“You made a bogey there,” you might hear your golf buddies say. Of course, you laugh along and continue playing. But in the back of your mind, you have a question you don’t want to ask them. What in the world is a bogey in golf terminology?
A bogey in golf is a term for going over par by one shot. Different holes have different par ratings, and if you take more shots than expected to complete that hole, you might have multiple bogeys on your scorecard.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know about par ratings and how to minimize bogeys by staying close to the net par. You will also discover how common golf bogies are for golfers with different experience levels.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand how the golf bogey can affect your game.
What Is A Golf Bogey?
A bogey is a score that is over the standard par of a hole by one shot. If a player is one over par for any hole, he’s made a bogey. Different holes have different part ratings, and staying within those prevents bogeys.
The more bogeys a golfer makes, the higher his score. So every bogey brings one closer to losing unless one’s competitors make as many bogeys.
Even a single bogey can give pause to a pro golfer. But it isn’t unheard of for hobbyists to make multiple bogeys throughout the course.
What Is A Double Bogey?
A double bogey results from going two pars over the standard par of a hole. If you take two more shots than are standard for a hole, you’ve made a double bogey. But if you go one over par in two different holes, you’ve made two bogeys.
To make a double bogey, you have to go over par by two shots in the same hole. You can offset the effects of a double bogey by going one under par in the next two holes or two under par in a single hole.
Understanding bogey management is much easier once you learn more about going over par.
Going Over Par: A Brief Explanation
There are eighteen holes in a standard golf course, and each hole has a specific par rating. This rating indicates the number of shots an average player takes to get the ball in that hole.
When you take fewer shots than the average to get the same hole, your performance is considered higher than average. The opposite is also true, which is why going over par is such a big deal.
So What Is A Par?
Par, in general, means “average,” “norm,” and even “median” in some contexts. A par in golf simply refers to the number of shots a golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. A masterful golfer might hole out with half as many shots as the par rating.
On the other hand, a beginner might make 18 bogeys in the course of a single game. “Par,” by definition, refers to the average, and it is hard to expect people with different experience levels to perform on par with each other.
Is Going Over Par Good Or Bad?
A high score is good in sports like basketball, soccer, and football. But in Golf, the point of achievement (holes) is fixed, and all players must complete all the holes.
Therefore, the competitive decision is made based on the number of shots one takes to complete a hole. The goal of a golfer is to hole out as much as he can with as few shots as possible.
Since the par rating refers to the average number of shots it takes to complete a hole, going over displays poor performance. If a hole is par-4, the average player makes four shots to finish it.
There’s a chance that someone aces that hole with a single shot. That would indicate that he is under par by 3 shots, which is great. But if the same player needs to make 7 shots to complete a hole that an average player completes in 4 shots, he’s over par by 3 shots, which is bad.
When getting into golf from a standard sports background, it is easy to confuse score for achievement.
But the score in golf doesn’t track achievement. It tracks attempts. The par rating is, therefore, the average attempts required, and needing more attempts is a sign of poor performance.
What Are The Consequences Of Going Over Par?
Once you start seeing “par” in golf as “average attempts,” you can easily see that going under par indicates good performance. But is par symbolic? Or are there consequences to going over it?
The par rating isn’t designed as an external judgment tool. It is designed as a self-assessment metric. When you go over par for a particular hole, you have a poorer-than-average performance for it. Going over par has no obligatory consequences, though.
You might make a bogey, but your opponent might make a triple bogey. In such a situation, you going over par means nothing because you’re still not as over par as your opponent.
It is tough to keep track of the score throughout 18 holes. So, trying to keep yourself under par is a good measure. If you go over par in one hole, you can go under par by the same degree in the next hole to even out your performance.
Going over par has consequences only when your opponent has been on par or under the par rating for most holes throughout the game.
Why Is There A Par Rating In Golf?
A par rating in golf is set to establish an average for expert golfers to achieve. It is a self-assessment tool that helps pro golfers keep track of their performance.
For new golfers and semi-serious amateurs, the par rating is aspirational. But for professional golfers, it is a baseline for the expected average, and falling below it means their performance is below average for their tier of performance.
How Much Can You Go Over Par In Golf?
You can go over par by up to 3 shots across 18 holes and recover even if you’re playing the tour. When playing golf with your friends, you can go over par by as many shots as you like as long as your overall score remains lower than theirs.
That said, you can expect the following golf performance in relation to par ratings for different contexts:
- Fresh Golfer – 24 to 48 net over par – When you start golf, you can take 100 to 120 shots to complete an 18-hole course. That’s a total of 24 to 48 shots over the expert par rating.
- A golfer with one month of experience -18 to 38 over par – With one month of practice, you can shave off 6 to 10 shots from your course completion, coming slightly close to the total par rating of all the holes in the course.
- A golfer with 6 months of experience – 10 to 28 over par – With 6 months of experience, you can expect to start completing some holes under par. If your overall performance is 10 over par, you’ve completed at least 8 holes on par.
- A golfer with 1 year of experience – 5 to 23 over par – After golfing for one year, you can start performing under par in more holes. However, you could still make multiple bogeys throughout the game, depending on how often you play.
- A golfer with 3 years of experience – 3 to 18 over par – With three years of experience, you can start performing net under par. But not all golfers train the same. Some golfers might take three years to reach the level where they make one bogey per hole throughout the game.
How To Reduce Bogeys In Golf?
Reducing bogeys can help you reduce your overall score in golf. But you cannot expect to eliminate bogeys, especially if you don’t have a decade of golfing experience. A realistic way to minimize bogeys in golf is to get more course time.
Here are a few things you can do to bring your performance closer to the net par of expert golfers.
- Play more strategically – Don’t try to ace every hole. Trying to get the perfect round will only increase the bogeys you make. Start thinking strategically and playing with the shots you have available in a par. For a par-4 hole, try to use all four shots in a way that each shot feeds the next.
- Practice more often – Nothing can replace practice in improving your game. So you have to practice more often to reduce bogeys.
- Get fitted for equipment – Golf is one of the few sports where you can get equipment customized to your height, physique, and natural swing. Getting equipment that maximizes your performance can minimize bogeys.
- Focus on your short game – Even if you don’t have time to play entire rounds, you can practice putting, pitching, and chipping. This can help you improve in areas where most bogeys are made.
- Don’t think about bogeys – Finally, as counterproductive as it might seem, not thinking about them is perhaps the best way to minimize them. When you start putting more emphasis on the par rating, you raise the mental stakes and get nervous.
The Golf Bogey: Final Thoughts
A bogey in golf refers to going over par by one shot. Unless you’re an expert golfer, you can expect to make at least 18 bogeys. The par rating for a hole is the average number of shots an expert golfer takes to complete a hole.
And unless you’re an expert, it is just an aspirational minimum you should try to achieve with regular practice and strategic gameplay.