What is a "Bogey" in Golf? Scoring Terms Explained.
Last Updated on June 16, 2023
What is a Bogey in Golf?
“Bogey” is a golf scoring term meaning a golfer made a score of one stroke over par on a particular hole.
Examples of Bogeys include:
- 4 strokes on a par-3 hole
- 5 strokes on a par-4 hole
- 6 strokes on a par-5 hole
Is Scoring a Bogey Bad?
Is a Bogey Bad?
It depends on how skilled of a golfer you are.
Low handicap, scratch , and professional golfers won’t be happy whenever they get a bogey. They’re always striving to score par or better on each hole.
However, considering you’re reading an article titled “What is a Bogey in Golf?”, you’re likely at a skill level where you should take pride when you can manage only to score one stroke over par.
If you got a bogey on every hole of your round, you would have a score of 90 on a par-72 golf course. For the average golfer who is newer to the game, reaching/breaking a score of 90 is a significant accomplishment.
“Double Bogey,” “Triple Bogey,” “Quadruple Bogey”
The names for scores worse than a bogey aren’t very creative.
- A “Double Bogey” is a score of 2 strokes over par on any individual hole.
- A “Triple Bogey” is a score of 3 strokes over par on any individual hole.
- A “Quadruple Bogey” is a score of 4 strokes over par on any individual hole.
For example, 5 strokes on a par-3 would be a double bogey, and 9 strokes on a par-5 would be a quadruple bogey.
Every Golfer Makes Bogeys and Worse, Even the Pros
Even the best golfers in the world score bogeys or worse. In 2019, PGA golfers averaged 2.62 bogeys in the TOUR Championship .
That year, Rory McIlroy had the fewest bogeys per round. Despite this, a player of his caliber can still massively struggle on a bad day.
In the opening round of the Open Championship , Rory McIlroy started the first hole with a quadruple bogey, 4-putted the par-3 16th hole for a double bogey, and finished his round with a triple bogey on the 18th hole.
You can see Rory's entire round in the video below:
Bogeys For Average Players
MyGolfSpy and TheGrint (a golf GPS and handicapping app) teamed up to analyze the average number of birdies or better, pars, and bogeys or worse scored per round by golfers of various skill levels.
They found that golfers with a 16-20 handicap (that’s often said to be the average handicap of all golfers) averaged 7.3 bogeys, 4.7 double bogeys, and 2.1 triple bogeys or worse per 18-hole round. Golfers of this skill level only managed 3.6 pars and 0.3 birdies or better on average.
If you look one group down the list, golfers in the 21-25 handicap range, these golfers averaged 8.9 double bogeys or worse per 18 holes. In other words, they scored worse than a bogey on almost half their holes.
If this article is the first time you learned what a bogey is, you’re probably new to golf. While your more experienced golfing buddies or the pros you watch on TV may be disappointed when they score bogeys, “bogey golf” is a level to aspire to for new golfers. Feel free to get excited the next time you score a bogey on a hole. The first round that you average scoring just one over par is also a huge milestone.
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The ultimate guide to common golf terms
You won’t be a scratch handicapper the first time you pick up a club. (If you don’t know what “scratch handicapper” means, keep reading, you’re in the right place!) Similarly, a beginner can’t be expected to know all the golf terms and lingo used throughout the game (let alone the numerous comedic golf terms you can read about here).
The problem is that most people have to embarrass themselves in front of friends or colleagues in order to learn it all. That’s exactly why we’ve created this guide to the most common golf terms used by recreational and pro players alike.
It won’t make you a golf expert, but if you spend a little time learning the following golf terms, you’ll save yourself from any red-faced moments during your first trip to the links (see below for definition).
What is a par? A birdie? A bogey?
Let’s start simply with the golf terms “par”, “birdie” and “bogey”. All three of these golf terms refer to scoring.
“Par” represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to make on the hole or course. Every golf hole has a “par” assigned to it. Most holes are either a par 3, par 4, or par 5. On a par 4, an expert golfer is expected to take 4 strokes to get his ball in the hole. If you make a 4 on a par 4, you have just tallied a “par”.
