What Is A Bogey In Golf? (We Have Your Answer)

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One of the scoring terms used in golf is called a “bogey.” When you score a bogey in golf, it implies that you made a score of 1-over par on any individual golf hole. Par is the expected number of strokes that it would take an expert golfer to complete a hole. The holes on a course vary from par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s, which indicates that a skilled golfer would need 3, 4, and 5 strokes to complete them successfully.

A bogey in golfing terms is when you play an extra stroke to what is considered par for an individual hole. For example, when a hole is expected to be completed in three strokes or less (par 3), and you finish the hole in four strokes, you would have scored a bogey on that specific hole.

You have to remember that golf courses are designed with expert golfers in mind—the type of golfers who regularly make par, birdies, and even eagles on the holes. An average golfer aims to be a bogey golfer, while a professional golfer aims to be a bogey-free one. This article will discuss the history of the bogey, what it means to be a bogey golfer, when a bogey is bad, and when it’s good.

History Of The Bogey

To fully understand how the term “bogey” came to be a part of modern-day golf, we have to go back as far as the end of the 19th century in England, where the term “bogey” was first used in their stroke systems.

When the year 1890 rolled around, a certain Mr. Hugh Rotherham – Secretary of the Coventry Golf Club –had the idea of standardizing the total number of shots at each hole that a good golfer should be able to play, which he called the “ground score.”

Dr. Browne, Secretary of the Great Yarmouth Club, adopted Mr. Rotherham’s idea, and in agreement with the club’s golfers, introduced this new style of competition in the club’s match play. During one of these match play competitions’, a certain Mr. CA Wellman exclaimed to Mr. Browne, “This player of yours is a regular Bogey man.” 

Mr. Wellman probably said this sentence in reference to an Edwardian music hall song, “Hush! Hush! Hush! Here comes the Bogey Man!” which was a very popular song at the time. At Yarmouth Club and other clubs around the country, the “ground score” now became known as the “bogey” score.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, they had the term “bogle,” which originated in the 16th century, and the term “Bogey-Man” was widely used to describe a goblin or devil. The golfers at the time, when measuring themselves against the bogey score, would pretend to be playing against Mr. Bogey.

During the year 1892, the Hon Secretary of the United Services Club at Gosport- Colonel Seely-Vidalworked out the bogey score for the United Club. All the playing members had a military rank. These ranking officials could not measure themselves against a simple ‘Mister’ Bogey, so ‘he’ was given the honorary rank of Colonel, and the term ‘Colonel Bogey’ was born.

English newspaper Field: The Country Gentleman’s Newspaper reported on the 2nd of January 1892 of a novelty being introduced in the shape of a bogey tournament that included a prize. Fourteen couples started that day, but the bogey defeated them all.

What Is Par In Golf?

It makes sense to explain what par refers to in golf. That will give you a better understanding of what the term bogey refers to in golf.

Par is the pre-established number of strokes that a skilled (scratch, zero handicap) golfer should require to complete a hole, around (the total of all the par scores of all the holes played), or a tournament (the sum of the pars of each round).

The holes on a golf course are typically assigned par values (the expected number of shots for a skilled golfer to complete the specific hole) between three and five. A typical 18-hole golf course will have a total par round of 72 strokes.

What Is A Bogey In Golf?

After reading about the history of how the term bogey came about, it is interesting to note that the bogey has always had some negative connotations. Modern-day golfers will probably not know a lot about playing against the ‘Bogey Man’ or ‘Colonel Bogey.’

Professional golfers, however, still view them as some gremlin if they pop up too much in their game. Bogeys can destroy a tournament if hit too often during play, with cut-offs and minimum scores that usually apply at these exclusive tournaments.

Fast-forward to modern golf, and the term bogey is easily explained:

ParNumber Of StrokesTerm And Score
34Bogey: + 1
46Double-Bogey: + 2
58Triple-Bogey: + 3
610Quadruple-Bogey: + 4

A bogey is scored when a golfer makes a score of one stroke over par:

  • Takes the golfer 4-strokes to finish a hole that should take him 3-strokes (Par 3) (+1)

A double-bogey is scored when a golfer makes a score of two strokes over par:

  • It takes the golfer 6-strokes to finish a hole that should take him 4-strokes (Par 4) (+2)

A triple bogey is scored when a golfer makes a score of three strokes over par:

  • It takes the golfer 8-strokes to finish a hole that should take him 5-strokes (Par 5) (+3)

A quadruple-bogey is scored when a golfer makes a score of four strokes over par:

  • It takes the golfer 10-strokes to finish a hole that should take him 6-strokes (Par 6) (+4)

Is A Bogey Good Or Bad In Golf?

