What Is A Bogey In Golf?

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What Is A Bogey In The Sport Of Golf?

Have you ever heard someone say they shot a bogey on the golf course and wondered what it meant? A bogey is an important term to understand if you are new to golf. It is a score used to measure your performance relative to par for that particular hole, and it can help you track your progress as you learn and improve your game.

Let’s explore the concept of bogeys more closely. 

What Does Bogey Mean? 

A bogey is one stroke higher than par. In other words, if a hole is par 3, then a bogey would be four strokes, while par four would mean five strokes for a bogey. This score will vary slightly depending on the difficulty of the hole. For example, if there is an obstacle, such as an out-of-bounds area or water hazard, the expected number of strokes may be higher than par. 

How To Calculate Bogeys 

To calculate your bogey score for any given hole, add one stroke to the par score for that hole. For example, if you are playing a par four hole, your expected score should be five strokes (4+1). If you hit your first shot into the rough and lose time looking for it or have to take an extra swing, that might bring your total up to 6 or 7 strokes. That would be considered 1 or 2 over par/bogeys, respectively. 

The Impact Of Bogeys On Your Game 

Bogeys are important because they give you feedback on how well you perform relative to other players with similar skill levels. Knowing how many over/under par you typically shoot can help you identify areas where improvement may be needed to get better scores on different holes.

Understanding when and why you are shooting too many over-par shots can also help reduce them in future rounds by helping identify incorrect techniques or bad mental habits that need addressing. 

How To Hit Less Bogeys In Golf

Take a Look At Your Tee Shot: If you’re consistently losing your tee shot in the woods or the rough, it’s going to be difficult to avoid making a bogey. Spend time practicing your tee shot and keep it in the fairway.

Focus on Your Approach Shot: If you’re hitting your approach shot too long or too short, you’re increasing the odds of making a bogey. Try to hit your approach shots within 10 feet of the hole, and don’t be afraid to lay up if necessary.

Work On Your Short Game: A good short game can be the difference between making a bogey and saving par. Begin to spend time practicing your chipping and putting, and you’ll be surprised at how much it can help your score.

Why Is It Called A Bogey?

The origins of the word “bogey” are somewhat mysterious, but there are a few theories about how it came to be associated with golf. One popular theory is that the word comes from an old Scottish word for “goblin.” According to this theory, early Scottish golfers used to believe that mischievous goblins would cause their balls to go astray, leading them to use the term “bogey” to describe a bad shot. 

Another theory is that the word comes from the name of a 19th-century British military marching band leader named Edward “Bogey” Talbot. This theory suggests that Talbot’s fast-paced marches inspired golfers to walk quickly between shots, leading them to use the term “bogey” to refer to a fast pace of play.


Knowing what a bogey means in golf is essential if you want to track your progress as a golfer properly. Understanding that one stroke higher than par equals a bogey on any given hole makes it easier to measure your performance against other players and make adjustments as necessary to improve your scores over time.