Golf scoring can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the game.

One term that you’ll often hear in golf is a bogey. But what exactly does it mean?

Let me break it down for you.

A bogey in golf refers to making a score of one stroke over par on a particular hole. Par is the number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or course. So, if a hole is assigned a par of 4, and you take 5 strokes to finish it, you’ve scored a bogey. It’s a slightly below-average score, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about, especially if you’re just starting out.

Every golf hole has a par assigned to it, which can be a par 3, par 4, or par 5. A par 3 hole is shorter in length and usually requires three strokes to complete. A par 4 hole is of medium length and typically requires four strokes, while a par 5 hole is longer and usually requires five strokes.

As you play, you’ll keep track of your score relative to par for the entire round. For example, if you complete a hole in one stroke under par, it’s called a birdie. On the other hand, if you need one stroke more than par to finish a hole, it’s a bogey. While professional golfers aim for scores better than par, for beginners and average golfers, achieving bogeys is a normal part of the game.

Key Takeaways:

  • A bogey in golf is scoring one stroke over par on a hole.
  • Par represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to make on a hole or course.
  • Golf holes have different pars assigned to them, ranging from par 3 to par 5.
  • A birdie is scored when a player completes a hole in one stroke under par.
  • Scoring bogeys is a normal part of the game, especially for beginners and average golfers.

The History of Bogey and Par

The terms “bogey” and “par” have a rich history in the game of golf. The term “bogey” originated in England in the late 19th century and was used to standardize the number of shots a good golfer should take on each hole. It was later introduced in competition play as the “ground score” or “bogey score.”

The term “par,” on the other hand, comes from the stock exchange term meaning a stock may be above or below its normal or “par” figure. The Ladies Golf Association and Men’s association in Britain developed handicapping systems based on bogey and par scores, respectively.

In the United States, the USGA introduced the concept of par as the expected score for each hole based on its length. It wasn’t until the 1920s that a national rating system for courses and handicaps was established in Britain. Today, the Council of National Golf Unions determines pars and handicaps for golfers in Great Britain and Ireland.

History of Bogey and Par

Late 19th centuryOrigin of the term “bogey” to standardize shots per hole
Early 20th centuryIntroduction of “bogey score” in competition play
1920sEstablishment of a national rating system for courses and handicaps in Britain
PresentThe Council of National Golf Unions determines pars and handicaps in Great Britain and Ireland

Birdies, Eagles, and Albatrosses

In addition to bogeys and pars, golf has terms to describe exceptional scores that players strive for. Let’s take a closer look at these terms:

Birdie Definition

A birdie refers to scoring one stroke under par on a hole. It’s an achievement in golf and signifies excellence on a particular hole. The term “birdie” actually originated in the early 20th century as American slang, meaning anything excellent or outstanding. When a player manages to score a birdie, it’s a moment worth celebrating!

Eagle Definition

An eagle is an extension of the birdie theme and represents scoring two strokes under par on a hole. The term “eagle” is connected to the American national symbol and signifies a remarkable achievement in golf. Scoring an eagle requires skill, precision, and a bit of luck. When a player achieves an eagle, it’s truly a standout moment on the course.

Albatross Definition

The term “albatross” is used when a player scores three strokes under par on a single hole. It is the rarest of all scoring terms in golf and represents an extraordinary accomplishment. The name comes from the albatross, a majestic bird known for its impressive wingspan. Scoring an albatross is a rare occurrence, and it’s a moment that golfers will remember for a lifetime.

These exceptional scores, namely birdies, eagles, and albatrosses, demonstrate skill, precision, and a deep understanding of the game. They are celebrated achievements in golf and showcase a player’s ability to go above and beyond the expected performance on a hole. Let’s strive for birdies, eagles, and maybe even that elusive albatross!

Scoring Bogeys and More

Scoring a bogey in golf is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for new or average golfers. A bogey is only one stroke over par on a hole, making it a slightly below-average score. While low handicap, scratch, and professional golfers strive to score par or better on each hole, beginners and average golfers can achieve significant accomplishments by reaching or breaking a score of 90 on a par-72 course, which would be achieved by averaging bogeys on every hole.

It’s important to note that there are terms for scores worse than a bogey, such as double bogey, triple bogey, and quadruple bogey. These terms describe scores of two, three, and four strokes over par, respectively, and are part of the golf scoring terminology.

Understanding these terms provides golfers with a clear picture of their performance and progress on the course. Now, let’s take a look at how these scores compare:

ScoreStrokes Over Par
Double Bogey2
Triple Bogey3
Quadruple Bogey4

These scoring terms help golfers assess their performance on each hole and understand where they can make improvements. Remember, scoring bogeys is part of the learning process and journey towards becoming a better golfer.


In conclusion, understanding golf scoring terms is crucial for all golfers, whether they are beginners or experienced players. The terms bogey, par, birdie, eagle, and albatross are commonly used to describe different scores on a hole. A bogey signifies scoring one stroke over par, while a birdie represents scoring one stroke under par. To achieve an eagle, a player must score two strokes under par, and an albatross is a score of three strokes under par. These terms not only help golfers track their performance but also allow them to compare their scores to par.

While professional golfers aim for scores better than par, attaining bogeys and breaking 90 for beginners is a significant accomplishment. Understanding and familiarizing oneself with golf scoring terms adds to the rich history and language of the sport, enhancing the overall enjoyment and appreciation of the game.

By mastering the scoring terms, golfers can better understand their level of play, set goals for improvement, and appreciate their achievements. So, whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned player, take the time to understand the golf scoring terms and embrace the excitement and challenge they bring to the sport.