These days golfers know that hitting too many bogeys destroys a round of golf in a matter of minutes. A bogey is not your friend if you are a professional golfer, and they hate filling a bogey score in on their scorecard. Not so much for the amateur bogey golfer.

To answer this question, we have to separate golfers into two groups: Professional and non-professional golfers. For a professional golfer to hit a bogey here and there will not be the end of the world as they will surely count on themselves to hit a couple of birdies or more in a typical round of golf. The same can’t be said for the average amateur golfer.

When Is A Bogey Bad In Golf?

A bogey scored by a low handicap, scratch, or professional golfer, will be seen as a bad score for the specific hole by the golfer. These golfers always aim for a par score or less on every hole they play! And they back their skills to do just that. Dropping a shot for these skilled golfers is considered a bad thing, and they will be very disappointed with themselves when this happens.

The bogey average per round for most professional golfers is between 2-3 per round when taking their total bogeys over the rounds of golf they have played over the year. The PGA Tour average stands at 2.82 bogeys per round of golf. The course being played will influence these averages as some golf courses are easier than others.

The PGA Tour birdie average stands at 3.56 birdies per round of golf. This stat is indicative of a professional golfer’s ability to make amends for a bogey with a birdie. It also highlights that even though one or two bogeys could happen during their round of golf, on average, they should be able to bounce right back from this type of setback by hitting par and birdies in the holes that follow.

However, when they start hitting double- and triple-bogeys, it can ruin the round of golf and put severe pressure on the pro golfer to progress to the next round. Bogeys are part and parcel of golf, and every golfer will have a bogey hole here and there. Scoring a bogey is seen at that moment as a bad thing by the golfer experiencing it and puts some pressure on them when moving on to the next hole.

A bogey is considered bad when a golfer has played an excellent hole, only throwing it away by missing an easy put or two. For example, a golfer hits the green on a par 5 with only 3 shots, putting his 4th shot to a couple of inches to the hole, only to miss the par putt to end with a bogey.

When Is A Bogey Good In Golf?

A bogey would be considered solid in the following circumstance. A pro golfer hits his drive on a par 3 and lands in the trees. The ball lies behind a tree, and navigating through it seems impossible. The golfer then hits the ball ever so lightly to the fairway away from the tree. His next approach shot hits the green leaving him with a 20-yard putt. Sinking the putt for a bogey will be considered a good score when you take the drama beforehand into consideration.

The level that you operate at will also determine if a bogey is a good result for you personally. If you play at a handicap at or near 18 (bogey golfer), then hitting a bogey at most holes is seen as a good result and typical of your skill level. If your skill level is worse than a bogey golfer, for example, 25+, then a bogey becomes an even better outcome.

Individual holes also play a role in determining if a bogey is good or not. Some holes are long and difficult, add a few hazards to the mix, it can be challenging for any golfer to play. There will be times that a bogey will be acknowledged as a good result on a very challenging hole.

A non-professional golfer constantly hitting a bogey on each hole will be their main aim and a satisfying result. According to the National Golf Foundation, the average score for a round of 18-holes is 100 strokes. If the average non-professional golfer manages to bogey all 18-holes, it will leave them with a score of 90, which is below the national average! If you are personally trying to break a score of 100, scoring bogeys on every hole will be a considerable accomplishment and get you closer to your target score.

A bogey is seen as a good score for most amateur golfers as their skill levels are nowhere near that of a professional golfer. That is just the way it is. Comparing yourself to the golfers you see on television will only take the fun out of your game. A bogey will only be seen as a good score for a professional golfer if they rescued a hole that had the potential for a much higher score due to hitting a water-hazard, bunker, or an out-of-bounds shot.


Throughout history until today, the dreaded bogey has been a thorn in many a golfer’s sides. The ‘Bogey Man’ was to be avoided at all costs. Today, the scoring of a bogey, +1 on a par hole, is viewed differently depending on the golfer’s skill level.

A professional golfer is not a big fan of scoring a bogey. They realize that too many bogeys over a round of golf could potentially halt their progress into the next round, and cost them in terms of prize money, ranking, and ultimately winning golf championships. The only time that they don’t mind scoring a bogey was when the potential was there to score double bogeys, even triple bogeys, due to mistakes made by them earlier on the hole.

Moving on to a typical amateur golfer with a handicap of 20+ or more, you will see a different reaction to scoring a bogey. You could call it a celebratory attitude whenever scoring a bogey. Because a bogey golfer and some higher handicapped players don’t expect to make par on every hole, a bogey essentially becomes their par according to their skill level.

Ultimately, your skill level will determine if a bogey is a good or bad result!


What Is a Bogey in Golf? A Detailed Explanation – Coaching Kidz

What is a Bogey in Golf? Golfing Terms Explained for Everyone (golfspan.com)

Meaning of Golf Words – Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross – Scottish Golf History