“Birdie” and “bogey” are simple once you understand the concept of par. A player makes a “birdie” when he uses one fewer strokes than the par of the hole. If a player needs one stroke more than par to finish a hole, he makes a “bogey.” So, if you finish a par 4 with only 3 strokes, you make a “birdie”, but if you take 5 strokes to complete a par 4, you make a “bogey”.
Players often keep their cumulative score for an entire round by tracking how many shots over or under they are relative to par. If a golfer makes two pars to start a round, he is “even par” for the round. If a player opens with two birdies, he is “two under” for the round. If a player makes two bogeys to start a round, he is “two over.” Similarly, if a player makes a birdie on the 1st hole and follows it with a bogey on No. 2, he is “even par.”
What does ‘ace’ mean?
An “ace” is one of the most coveted accomplishments in the golf. It is simply an alternate golf term for “ hole-in-one “, which is when a player needs only one shot to get his ball in the hole.
Virtually all “aces” or “holes-in-one” occur on par 3s. That’s because all players are expected to reach the green on par 3s with their tee shot (the first shot on the hole from the teeing ground). If it happens to not only hit the green but actually roll into the hole, you have earned yourself an “ace”. Occasionally, a PGA Tour player makes an “ace” on a short par 4, but they are exceedingly rare.
What does ‘fore’ mean in golf?
“Fore” is what golfers yell when their golf ball is flying dangerously close to another player.
Basic golf etiquette demands that you wait until the golfers in front of you are completely out of the way before hitting your shot so you don’t hit them with your golf ball. But if you hit a wild shot that flies toward golfers on other holes, bystanders, or spectators, you must yell “fore” loudly to warn them about the incoming ball.
Like many other golf terms, the origin of “fore” is not entirely known. There is no doubt that it was first used in Scotland, where the game of golf was invented, even as early as the 1850s. But there is disagreement about where it came from.
Some think it comes from the golf term “forecaddie”, which is a person that stands in a forward position on each golf hole to pinpoint where the players’ balls go. “Forecaddies” are often in the line of fire and need to be warned when a ball is flying toward them.
The other potential origin comes from the British military. Artillery men used to shout “beware before” in advance of firing their cannons in order to warn their fellow soldiers standing nearby. It’s thought that golfers adopted this tactic for wayward golf shots but shortened it to the golf term “fore.”
What does ‘links’ mean?
“Links” refers to a specific type of golf course and, frequently, the style of golf that is played on those courses (“links golf”). “Links” golf courses are noted for the firm, tightly-mowed grass that covers the course and the naturally undulating and rumpled ground they are built on. In addition, links courses rarely have trees or water hazards , replacing them with deep sand traps known as “pot bunkers”. Links courses are also usually located on ocean coasts, where strong, changing winds play a major factor.
“Links” golf courses began in Scotland with the very first golf courses ever built. Ireland and England are other countries known for “links” golf courses. Famous links courses include the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Turnberry in Scotland. The Open Championship, or British Open, is always played on links courses.
Links golf usually requires golfers to play their balls on a lower trajectory, using the ground to their advantage. American-style parkland golf usually requires golfers to hit longer, higher shots.
What does ‘albatross’ mean in golf?
One of the best golf terms around, “albatross” refers to when a player uses three fewer strokes on a hole than the par for that hole. There are only two ways to make an “albatross”. First, you can hit your second shot in the hole on a par-5 . Second, you can make a hole-in-one on a par-4 . Do either and you will go three under par on a single hole (and win bragging rights among your golf friends forever).
What does ‘mulligan’ mean in golf?
A mulligan is a golf term that only applies to recreational golfers. Sometimes (and sometimes often) amateur players will hit a poor drive on the 1st hole, whether it is due to nerves or failing to warm up properly. Rather than start off on a bad note, golfers in casual games will sometimes “take a mulligan” and re-play their first shot with a new ball without counting the original bad shot.
“Mulligans” are technically against the Rules of Golf, but golfers frequently make use of them , as long as they aren’t playing a tournament or otherwise serious match. Often a golfer will suggest or give permission to his playing partner to take a mulligan, but other times the golfer will choose to take a mulligan without consulting his playing partners.
Where does the term ‘golf’ come from?
Now we covered a number of basic golf terms, but what about the term “golf” itself? The origins of golfers’ favorite four-letter word are not entirely clear, but it certainly appeared first in the country where the game was created: Scotland. Many believe it is derived from the Scots-language word “goulf” .
