bogey golf

What is a Bogey in Golf?

What is a Bogey in Golf?

A bogey is a scoring term in golf that stands for one stroke above par. Here are examples of scoring a bogey on different par holes:

  • 4 strokes on a par-3 hole
  • 5 strokes on a par-4 hole
  • 6 strokes on a par-5 hole

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Where did the word Bogey come from?

According to the website, they credit the golf term “Bogey” for originating in the British Isles in the 1890’s. It came from a song called “The Bogey Man” which was an elusive character “I’m the Bogey Man, catch me if you can”.

This caught on in Scotland as they related this to golf and how elusive a perfect score in golf is. Golfers bogey more frequently than they par making the perfect score difficult to achieve.

The word Bogey began showing up in the golf rule books under the title Bogey Competitions.

Par, Birdie, and Eagle starting catching on as golf terms in the 1910’s and as par became established, bogey began being used to represent 1 stroke above par.

Is Bogey a Bad Golf Score?

Scoring a bogey, means you didn’t score par, but is this a bad score to achieve? It depends on how skilled of a golfer you are.

For professional golfers, low handicap golfers and scratch golfers, a bogey will feel like a bad score. These highly skilled golfers expect to score pars and birdies and a bogey feels like a setback on the scorecard to them.

For beginners and new players to the game of golf, achieving a bogey might be a great score if it’s better than their usual score of double bogey, triple bogey, and worse scores on the scorecard.

A brand new golfer who scores above 100+ for 18 holes of golf would be thrilled to play a round of golf as a bogey golfer and score bogey on every hole to achieve a score of 90 or below.

So while bogey might be a bad score for professional golfers competing for high stakes on the PGA and LPGA Tours, it can be a good score for the less skilled golfers who are trying to improve and learn the game of golf and become consistent bogey scorers instead of triple bogies.

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Double Bogey, Triple Bogey, Quadruple Bogey

Eagle, Birdie, Par, Bogey were all unique creative names to represent different scores on the scorecard, but once we get to bogey, the names stopped being creative.

Instead, golfers coined the terms double bogey, triple bogey, and quadruple bogey, to represent the additional strokes above par. These scores are worse than bogey and shouldn’t be desired on a scorecard.

Here’s what these golf words stand for:

  • “Double Bogey” stands for 2-over par
  • “Triple Bogey” stands for 3-over par
  • “Quadruple Bogey” stands for 4-over par

For example, if you are playing a par-3, a double bogey would be scoring a 5, and if you score a 7 on the par-3 that would be considered a quadruple bogey.

Golf Handicap Score Adjustments

Once you establish a golf handicap, you’re only allowed to take down certain scores based on your handicap index.

The USGA lets you adjust your score on the hole to take a maximum stroke total for that hole based on your handicap so that blow up holes don’t severely ruin your golf handicap.

Use this chart here for adjusting your score:

  • 40 or above handicap – max score of 10
  • 30-39 handicap – Max score of 9
  • 20-29 handicap – Max score of 8
  • 10-19 handicap – Max score of 7
  • 0-9 handicap – Max score of double bogey

As you can see from the chart, golfers with single digit handicaps (o to 9) can only take a double bogey as their worst score. So if a low handicap player would score a 10 on a par-5, for example, they would write down a 7 for the par-5 to represent the adjusted score of double bogey which is the maximum they’re allowed for handicap scoring.

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How Many Bogeys Per Round on Average?

Professional golfers make 4 to 5 bogeys on the scorecard per round on average. Even though they are the best golfers in the world, a bogey is still a score they make 20-25% of the holes played during their round of golf.

Scratch golfers with low handicaps average around 4 to 5 bogeys per round.

Golfers who average in the 80’s usually make 5 to 7 bogeys per round and then 1 to 2 double bogeys.

Golfer’s who average 90-100 scores usually make 5 to 6 bogeys per round and then they also average 5 to 6 double bogeys and a couple triple bogeys.

Golfers who score 100+ for 18 holes average only 3 to 5 bogeys per round as the majority of their scores are double bogey, triple bogey, or worse on the scorecard.

How Many Bogeys to Break 80 in Golf?

If you want to break 80 in golf (which means score below 80), then you have to limit the big numbers of the scorecard and focus on making mostly pars as well as a few bogeys.

To score below 80 for 18 holes, you would need to make at least 11 pars and no more than 7 bogeys. This would give you a score of +7 above par which on a Par-72 golf course would be a 79.

If you make a birdie, you can afford to make an extra bogey as they’ll cancel each other out as if you made two pars.

For example, if you make 2 birdies, 7 pars, and 9 bogeys, you can still score a 79 (+7 over par). The two birdies allowed you to make 2 extra bogeys for a total of 9 bogeys instead of 7 bogeys.

If you make a score worse than bogey, like a double, then you need to make one less bogey and one extra par to cancel out the double bogey.

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