What’s A Bogey In Golf

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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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with Augusta.com. He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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