Other golf terms to know
Handicap: A handicap is a measurement of the average number of strokes over par a particular golfer makes during a round on an average golf course. So, a person with a handicap of 15 is expected to shoot a score of 87 on a par-72 golf course of average difficulty. A 5-handicapper is expected to shoot a 77 on the same course. Handicaps are used to adjust scores in amateur matches to level the playing field for players of different skill levels.
Scratch: A “scratch” golfer is a golfer with a handicap of 0. These expert golfers are expected to shoot even par or better on most golf courses.
Yips: A condition in which a muscle spasm or mental block prevents you from performing a simple golf task. Most often it’s associated with putting. Players with the putting yips will make an uncontrollable jerky motion in their putting stroke that results in a poor putt. Attempts to cure the yips are often fruitless.
Shank: A “shank” is a severely mishit shot, when instead of making pure contact with the golf ball, you hit the ball off the neck, toe, or heel of the club resulting in a wild, short and often embarrassing shot.
Slice: A “slice” is when your golf ball curves severely to your strong side (right side for righties, left side for lefties), tailing or “slicing” away from your intended target. It is one of the most common and frustrating swing faults, usually caused by an outside-in swing.
Slope: “Slope” is a golf term that measures the difficulty of a golf course for the average bogey golfer. Essentially, it attempts to measure how much harder a course is for a normal golfer compared to an expert golfer. Slope ratings run on a scale from 55-155.
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What is a Bogey in Golf?
We have a couple of answers to ‘what does bogey mean in golf’ depending on the time in history! It's interesting because the modern bogey is easy to explain.
The term 'par' came into regular usage in the early 1900s. Par also assigns a target score to each hole, but par was calculated by dividing up holes by their length.
Definition of bogey was more complicated, as it depended on the club actually assessing the difficulty of a hole locally. The implementation of bogey and standardization was not possible as it changed from club to club.
Once scoring got better, advanced golfers would try for par instead of bogey. "Bogey scores" for the more difficult holes were usually a shot higher than the defined 'par'. You might even find the very traditional golf clubs even nowadays still keep a "bogey score" as well as a "par score" on the scorecard. You might find the total "bogey score" is roughly 5-6 shots higher than the par score. Is this confusing? YES. That's why they stopped it.
Ridiculously, par and bogey scores on every hole could be the same but occasionally, the bogey score was one over par. That's where they got the modern day idea of bogey from.
What is a bogey in golf scoring?
“Bogey” is a scoring term in the game of golf meaning a player made a score of one stroke over par on a golf hole. This is the current usage of the word.
Here is what would count as a bogey when playing golf:
- 4 shots on a par-3 hole
- 5 shots on a par-4 hole
- 6 shots on a par-5 hole
Original Meaning of Bogey (Historical)
The original meaning of bogey was a score that a skilled golfer would try to make. The word bogey was totally different from a par, which was used at the same time, but par meant the ’ perfect ’ score on a particular hole.
The concept of a bogey was created in the 1890s but it had a different name, ‘ground score’ but not yet known as ‘bogey’.
Par was the measurement used in the USA, but in the UK, they liked to use the word bogey.
What is a bogey competition in golf?
Bogey competitions are a type of game where you play against the course in an imaginary matchplay game. Kind of like trying to beat the house when you're at a casino. This is a great way to improve your own game.
Bogey golf format
How it works: The course scores bogey on each hole: on every hole, you give the course (your opponent) the traditional bogey as described above.
You have to use your discretion with this if you play this competition with yourself as an improvement game. Normally the bogey score is the same as the par on the scorecard but on roughly 6 holes, it's one shot higher than the par.
MY VERSION FOR YOU: If you want to get better at golf, create your own par. Just assign whatever par you want to each hole. Try to beat the 'course' by beating that score on the hole. If you do not beat it, it's a halved hole. You can get much better at golf playing this competition in your mind.
Later on, these actual official competitions were just turned into Stableford competition which we play today (mainly in English colonies), where your handicap dictates on which holes you receive strokes. If you are a 24 handicap and you play the stoke index 3 hole, you receive two strokes against par, so your score to receive 2 points must be a double bogey. If you score bogey, you beat your personal par by 1 shot, so you get THREE points.
