What Is a Golf Bogey? Golf Terms Explained + 5 Steps to Recover from one

If you’re a new golfer, you may have heard one of your playing partners say, “You made a bogey there.” Naturally, you join in the laughter and continue playing. Even though you have a lingering question, you’re hesitant to ask. What exactly does the term “bogey” mean in golf?

A golf bogey refers to surpassing the expected score for a hole by one shot. Each hole has a designated par score, and if you take more shots than the par set for that particular hole, you will record a bogey on your scorecard.

In this article we will cover the following:

  • What is a Bogey in Golf? 
  • Is It a Bogey or Bogie?
  • Is Scoring a Bogey Bad?
  • What Is a Double Bogey?
  • What Is a Triple Bogey?
  • How Common Are Bogeys In The Professional Game?
  • How To Recover From a Bogey? 5 Steps

Let’s dive in!

what is a bogey in golf

What is a Bogey in Golf? 

Golf bogey refers to scoring one stroke above par on a hole. Par is the predetermined number of strokes a golfer must take to complete a hole or an entire course. 

So, if a hole is a par 4 and you take 5 strokes to complete it, you have scored a bogey. Essentially, a golf bogey signifies that you fell short of the expected performance on a specific hole. 

Just because a bogey scores one stroke above par doesn’t mean it’s inherently a bad score. The average golfer aims to achieve a golf bogey or better on each subsequent hole.

golfer putting ball into hole for a bogey

Is It a Bogey or Bogie?

As discussed earlier, the term “Bogey” refers to a score of one stroke over par.

On the other hand, “bogie” is an older term that is occasionally used to refer to a player who consistently scores one stroke over par throughout a round or a tournament.

In modern usage, the distinction between the terms has blurred, and both “bogey” and “bogie” are used to describe a score of one stroke over par on an individual hole.

The term “bogie” is primarily used in British English and is more commonly encountered in golfing contexts within the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. 

While “bogie” may be used in specific regions or by individuals who prefer British English, “bogey” remains the more commonly used and recognized term in the broader golfing community worldwide.

golfer swinging driver

Is Scoring a Golf Bogey Bad?

Making a golf bogey can be good or bad, depending on how skilled a golfer is. It’s one of those expressions that many golfers interpret differently. Golf is a very challenging sport to play. The number of strokes that professional golfers anticipate taking to accomplish a hole determines the par score for a given hole. 

In light of this, scoring a golf bogey, or “one over par,” on a hole is a respectable result for beginner golfers.

Most golfers would be content with the moniker “bogey golfer.” This implies that, on average, they can play a golf course, taking one shot over par on each hole.

Golf Bogey: For Beginners

For beginners, golf bogeys are common and are generally not considered a cause for concern. 

A beginner may need help to achieve bogeys on each hole consistently. 

As a beginner, it is essential to focus on improving your skills, understanding the game, and gradually reducing your scores.

Scoring bogeys can serve as a motivational milestone for beginners. It indicates progress and provides a tangible goal to work towards. 

As you continue to practice and develop your skills, you will gradually be able to reduce your scores and aim for pars or even birdies.

beginner golfer trying not to get a bogey

Golf Bogey: Average Golfer

For an average golfer, scoring golf bogeys signifies playing competently and that they can navigate the course reasonably well.

They may have a mix of pars, bogeys, and occasionally a birdie or two during a round. Average golfers understand that not every hole will result in par, and a bogey is an acceptable outcome in many situations. 

They must focus on minimizing mistakes, improving their course management, and honing their skills to aim for more pars and fewer bogeys. 

An average golfer’s key aspect is avoiding “big numbers.” Big numbers refer to scores significantly higher than bogeys, such as double, triple, or worse. 

These scores can significantly impact a golfer’s average score and harm their round. An average golfer can maintain a respectable scorecard with mostly bogeys and the occasional par or birdie by focusing on consistent play and avoiding major mistakes.

pro golfer taking shot on a 3 par

Golf Bogey: Professional

Professional golfers aim to score below par on each hole and achieve as many birdies as possible. 

