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In Golf, what is a Bogey?

By J. Beam
Updated May 23, 2024
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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.

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.

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Discussion Comments
By anon950303 — On May 09, 2014

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

By anon150229 — On Feb 07, 2011

why bogey? while other scores are names of birds.

By BabyBoomer67 — On Aug 19, 2010

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.

By anon102250 — On Aug 07, 2010

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

By GeminiMama — On Jul 01, 2010

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.

By DocZ — On Jul 07, 2009

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

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