Is Scoring a Bogey Bad?
Making a bogey in golf can be bag or good depending on how skilled the player is at golf. It's one of those golf terms which means different things to different people.
Golf is a really difficult game to play. The par score of a golf hole is set against the amount of shots professional golfers would expect to play to complete the hole. With this in mind, making a bogey, or "one over par" on a hole is actually a very good score for recreational golfers.
Most golfers would be happy being classed as a "bogey golfer." This means that they can play a golf course taking one shot over par on every hole as an average.
For professional players bogey in golf is a different matter. An expert golfer is trying to play golf courses to par or even under par. Bogey scores can damage their card making them lose ground on the rest of the field.
Bogey Golfer Handicap - Golf handicap for bogey golfer
An average score of around 90 will give a handicap of 15. That is the average handicap of all US male golfers. A golfer who shoots 90 is considered a bogey golfer. That means the player averages one bogey (+1) per hole on a par 72, 18 hole course which means he finishes +18 for a score of 90.
Other types of Bogey - Double Bogey, Triple Bogey, Quadruple Bogey
Yes there are scores worse than bogey when playing golf!
- Double Bogey is a score of 2 shots over par on any individual golf hole.
- Triple Bogey is a score of 3 shots over par on a golf hole.
- Quadruple Bogey is a score of 4 shots over par on a golf hole.
For example, 5 strokes on a par-3 would be a double bogey, and 9 strokes on a par-5 would be a quadruple bogey.
Is it spelled bogeys or bogies?
One bogey, many bogeys. The spelling is bogeys - just add an 's'.
Does Every Golfer Make Bogey in Golf?
Even the most expert golfers and PGA Tour pros will make bogey. It's just part of the game.
In 2021, the PGA tour average for bogeys per round played was 2.72. Tour championship winner Patrick Cantlay finished the season with an average of 2.03 bogeys per round. When you compare this to another top player like Rory McIlroy (2.64 per round) you can see what a bogey means to the average score at that level of golf.
Bogeys For The Average Golfer
Golfers with a 16-20 handicap (about average for most golfers) averaged 7.3 bogeys, 4.7 double bogeys, and 2.1 triple bogeys or worse per 18-hole round. Golfers at this level had 3.6 pars and 0.3 birdies or better on average. Eagles are almost non-existent!
Golfers in the 21-25 handicap range averaged 8.9 double bogeys or worse per 18 holes. This means that they scored worse than a bogey on almost half their holes. Room for improvement!
Bogey is a very common golf term . Now that you have read this article you will see that everyone makes bogeys when playing golf, even the most expert golfer. Becoming a "bogey golfer" is a standard that all beginners can aim for and you will then learn to appreciate the term bogey more as your skill levels increase.
Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Matt
What’s A Bogey In Golf
By Lawrence Smelser
Updated On May 3, 2023
Bogey Golf Definition
The famous “bogey” in golf terms is defined as a word that describes scoring the equivalent of one stroke over par on a certain hole.
For a par-3 hole, a bogey is a four. On a par-4 hole, a bogey is five strokes. When playing a par-5 a bogey is a six.
On the scorecard, a bogey usually is a number with a box drawn around it. Multiple boxes mean even worse bogeys such as doubles and triples.
📢 Need To Know : The word is derived from a song called “ The Bogey Man ” that was well known in the British Isles during the 1890s. The song later became coined as “The Colonel Bogey March.” The song is about a figure that would hide in the shadows.
Before being known as 1-over-par, it was defined as the score that a good golfer should try and equal. The word par meant a perfect score on any particular hole during those times.
Another phrase that was used as bogey was “ground score.” The word par was more popular in the United States versus Bogey in the UK.
Is A Bogey Good Or Bad In Golf?
There is no correct answer for if bogeys are good or bad because it depends on the skill level of the golfer.
A golfer who is new to the game won’t mind earning bogeys because it could lead them to a round in the mid-80s to 90s depending on how they play.
If you bogeyed every hole on a par-72 course then you’d shoot 90. On a par 70 or 71 course, you’d actually barely break 90.
A beginner golfer should usually be very pleased with those scores.
