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Bogey Golf - What Does It Mean?
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For the uninitiated golf and the terminology associated with it can be confusing.

I remember when I first started playing people were using all these terms such as bogey golf, par, birdie, double bogey - but there was no double birdie and no double par. All very confusing and of course you only show your ignorance by asking something like: "Could you explain bogey golf to me please?"

Let me attempt to enlighten those of you in this situation.

I will assume that you are relatively new to golf.

Golf is played over 18 holes and each is assigned a "par" of either 3, 4 or 5. I believe that the odd course even has a par 6 but I have never come across one in my 36 years of playing and coaching.

Par is the score that the hole should be completed in when playing off a scratch handicap (only really good golfers play to this so don't worry about it at this point).

Par is the base from which a player's score (and ultimately his handicap) is calculated

What do you mean calculated? Surely if he makes a 5 that is his score?

Well yes that is what he shot but his score could be a net 4 or 5 in stroke play, or 0, 1 2, 3 or even 4 points in a Stableford competition.

Getting even more complicated now?

Not to worry - read on and hopefully it will start making sense.

The different pars assigned to each hole give the course its total par score. Usually this is 72 - made up of 4 par 5s (20 strokes), 4 par 3s (12 strokes) and 10 par 4s (40 strokes). Courses can be 1 or 2 shots more or less than 72.

Par golf is when you play the hole in the designated par. Shooting a 4 on a par 4 is one such example.

Playing the hole in more than par is described as follows:

  • 1 over par on a hole is a bogey.
  • 2 over par would be a double bogey and
  • 3 over would be a triple bogey.
  • and so on with no real limit to the amount one can play over par!

When someone is playing bogey golf it means they are playing over par on the majority of holes.

When a player scores better than par then the terminology is different.

  • 1 under par is a Birdie
  • 2 under par is an Eagle
  • 3 under par is an Albatross - not a Double Eagle as some commentators like to call it.
  • 4 under par is a miracle and impossible. To score this would require a hole-in-one on a par 5!

Keeping a record of your golf scores will eventually result in you having a handicap - you need 20 scores to calculate your handicap.

Playing golf for the first time will no doubt result in playing bogey golf.

This may continue for a while and maybe even for a few years, but don't let this put you off because your golf handicap makes you equal with everyone else by "levelling the playing field".

If you really want to learn some of the terminology the best way to do this is get out of your comfort zone and learn to score. Grab the score card and ask questions you will soon get the hang of it!


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