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In Golf, what is a Bogey?

A bogey in golf is a score of one stroke over par for a hole, reflecting a slight deviation from the expected performance. It's a term that resonates with both the challenge and charm of the game, marking a player's dance with precision and skill. Curious about how bogeys can affect your overall game? Let's delve deeper into golf scores and strategies.
J. Beam
J. Beam

In the sport of golf, a bogey is the same as a score of one over par. The term has been used for over a century, though originally, it was used for a round of golf shot at par rather than one over. In both professional and recreational golf, par is the standard number of shots, or swings, that it should take to complete a given hole or course. If a par 4 hole is completed in 5 swings, the player has scored a bogey. Similarly, on a course with a par 52, a score of 53 would be considered a bogey.

A bogey is not an uncommon score in professional golf. Recreational golfers consequentially are pleased with such a score. The term also goes beyond one swing over par to two and three. A score of two strokes over par is called a double bogey and three strokes over is referred to as a triple bogey. Though the term could increase to quadruple, quintuple, and so forth, general golfing terms halt the use of the word at triple and simply refer to any higher score by the number of shots taken.

If a golfer completes a 4-par hole in five swings, she scores a bogey.
If a golfer completes a 4-par hole in five swings, she scores a bogey.

In professional golf, most players complete a normal hole at or below par. However, it is not uncommon for a player to bogey if he or she miscalculates a swing, lands in a hazard, or misses a long put. In competitions where several rounds are played out, the score may be considered good, if not great.

Many people confuse the term bogey with birdie, which is the golfing term used to indicate one stroke under par rather than over. A birdie does not double when a player is two under par. The golfing term indicating two under par is eagle and the term for three under par, which is generally a term reserved for an overall score rather than the score for an individual hole, is albatross or double eagle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a bogey in golf?

A bogey in golf refers to a score of one stroke over par for any given hole. Par is the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to complete a hole, so a bogey indicates a slightly above-average performance on that hole. For example, if a hole is a par-4 and a golfer takes 5 strokes to sink the ball, they have made a bogey.

How did the term "bogey" originate in golf?

The term "bogey" originated in the late 19th century at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England. It was based on a popular music hall song of the time, "The Bogey Man," and was used to describe a standard score that a good player might be expected to make. The term was later adopted to mean one over par, as the concept of par became standardized in golf scoring.

Is a bogey considered a bad score in golf?

Whether a bogey is considered a bad score in golf largely depends on the skill level of the player. For professional golfers and low-handicap amateurs, a bogey is generally seen as a suboptimal score. However, for casual players and those with higher handicaps, making a bogey can be quite satisfactory, as it still indicates relatively competent play on a challenging course.

How does a bogey compare to birdies and eagles in golf?

In golf, a bogey is one stroke over par, while a birdie is one stroke under par, and an eagle is two strokes under par. Therefore, a bogey represents a less desirable score than a birdie or an eagle. Birdies and eagles are considered excellent achievements and are indicative of superior play, while bogeys suggest room for improvement.

Can a bogey still help a golfer win a tournament?

Yes, a bogey can still help a golfer win a tournament, especially in situations where minimizing losses is crucial. Golf is a game of consistency and strategy, and sometimes making a bogey instead of risking a double bogey or worse can be a smart play. Over the course of a tournament, it's the total score that matters, and a few bogeys among a majority of pars or better can still lead to victory.

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Discussion Comments


There is something niggling at the back of my head that says that the Scottish term for a gannet is bogey!


why bogey? while other scores are names of birds.


anon102250- In simple terms, if you didn't make par on the shot, a bogey is each additional swing you take to get the ball in the hole. So if the hole has a par 3 and it takes you 4 swings, you got one bogey.

But remember, the more swings you take, the more are added to your final score. You should try going for the birdie; getting the ball in with one stroke under par. In the par 3 hole try and make it in just two strokes. Good luck.


is a bogey bad? I played it on Wii and I'm confused. I thought it was good but i don't know. Help.


I have played professional golf once and couldn’t complete the course because I got tired. I have played miniature golf with my kids, but we don’t complete the course because they get tired.

In fact, the only golf game we’ve ever completed was on the golf video game at home. When you shoot a bogey the game displays the word on the screen afterward and cheers and claps. Well my young son read ‘bogey’ as ‘booger’ and didn’t understand why it was a good thing. We all laughed so hard and explained what a bogey was.


I've always wondered where the term bogey actually comes from - why is it called a bogey?

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    • If a golfer completes a 4-par hole in five swings, she scores a bogey.
      By: JJAVA
      If a golfer completes a 4-par hole in five swings, she scores a bogey.