A scratch-to-low handicap golfer will more than likely be upset when scoring a bogey. Since they shoot even par or near it often, having squares on the scorecard will be frustrating. It will hinder their goal of going low.
In certain situations, there are “good” bogeys. For example, if you are facing a 30-footer for bogey and sink it, that would be considered good because the odds were high you’d miss the putt and expect a double.
In that sense, you “escaped” with just a bogey and limited the damage.
Double Bogey, Triple Bogey, Quadruple Bogey Explained
What is a quadruple bogey you ask? It’s certainly not a number you want to achieve on the course!
It means 4-over-par on a hole.
A quadruple bogey can easily derail someone’s confidence as well as their round.
A double bogey is 2-over. This means that on a par-3 if you scored a five it would be a double.
A triple bogey is 3-over par. For example, an eight on a par-5 is a triple.
📋 Keep in mind : These high numbers definitely lead to high-scoring rounds and can be easy to reach if a golfer is hitting the ball out of bounds, into the woods or in hazards.
What Does Bogey-free Mean?
The term “bogey-free” refers to a round of golf where a golfer scored no bogeys at all . This includes doubles, triples, quads, quintuples and beyond.
Every hole has to be scored with a par or better.
What Handicap Is A Bogey/Double Bogey Golfer?
A bogey golfer is a player who usually makes bogeys and shoots around 90. She or he would have a handicap of around 18 depending on if they play par 70-72 courses.
A double-bogey golfer that shoots around 105-110 would have a handicap around the number 36.
What Are Bogey Competitions In Golf
The first recognized bogey competitions began at Coventry Golf Club in 1891. Later, in 1910, the R&A created official rules for these competitions. The design was that per hole you were awarded points on how you did versus the course.
Dr. Frank Stableford wrote the rules when he began the competition that is played even now dubbed “Stableford.”
These competitions allowed golfers to win or lose holes similarly to matchplay but instead in a stroke-play competition.
If you score a bogey or worse in a bogey competition you are penalized. In Stableford, you’d earn a zero score for that hole whereas a par would give you two points.
Each player’s own handicap is adjusted per hole taking into account the stroke index. The golfer who won the most total holes across all the holes wins the bogey competition.
📢 Need To Know : Bogey competitions and Stableford are different but Stableford is classified as a type of bogey competition.
Below is a video explaining Stableford made by Bunkered Online.
Is a bogey golfer a good golfer?
A bogey golfer is not necessarily a bad golfer. A bogey can be considered a reasonably bad score on a hole, but it is an okay score for beginners.
How many hits is a bogey?
On average, a bogey is one hit more than par for the hole. Some golfers consider anything above par to be a bad score, while others are more forgiving and only count a bogey as one extra hit on a challenging hole.
Is par or bogey better?
In general, a par is better than a bogey. Bogey is bad for a professional player but okay for a less experienced player. Sometimes golfers may find that shooting for bogey or even double bogey is more realistic for their game and thus leads to more enjoyable rounds.
What handicap is a bogey golfer?
A bogey golfer is someone with a handicap of between 17.5 and 26.4. This means they are not professional golfers but are still good enough to play the game competitively. However, they may not be able to shoot par or better consistently.
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What Do Those Golf Scoring Terms (Birdies, Bogeys, Pars) Mean?
So you're new to the game of golf and you keep hearing references to birdies and bogeys, eagles and pars. What are those things, anyway? What do those golf scoring terms mean ?
Those (and other terms) are all names for different types of scores on an individual golf hole.
Start With Par, Go From There to Understand Golf Score Names
When explaining golf scoring terms, start with par, because all the other names of golf scores are defined in relation to par. "Par" refers to the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to complete the play of one hole on a golf course.
Golf holes of different lengths will require more or fewer strokes by a golfer. And regardless of length, the par number of a hole always allows for two putts. So a 150-yard hole is one on which the expert is expected to hit the green with his tee shot, take two putts, and, therefore, require three strokes to finish that hole. Such a hole is therefore called a par-3.
And every hole on a golf course is rated as either a par-3, a par-4 or a par-5 (par-6 holes also exist, but they are rare).
A very good golfer — or a very lucky golfer — might complete a hole in fewer strokes than the par (called "under par"). And of course, most of us are not "experts" at golf, and so on most holes we'll need more strokes than the par (called "over par").
