The phrase "par", when used to describe the quality of something, i.e. "below par", "on a par with", etc., is often misused. Most people think that "par" is average. However, this is not so.

Par is not what the average golfer will score on a golf course. Par is what the average expert golfer will score. Think about it. What does the average Joe Golfer shoot when he goes out to the local golf club each Saturday? Probably not in the 70's. More likely, the average golfer is struggling to break 90 or 100. Par, on most 18-hole golf courses, is 72. If I could shoot a 72 regularly, or, "par", I would be one heck of a golfer.

Don't believe me? Just watch a major golf tournament. When you look at the leaderboard, count how many of the professional golfers are over par. It's quite a few. This doesn't mean that Joe Golfer could walk onto the tee and beat some of these pros. Even though the pros might be over par, the are usually still in the 70's, which is pretty darn good.

Keep this in mind the next time somebody describes something as "subpar". Most things, by definition, are subpar. They're average. If everything I owned was "above par", I would be one very happy guy.