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What Is A Dormie In Golf? – Explained!

what is a dormie in golf
what is a dormie 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 sometimes mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the term “Dormie”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly is a “Dormie” in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what the term “Dormie” means in golf.

What Is A Dormie In Golf?

In golf, a “Dormie” refers to the situation in match play during which one side is leading by as many holes as there are left to play. In a “Dormie” situation, the leading golfer or team mathematically cannot lose, even if the trailing side wins all remaining holes; only a tie remains possible.

In the great game of golf, the expression “Dormie” is rarely mentioned on golf courses and on TV broadcasts. Since 2019, the term “Dormie” has actually been removed from the official Rules of Golf.

In golf, the term “Dormie” is the name given to the situation in which a golfer, a team, or a side is leading the opposing side in match play by as many holes as the number of holes remaining to be played.

In a “Dormie” situation, the leading side (golfer or team) mathematically cannot lose to the opposing team, even if the opposing side wins all remaining holes. In a “Dormie” situation, the trailing side can tie the leading side, at best, by winning all remaining holes.

For example, if a golfer is leading their opponent by 2 holes, and there are only 2 holes remaining, that is a “Dormie”.

Down below, you can read a real-world example of a “Dormie” situation occurring.


Adam & Bob are out together on the golf course in match play.

Adam won 8 of the first 13 holes, while Bob won 5 holes.

After winning hole #14, Adam brings his total to 9 wins.

The margin between Adam & Bob is 9 – 5 = 4 holes.

There are 18 – (9 + 5) = 18 – 14 = 4 holes left.

Adam & Bob are in a “Dormie” situation because Adam leads by 4 holes, and there are exactly 4 holes left to play.

Down below, you can see a chart listing all the possibilities for scenarios that would constitute a “Dormie” between two opposing golfers or teams.

Golfer #1’s Hole WinsGolfer #2’s Hole WinsHoles Left
List of all “Dormie” situations possible between two sides, along with their scores, and the number of holes left

If you would like to get better at golf and be on the leading end of “Dormies” more often, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.

Origin Of The Term “Dormie”

The origin of the expression “Dormie” in golf is very unintuitive to English speakers because it actually comes from the French language.

In fact, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and Queen of France many centuries ago, loved the game of Golf. Mary Stuart also knew how to speak French pretty well. Some people believe that the 16th Century Queen is responsible for coining the term “Dormie”.

When there is a “Dormie” in golf during match play, it means one side is winning against the other side by as many holes as the number of holes left to play (e.g. 2 hole advantage with 2 holes left to play).

In a “Dormie” situation, the leading side mathematically cannot lose, as the trailing side can only tie the score if they win all the remaining holes. Therefore, some people might argue that the leading team can take it easy while playing the final remaining holes.

The term “Dormie” comes from the French term “dormir”, which literally translates to the verb “to sleep”. When leading in a “Dormie” situation, one can exaggerate by saying that they can practically go to sleep and still win the match.

The origin of the term “Dormie” is basically an exaggeration of how easy it is to win when leading by as many holes are left, and how much one in that situation can relax and play softly.

For this reason, you can imagine why the French term for sleeping is where the inspiration for “Dormie” came from.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what a “Dormie” is in golf.

Do you have any other golf expressions you wish to know more about? Had you heard of the term “Dormie” before reading this article? Are you sad to see the term no longer being part of the Rules Of Golf? Let us know in the comments down below!

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