That's where those other terms — birdies, eagles, bogeys, and so on — come into play. They describe a golfer's performance on a hole in relation to the hole's par:
- A birdie is a score of 1-under par on a hole (for example, scoring 4 on a par-5).
- A bogey is 1-over par on a hole.
- An eagle is 2-under par on a hole.
- A double bogey is 2-over par on a hole.
- A double eagle (very rare) is 3-under par (also called an "albatross").
- A triple bogey is 3-over par.
Given that a par-5 hole is the highest par most golfers will ever see, there is a limit to how far under par a golfer can go. But a hole-in-one — knocking the ball in the hole with your first shot — is also called an "ace." (On a par-5 hole, making an ace means a golfer is 4-under on that hole and, yes, golfers have a term for that, too: condor.)
Scores over par can keep going up, and you just keep adding to the prefix, as in quadruple bogey, quintuple bogey, and so on. Here's hoping that's knowledge you'll never need.
The Actual Number of Strokes That Result in These Golf Scores
Here's what these most-common golf scoring terms mean for holes with pars of 5, 4 and 3, in the actual number of strokes:
- Double eagle: On a par-5, means you finished the hole in 2 strokes
- Eagle: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
- Birdie: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
- Par: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
- Bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes
- Double bogey: You finished the hole in 7 strokes
- Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 8 strokes
- Double eagle: On a par-4, means you finished the hole in 1 stroke — a hole-in-one (very, very rare on par-4 holes)
- Eagle: You finished the hole in 2 strokes
- Birdie: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
- Par: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
- Bogey: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
- Double bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes
- Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 7 strokes
- Double eagle: Double eagles are not possible on par-3 holes (a score of 3-under on a par-3 would be zero)
- Eagle: You finished the hole in 1 stroke — a hole-in-one
- Birdie: You finished the hole in 2 strokes
- Par: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
- Bogey: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
- Double bogey: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
- Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes
Note that any hole-in-one or ace will be called by those terms, rather than by double eagle (on a par-4) or eagle (on a par-3). After all, why use double eagle or eagle when you can call it a hole-in-one?
Another note about the alternative term for "double eagle": Albatross is the preferred term in most of the golfing world; double eagle is the preferred term in the United States.
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What Is A Bogey In Golf (And Double Bogey)
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“You made a bogey there,” you might hear your golf buddies say. Of course, you laugh along and continue playing. But in the back of your mind, you have a question you don’t want to ask them. What in the world is a bogey in golf terminology ?
A bogey in golf is a term for going over par by one shot. Different holes have different par ratings, and if you take more shots than expected to complete that hole, you might have multiple bogeys on your scorecard.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know about par ratings and how to minimize bogeys by staying close to the net par. You will also discover how common golf bogies are for golfers with different experience levels.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand how the golf bogey can affect your game.
What Is A Golf Bogey?
A bogey is a score that is over the standard par of a hole by one shot. If a player is one over par for any hole, he’s made a bogey . Different holes have different part ratings, and staying within those prevents bogeys.
The more bogeys a golfer makes, the higher his score. So every bogey brings one closer to losing unless one’s competitors make as many bogeys.
Even a single bogey can give pause to a pro golfer. But it isn’t unheard of for hobbyists to make multiple bogeys throughout the course.
What Is A Double Bogey?
A double bogey results from going two pars over the standard par of a hole. If you take two more shots than are standard for a hole, you’ve made a double bogey. But if you go one over par in two different holes, you’ve made two bogeys.
To make a double bogey, you have to go over par by two shots in the same hole. You can offset the effects of a double bogey by going one under par in the next two holes or two under par in a single hole.
Understanding bogey management is much easier once you learn more about going over par.
Going Over Par: A Brief Explanation
There are eighteen holes in a standard golf course, and each hole has a specific par rating. This rating indicates the number of shots an average player takes to get the ball in that hole.
When you take fewer shots than the average to get the same hole, your performance is considered higher than average. The opposite is also true, which is why going over par is such a big deal.
So What Is A Par?
Par, in general, means “average,” “norm,” and even “median” in some contexts. A par in golf simply refers to the number of shots a golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. A masterful golfer might hole out with half as many shots as the par rating.