They meticulously analyze the course, strategize their shots, and have a deep understanding of their abilities. Professional golfers aim to minimize mistakes and avoid bogeys at all costs. 

They also focus on quickly recovering from a bogey and striving for birdies to counterbalance setbacks. 

Professional golfers have the skill, experience, and mental fortitude to adapt quickly to changing conditions and maintain a high level of performance throughout a round.

What Is a Double Bogey in Golf?

A double bogey occurs when a golfer scores two strokes above par on a hole. Using the earlier example of a par 4 hole, scoring a 6 would result in a double bogey. 

Double bogeys are considered more challenging to recover from and can significantly impact a player’s scorecard. 

Professional golfers strive to avoid double bogeys as they can quickly derail their chances of victory.

golf cart on fairway

What Is a Triple Bogey in Golf?

A triple bogey is used when a golfer scores three strokes above par on a hole. 

Continuing with the example of a par 4, scoring a 7 would result in a triple bogey. Like double bogeys, triple bogeys are difficult to recover from and can severely impact a player’s overall score. 

Minimizing golf triple bogeys is crucial for maintaining a competitive position in any golf game.

How Common Are Bogeys In The Professional Game?

The key for professionals is to manage bogeys with birdies and eagles to maintain a low overall score. 

Even the best golfers may score a few bogeys on challenging courses with demanding hole layouts and tough pin positions. 

However, the top professionals aim to keep their golf bogey count to a minimum, as every stroke counts when competing against other elite players.

In 2021, the average number of bogeys per round in the PGA tour was 2.50. Patrick Cantlay, the winner of the tour championship, ended the season with an average of 2.03 bogeys per round.

By comparing this score to another skilled player like Rory McIlroy, who had an average of 2.64 bogeys per round, we can understand the impact a golf bogey has on the average score in that level of golf.

driving range golfers

How To Recover From a Bogey? 5 Steps

Here are five steps you can use to recover from a golf bogey;

Step #1: Take 10 Steps

Rather than suppressing your emotions, adopt the strategy that Tiger Woods has used for years: 

Allow yourself to feel anger or frustration about the shot you’ve just taken for the duration of 10 steps. Once you reach the 11th step, leave those emotions behind and move forward.

Step #2: Control Your Breathing

Managing your heart rate and breath after a golf bogey is important.

Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for five seconds. Hold the breath in for another five seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth for five seconds. 

Repeat this breathing pattern as you move toward the next tee. 

golfer at sunset

Step #3: Adjust Strategy

Evaluate your game plan and make necessary adjustments. Consider factors like wind, course conditions, and your own abilities. 

If you notice a recurring mistake, such as consistently missing to one side, make a conscious effort to correct it in your subsequent shots.

Step #4: Stick to Your Routine

Maintain a consistent pre-shot routine to help you regain your rhythm and confidence. 

By following a familiar routine, you create a sense of stability and control, which can positively impact your performance.

golfer on fairway

Step #5: Focus On The “Bounce Back”

The PGA Tour utilizes a statistic called “bounce back” to monitor how players respond after making a bogey or worse. 

This metric serves as a valuable tool in assessing your ability to rebound after a disappointing hole while also enhancing your mental acuity. 

It’s crucial to swiftly shift your focus and adopt the mindset of reclaiming a shot on the upcoming hole. 

The most exceptional players in the world excel at setting aside their poor performances and tackling the next challenge head-on.

golfers in golf cart having fun

Key Takeaways: Scoring Bogeys In Golf

A bogey in golf refers to scoring one stroke above par on a hole. Bogeys are common in golf and can impact a player’s average score.

It’s not necessarily a bad score and can be respectable for beginners and average golfers. Professional golfers aim to minimize bogeys and score below par. 

Recovering from a bogey involves managing emotions, controlling breathing, adjusting strategy, sticking to a routine, and focusing on the next shot. 

Up Next: Irons Vs Hybrids: Distance Charts, Loft + Differences

Photo of author
After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.