3
Perfect at par 3. Actually this one according to UDisc stats could be a par 4. It averages a full half point above par! I’m not sure if it’s the rock, the trees, or the fact that it’s the first hole.
555’ Par 5
Could be a par 4. It takes a drive to get to the field, an upshot on a hill with trees, and then a putt. As a 5 it’s a little soft with the holes in the birch trees that used to make it a much more difficult shot.
432’ Par 5
Could be a par 4. I remember Sarah Hokom playing this hole when she won the USWDGC in 2016. I think for that tournament it was a par 3. She turned and said “Really this is a par 3?” in a joking exasperated voice. It forces a certain shot shape and then the opposite on the second throw. Much harder than hole 2 with the number of trees in play.
335’ Par 4
Could be a par 3. It’s 335 feet wide open. The only time this hole becomes difficult is if it’s windy or you overthrown into the woods. This is one of the easiest holes according to UDisc.
315’ Par 4
Could be a par 3. It’s really a single shot hole to get to the path and down the tunnel for a putt. In fact there’s lots of ways to attack this hole. A low skip, a high dump, a forehand roller. You could even try throwing over the top.
169’ Par 3
Fine as a par 3. This is one of the easiest holes on the course (if you have a forehand or lefty backhand). At 169 feet it’s all about confidence and hitting a wide enough gap. I really like this hole because it helps me score well. And it’s kind of fun to have a blind shot.
333’ Par 3
This is a par 4 that’s perfect. People call it the horseshoe hole for a reason. It’s a full 180 degree hole where you have to go up and over and back down. As the second hardest hole according to UDisc I think this is a great par 4. It takes a couple good shots to get up and over, and then down for a putt.
193’ Par 3
A great par 3. It’s got elevation and trees, and an awkward angle of approach. You don’t face the basket from the teepad, you face about 20 degrees to the right of it. It’s fine as a 3.
519’ Par 5
This could be a par 4. I know that this hole is the bane of so many of you. It’s tightly wooded but the hallway is only pinched in one spot. If you can get a good angle off the drive it’s not a super difficult approach.
551’ Par 5
It’s closer to a par 4 than a 5. While this hole is long and does have elevation in it, the teeshot is the only real difficult shot here. The rest of the hole is pretty open, and even if you go into the trees on the right early on your approach you should be fine.
307’ Par 4
Could be a par 3. This hole has the potential for a big number if you clip a tree with a high speed driver. It’s not that long though, and the right hand back hand hyzer shape is pretty common.
553’ Par 5
Could be a par 4. This hole isn’t as hard as people make it out to be. Moving forward or left on your drive is the common mistake. Getting as far right as you can will help you with this hole.
207’ Par 3
Good par 3. It’s short, has some trees on either side, and the challenge is mostly about landing on the woodchip green. It’s a hole you can run for the ace or lay up for a makeable birdie.
646’ Par 5
Could be a par 4. The distance is the biggest challenge to this hole. You need to hit a reasonably wide gap off the tee and then it’s another 400+ feet to get to the hole. It’s late in the round as well and the longest hole on the course. I understand people who think it should be a 5.
350’ Par 4
Could be a par 3. It’s one of the easiest holes according to UDisc. It’s very similar to hole 4 but with more wind from the open field and it’s slightly uphill. You’re going to 3 it far more often than 4 it.
335’ Par 4
Could be a 3. It’s on a hill and that adds a lot to the difficulty of the hole. But even if you throw 150 feet, you should be able to get to have a putt on the hole. This hole used to be 222 feet but was lengthened in 2016 for the USWDGC. It’s aceable for longer throwers so I don’t think even with the extra distance and hill it’s a par 4.
179’ Par 3
Perfect 3. It’s uphill, there’s obstacles for you to avoid on the ground and in the air. It’s aceable and it feels like a must get birdie.
291’ Par 4
Could be a 3. I love the idea of a par 4 as the last hole, giving the opportunity for an amazing shot to get an eagle and a possible two stroke swing. The main challenge from this hole is just getting the height of your disc correct. It’s heavily wooded, but not if you can throw over all of them.
So let’s do a quick recap. Course par is set at 73 on the Hawk, but to compare Maine par to “true par” it would be closer to a 61. With all of the 5’s becoming 4’s and most of the 4’s becoming 3’s.
Maine par is fun and exciting for casual rounds. If you’re not competing in tournaments I would absolutely keep playing 73 as the course par. And if you’re from out of state reading this blog, in anticipation of coming here to play. I think you’ll love having the best score of your life.
One way I like to keep things interesting if I’m playing with someone who isn’t as skilled as I am is to play with a par 61 for myself. It leads to a much more competitive game and it’s not as punishing for newer players who may not have their distance, control, or putts as dialed in.
Do you enjoy Maine pars? Do you believe in an iron man par where everything is a par 3? Let me know in the comments.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397