On the other hand, a beginner might make 18 bogeys in the course of a single game. “Par,” by definition, refers to the average, and it is hard to expect people with different experience levels to perform on par with each other.
Is Going Over Par Good Or Bad?
A high score is good in sports like basketball, soccer, and football. But in Golf, the point of achievement (holes) is fixed, and all players must complete all the holes.
Therefore, the competitive decision is made based on the number of shots one takes to complete a hole. The goal of a golfer is to hole out as much as he can with as few shots as possible.
Since the par rating refers to the average number of shots it takes to complete a hole, going over displays poor performance. If a hole is par-4, the average player makes four shots to finish it.
There’s a chance that someone aces that hole with a single shot. That would indicate that he is under par by 3 shots, which is great. But if the same player needs to make 7 shots to complete a hole that an average player completes in 4 shots, he’s over par by 3 shots, which is bad.
When getting into golf from a standard sports background, it is easy to confuse score for achievement.
But the score in golf doesn’t track achievement. It tracks attempts. The par rating is, therefore, the average attempts required, and needing more attempts is a sign of poor performance.
What Are The Consequences Of Going Over Par?
Once you start seeing “par” in golf as “average attempts,” you can easily see that going under par indicates good performance. But is par symbolic? Or are there consequences to going over it?
The par rating isn’t designed as an external judgment tool. It is designed as a self-assessment metric. When you go over par for a particular hole, you have a poorer-than-average performance for it. Going over par has no obligatory consequences, though.
You might make a bogey, but your opponent might make a triple bogey. In such a situation, you going over par means nothing because you’re still not as over par as your opponent.
It is tough to keep track of the score throughout 18 holes. So, trying to keep yourself under par is a good measure. If you go over par in one hole, you can go under par by the same degree in the next hole to even out your performance.
Going over par has consequences only when your opponent has been on par or under the par rating for most holes throughout the game.
Why Is There A Par Rating In Golf?
A par rating in golf is set to establish an average for expert golfers to achieve. It is a self-assessment tool that helps pro golfers keep track of their performance.
For new golfers and semi-serious amateurs, the par rating is aspirational. But for professional golfers, it is a baseline for the expected average, and falling below it means their performance is below average for their tier of performance.
How Much Can You Go Over Par In Golf?
You can go over par by up to 3 shots across 18 holes and recover even if you’re playing the tour. When playing golf with your friends, you can go over par by as many shots as you like as long as your overall score remains lower than theirs.
That said, you can expect the following golf performance in relation to par ratings for different contexts:
- Fresh Golfer – 24 to 48 net over par – When you start golf, you can take 100 to 120 shots to complete an 18-hole course. That’s a total of 24 to 48 shots over the expert par rating.
- A golfer with one month of experience -18 to 38 over par – With one month of practice, you can shave off 6 to 10 shots from your course completion, coming slightly close to the total par rating of all the holes in the course.
- A golfer with 6 months of experience – 10 to 28 over par – With 6 months of experience, you can expect to start completing some holes under par. If your overall performance is 10 over par, you’ve completed at least 8 holes on par.
- A golfer with 1 year of experience – 5 to 23 over par – After golfing for one year, you can start performing under par in more holes. However, you could still make multiple bogeys throughout the game, depending on how often you play.
- A golfer with 3 years of experience – 3 to 18 over par – With three years of experience, you can start performing net under par. But not all golfers train the same. Some golfers might take three years to reach the level where they make one bogey per hole throughout the game.
How To Reduce Bogeys In Golf?
Reducing bogeys can help you reduce your overall score in golf. But you cannot expect to eliminate bogeys, especially if you don’t have a decade of golfing experience. A realistic way to minimize bogeys in golf is to get more course time.
Here are a few things you can do to bring your performance closer to the net par of expert golfers.
- Play more strategically – Don’t try to ace every hole. Trying to get the perfect round will only increase the bogeys you make. Start thinking strategically and playing with the shots you have available in a par. For a par-4 hole, try to use all four shots in a way that each shot feeds the next.
- Practice more often – Nothing can replace practice in improving your game. So you have to practice more often to reduce bogeys.
- Get fitted for equipment – Golf is one of the few sports where you can get equipment customized to your height, physique, and natural swing. Getting equipment that maximizes your performance can minimize bogeys.
