Golf is for Kids too!

That's right, Mr. Mitchell, even Dennis and Margaret are shooting par, thanks to the USGA Junior Par System. Under this popular program, par is increased to achievable numbers when girls and boys play. Junior par on a hole could be 6,7,8 or even 9!


You'll be surprised to see how encouraged junior golfers become when making scores that fit a kid's ability, not that of an adult scratch golfer. Junior Par keeps kids playing and improving! You can install Junior Par at your club with a minimum of effort.

How to Install Junior Par

1. Establish Junior Playing Levels

Under Junior Par, players are identified as beginner, intermediate, or advanced golfers.

The most common method for assigning playing levels is the junior's Course Handicap on the forward tees:

Course Handicap Level
41 or above Beginner
25 through 40 Intermediate
24 or below Advanced

For juniors without USGA Handicap Indexes, other methods of assigning playing levels may be used. For example, some clubs have their beginners play only three or six holes until they can achieve a target score. Then they move on to playing nine holes, and eventually 18. The club might designate its three- or six-hole players as beginners, and the nine- and 18-hole players as intermediates, until they develop Course Handicaps of 24 or better.

2. Establish Junior Par

Junior Par for any hole is based on the yardage of the hole and the level of play of the junior golfer. The following tables show how Junior Par is calculated for girls and boys:

GIRLS - Junior Par For Hole Length (in yards)
Level  3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Beginner  90 or less 91-160 161-230 231-300 301-370 371-440 441+
Intermediate  140 or less 141-250 251-355 356-470 471+ -- --
Advanced  --Same as Adult Par--
Example: Junior Par on a 375-yard hole is 8 for a beginner girl and 6 for an intermediate.

BOYS - Junior Par For Hole Length (in yards)
Level  3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Beginner  100 or less 101-180 181-260 261-340 341-420 421-500 501+
Intermediate  150 or less 151-270 271-390 391-510 511+ -- --
Advanced  --Same as Adult Par--
Example: Junior Par on a 375-yard hole is 7 for a beginner boy and 5 for an intermediate.


3. Print Junior Scorecards

Print inexpensive "Junior Scorecards" that show Junior Pars. See the example below:


How to Post Scores

Juniors will adjust their scores for Equitable Stroke Control just like adults do, based on their Course Handicaps for the tees they played.

For example, suppose a junior with a Course Handicap of 36 shoots 13 on a hole. Since a score of 9 is the maximum permitted under Equitable Stroke Control for a 36-handicap, the junior golfer would adjust the score to 9.

Junior will turn in adjusted scores, with the appropriate USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating for the tees they played. If your junior golf program uses unrated tees, check your USGA Handicap System manual for proper Ratings.



A junior's handicap is calculated like an adult's. That is, a USGA Handicap Index is established, based on the junior's 18-hole scores. It is converted to a Course Handicap for the tees the junior plays (generally the forward tees).

Handicaps in Junior Par tend to be on the high side, and it is suggested that your club permit handicaps that are higher than the adult maximums. The focus in this system is not on lowered handicaps but on increased satisfaction with what is, for junior golfers, a realistic score on each hole. Kids will feel good about a score of 8, for example, on what is typically an adult par 5 hole. As junior golfers improve to advanced status, their handicaps will begin to drop.

To Learn More

To learn more about starting Junior Par at your club, contact your authorized State or Regional Golf Association, or call the USGA Handicap Department (908) 234-2300.

The Junior Par System will mean more fun for all young golfers at your club!

The Junior Par System was developed by Dean Knuth, Senior Director of Handicapping for the United States Golf Association.

USGA extends special thanks to Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham for contributing the drawings in this on-line brochure.

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