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What Is A Bogey In Golf? – Explained!

What Is A Bogey In Golf?
What Is A Bogey In Golf?

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the word “bogey”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does “bogey” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a bogey is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is A Bogey In Golf?

In golf, a bogey designates the act of completing a golf hole with one stroke over par. In other words, scoring a bogey is when you complete a golf hole with one more stroke than the par number. For example, if a golf hole is a par 5 hole, completing that hole in 6 golf strokes results in a bogey.

In the great game of golf, the term “bogey” is a word that is fairly common on golf courses, especially on smaller holes like par 3 golf holes.

In golf, scoring a bogey means that a golfer completed a golf hole with one more stroke than the amount of strokes indicated by the par number. A bogey is the act of completing a golf hole with one stroke over par.

The general formula to know if you scored a bogey is the following:

A bogey is scored if and only if:

(Strokes required to complete a hole) – (Par number for that hole) = +1

You can read a real-world example of a bogey scored, down below.


Luke is not the best golfer. He gets ready to tee off in front of a par 5 golf hole.

Eventually, Luke completes the hole in 6 strokes.

(Strokes required) – Par = 6 – 5 = +1 score for the hole

Therefore, as his score is +1 for the hole, Luke scored a bogey.

To make things as simple as possible for you to know if you scored a bogey, refer yourself to the following chart:

Par Number for the HoleExact Shots Taken to Get a Bogey
Exact Shots Taken To Get A Bogey VS Par Number For A Given Hole

Scoring a bogey is not a great thing to accomplish in golf, although it can be a decent score for beginners. Scoring a bogey is generally viewed as not ideal. Scoring a bogey will generally not raise any applause or cheer from the spectators in the crowd.

Scoring a bogey on a given golf hole means you required one more stroke than the average scratch golfer; scratch golfers are defined as excellent golf players. This means you are a bit under the skill level of a scratch golfer.

Bogeys are known to be very common on a golf course, as opposed to birdies and eagles, because they do not require that much skill to pull off. Whereas birdies require excellent performance to score, bogeys are more the result of making a mistake.

If you are currently scoring many bogeys, then you should probably work a lot on your short game (putting on the green), as that is where the most unforgiving mistakes are often made. Great players avoid bogeys by always putting the ball in the hole in one or two putts.

Additionally, focus on going for safe golf shots instead of going for the perfect yet risky golf shot that will get you in the perfect set-up for your next shot. You will score a lot fewer bogeys and more pars if you avoid mistakes by going for safe value shots.

Linguistic historians claim that the origin of the word bogey in golf comes from an 1890’s song called “The Bogey Man”, commonly sung in the British Isles. The Bogey Man was known as a stealthy character who hides in the dark shadows, rarely seen.

Continuing down this train of thought, golfers started to equate the idea of a “Bogey” as being the perfect golf score a golfer could reach in good weather conditions, as it was rarely seen. Nowadays, after the emergence of par as the new ideal score, people have a much more negative view of the bogey, viewing it as dissatisfying to score.

Bogeys are important to avoid if you want to lower your golf handicap. If you wish to score less bogeys and more birdies consistently, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the word bogey means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of a bogey.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? How often do you score bogeys? Let us know in the comments down below!

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