- Focus on your short game – Even if you don’t have time to play entire rounds, you can practice putting, pitching, and chipping. This can help you improve in areas where most bogeys are made.
- Don’t think about bogeys – Finally, as counterproductive as it might seem, not thinking about them is perhaps the best way to minimize them. When you start putting more emphasis on the par rating, you raise the mental stakes and get nervous.
The Golf Bogey: Final Thoughts
A bogey in golf refers to going over par by one shot. Unless you’re an expert golfer, you can expect to make at least 18 bogeys. The par rating for a hole is the average number of shots an expert golfer takes to complete a hole.
And unless you’re an expert, it is just an aspirational minimum you should try to achieve with regular practice and strategic gameplay.
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What Is a Bogey? Definition of the Golf Score
Pros don't like bogeys, but it's a good score for recreational golfers
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"Bogey" is one of the scoring terms used by golfers and the term "bogey" means the golfer made a score of 1-over par on an individual golf hole.
Par , remember, is the expected number of strokes it should take an expert golfer to complete a hole . Golf holes are generally rated as par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s, which means that an expert golf should need three strokes, four strokes, and five strokes, respectively, to play those holes.
The Specific Scores That Result in a Bogey
How many strokes does it take to make a bogey? That is related the par of the hole being played. Here are the bogey scores for each respective par:
- A score of 4 on a par-3 hole is a bogey;
- A score of 5 on a par-4 hole is a bogey;
- A score of 6 on a par-5 hole is a bogey.
Par-6 holes are uncommon, but golfers do occasionally encounter them. A bogey on a par-6 hole means the golfer used 7 strokes to play that hole.
Keep in mind that although bogey is a score that an expert golfer is usually disappointed with, very few of us are expert golfers ! Most recreational golfers aren't displeased when recording a bogey. Depending on your skill level, making a bogey might even be one of the highlights of your round.
Also, keep in mind that even for the very best golfers - those that play the professional tours - bogeys are not rare. Most professional golfers score one or two bogeys during a round. (It's just that they also make lots of pars and birdies to offset their occasional bogeys.)
In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 1974 Greater New Orleans Open to find a PGA Tour golfer who won a tournament without making a single bogey over the 72 holes of the event. That was Lee Trevino . (In 2016, Brian Stuard won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans — same tournament as Trevino! — without making a single bogey, but that event was shortened to 54 holes due to bad weather.)
How Did 'Bogey' Become a Golf Term?
Yes, the golf term "bogey" is related to the Bogey Man. And golfers definitely don't enjoy letting the Bogey Man get us!
But you might be surprised to learn that when bogey first entered the golf lexicon , in the 1890s, its meaning was different than the way we use it today. It was closer to the modern definition of "par" in meaning.
Other Forms and Uses of 'Bogey' in Golf
The term "bogey" shows up in several other golf terms. A bogey golfer is a golfer whose average score is about 1-over par per hole (e.g., a golfer who usually shoots around 90), but that term also has a specific meaning within the USGA Handicap System. "Bogey rating" is another handicap term and refers to an estimate of a golf course's degree of difficulty for "average golfers." That measurement is used by the USGA in its course rating system.
But the most common variations of "bogey" are found in additional scoring terms. Higher scores than 1-over par still incorporate the term bogey, but add a modifier. Here is how it works:
- Bogey: 1-over par on a hole
- Double bogey : 2-over par on a hole
- Triple bogey : 3-over par on a hole
- Quadruple bogey : 4-over par on a hole
And so on. Although when you start getting up into the quintuple and sextuple bogeys, it's probably best not to put a label on it.
A "bogey putt" is a putt that, if the golfer makes it, results in a score of bogey on the hole.
"Bogie" is a common misspelling of "bogey." Bogey used as a verb means to play the hole in 1-over par: "I need to bogey the final hole to finish under 90." The past tense is "bogeyed" (sometimes spelled "bogied"); the past participle is "bogeyed" and the gerund or present participle is "bogeying."
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- How Golf Handicaps Work: Overview of Their Role and Function
- What You Need to Know About Golf's World Handicap System
- How to Play the Stableford or Modified Stableford Golf Format
- Equitable Stroke Control in Golf and Maximum Scores Per Hole
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