Bogey Golf – The Scoring Term Explained

A close up of golf call near the golf course hole and a golfer is observing the shot.

The scores in golf are represented by different names. One of them is bogey. This article deciphers the meaning of bogey and how it affects the game.

Bogey is a golf term that means a golfer has scored one over par on a particular hole, whereas bogey golf is a scoring system that combines elements of stroke play and match play. It is one of the most important concepts to understand and master if you want to play golf better.

Examples of bogeys include:

  • Four strokes on a par-3 hole
  • Five strokes on a par-4 hole
  • Six strokes on a par-5 holes

Types of Bogey

Scores worse than a bogey are classified as:

  • “Double Bogey” is a score of 2 strokes over par on any individual hole.
  • “Triple Bogey” – A score of 3 strokes over par on any individual hole.
  • “Quadruple Bogey”– It is a score of 4 strokes over par on any individual hole.

For example, five strokes on a par 3 would be a double bogey, and nine strokes on a par 5 would be a quadruple bogey.

Bogey based on skill level

A bogey is a golf stroke-play score assigned to a player who completes a hole one stroke over par. It is typically used to refer to a player’s score on a single hole, but it can also be used to refer to a player’s total score for a round. As mentioned earlier, it depends on the golfers’ skill level. Let’s analyze this in detail: 

1. Beginner golfer

Par on a course is what most experienced golfers target. But beginners, on average, get at least a double bogey per hole, if not higher. In comparison, scoring a bogey is a better start for a beginner.

2. Average Players

Most commonly, recreational golfers do not play as much as pro golfers, so it’s obvious that they have considerably lower skill levels. Getting a bogey totally depends on the player’s exact handicap, so a casual golfer’s bogey can be viewed as anywhere between average to above-average scores.

3. Professional golfer

In the case of professional golfers, scoring a bogey is considered extremely bad. This is because a bogey denotes a score of one over par (+1), which means the golfer needs one more stroke than the number of strokes required to complete the hole. 

Professional players always expect to shoot par or even below par, so a bogey can signify that they did not play as well as they should have.

The history behind the term – Bogey

As per the USGA, the term “bogey” in golf originated from a song that was popular during the early 1890s in the British Isles named “The Bogey Man.” This was later named “The Colonel Bogey March.” The character of the song was an elusive figure who always hid in the shadows and said – “I am the bogey man, catch me if you can.”

In the late 1890s, golfers in Scotland and England adopted the concept of a “Bogey Man” to reflect an ideal score that all skilled players should be able to achieve under perfect conditions. 

As such, ‘bogey scores’ became associated with stroke play tournaments explaining why early rules books contain details about regulations for ‘Bogey Competitions.’ The hunt for this mysterious Bogey Man is likened to finding perfection on the green!

At the dawn of this century, the idea of ‘Par’ arose to signify how many strokes a scratch player could possibly hit in ideal circumstances. Nowadays, par is used as an average term in sports handicapping and simply implies “level” or “equal.” 

At first glance, it may be perplexing why Par differs from Bogey; however, this originates from its purpose: to recognize golfers who score below par (better than expected) versus those scoring above (worse than intended).

Bogey golfer handicap index

In golf, a handicap index is a numerical measure of a player’s potential ability, based on their past scores. It is used to adjust a player’s score in relation to the course’s par rating to determine a more equitable score for players of different skill levels.

The USGA handicap index for a bogey golfer would typically be around 20 for a male bogey golfer and 24 for a female bogey golfer. This means that, on a course with a rating of 70, a bogey golfer with a handicap index of 20 would receive strokes on the holes where they typically score higher than one over par, and they would be required to play the holes where they score lower than one over par without a stroke.

The average score of 90 is given a handicap of 15. That is the average handicap of all US male golfers. A golfer shooting 90 on a par-72 golf course is an incredible accomplishment for the average score by bogey golfers. This is only if they get bogey on every hole!

Achieving this feat can be an incredibly satisfying moment after all those rounds with your buddies. 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.

Bogey golf format

If you are playing against an opponent and they score a bogey on each hole, then you need to give them the traditional bogey as described above.

You have to use your discretion if you play this competition with yourself as an improvement game. Typically the bogey score is the same as the par on the scorecard, but on roughly six holes, it’s one shot higher than the par.

Bogey Competitions In Golf courses

In a bogey competition, each hole is worth one point, and the golfer with the most points at the end of the round is the winner. In the event of a tie, the tie is broken by comparing the scores on the last nine holes, then the last six, then the last three, and finally, the 18th hole. If the tie still cannot be broken, the prize money is typically split evenly among the tied players.

Bogey competitions can be held as standalone events or as part of a larger golf tournament. They are often used as a way to make golf more accessible to players of all skill levels, as it allows players to compete on a level playing field.It also allows for a wider range of scores to be considered competitive.

Some golf courses may also offer bogey competitions as a way for players to compete in a more relaxed, informal setting without the pressure of trying to shoot their lowest score possible.


A bogey in golf is a score that is one over par on any given hole. It can be achieved by an average golfer and is an achievable goal for all golfers. Bogey represents a good score and can be a great goal to strive for. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, bogey can be a great way to measure your progress in the game of golf.


In golf, a bogey is a score on a hole that is one stroke over par. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and a golfer takes 5 strokes to complete the hole, they would have made a bogey. Therefore, a bogey-free round of golf means that the golfer did not make any bogeys on any of the holes during their round.

A bogey-free round is also known as a “clean” round or a “round without blemishes.” It requires a combination of good shot-making, solid course management, and a bit of luck.

To go bogey-free in a round of golf is considered a very good accomplishment, as it means that the golfer was able to complete each hole in at least par or better. It is especially impressive if the golfer is playing a course considered challenging or if the golfer is a handicapped player.

In golf, par is the predetermined number of strokes in which a skilled golfer is expected to complete a hole. Bogey is one stroke over par. So, in general, par is considered better than bogey because it represents a score equal to or lower than expected for a skilled golfer.

However, it is important to note that a golfer’s individual goals and expectations may affect whether they consider par or bogey to be better. For example, a high handicapped golfer who is just starting to learn the game may consider a bogey to be a good score if they are able to consistently score around that level. On the other hand, a low handicap golfer may consider a bogey to be a disappointment if they are used to consistently shooting scores that are well below par.

Ultimately, the best score is the one that the golfer is happiest with, and that helps them achieve their goals on the course.

Scoring a bogey is sometimes bad as it comes down to the golfing ability. It is the case, especially with low handicappers, scratch players, and pros who expect more than just a bogey from each hole or for par or even better!

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