Dormie – Meaning and Origin

In Match play , Dormie is a situation in which one player leads by as many holes as remain to be played. For example, if there are 12 holes left to play and one player is leading 6-4, that would be dormie. It is also called Dormie 2. Dormie 3 means that a player is up in the match by three (or more) holes.

In Sandbagging, Dormie is when a player intentionally gives up shots to an opponent under the pretense of "letting them back in". When this occurs, players usually concede the next hole and ask for the score to be amended to Dormie 2 or 3, thus rewarding the player who gave up shots. This is considered poor etiquette in most circles.

The "dormies" occur when one player doesn't want to play out the holes . In match play it usually means that a player has clinched his victory and wants to end the match, but I suppose it could also mean that a player is out of contention and doesn't want to prolong the agony.

An example would be like this: Joe and Sally are playing in a tournament for $500. Joe leads by 4 holes after 9 holes, 6-2. He wants to end their match now so he concedes all 9 remaining holes and takes $500. He won the match by dormie 3 .

The history of the term dormie.

Dormie is an old Scottish term which means "asleep". It was first recorded in 1886 when an English golfer, the Rev. A. W Macdonald said it to his opponent- John Ball .

The word dormie is associated with matchplay because originally a team would play against another team and whoever lost the most holes would have to withdraw from the match.

Dormie 2 means that a player is up by two holes and dormie 3 means that the player is up by three or more holes.

Thus, a player in this situation can concede with dignity and give an opponent the opportunity of winning rather than being beaten.

The word "dormie" has also become linked to sniping, which is where players discuss during the round how many holes they both need for a certain score and then agree to "concede" certain holes in order to get that agreed number.

The word dormie originated as a term used when golf match play was played over more than 18 holes. Dormie means "asleep" or "a state of rest". When two players continued playing after 18 holes, this was called a dormie.

Today it is still used in matchplay as the name for when a player leads by the number of holes remaining to be played.

The benefits of using dormie in golf

In matchplay , the benefits of using dormie are that it is a gracious way of ending a game. A player can concede with honour, as it demonstrates sportsmanship and respect for opponents.

This also allows for an opponent who has played well to complete the game which they might not have done otherwise in order to win the money.

A very important point to remember in golf is that conceding a hole when you are in the lead does not give away the entire game. Very often, players get irritated because they do not want their opponents to complete a round or tournament, but this worry is unnecessary. There will still be many holes left for them to win and even if they lose the lead, they will still have a fair chance to win.

However, it's not recommended for rookies as conceding is generally frowned upon among players who are yet to gain knowledge of the game.


Golf is a gentleman's game and thus it involves the use of sportsmanship. The word dormie is probably not used by players who need to learn how to play the game, as they do not know how to concede defeat politely with honour.

However, there are still many situations when conceding would be most prudent, such as when you are out of contention, when you want to end the game quickly without prolonging it and so on.

In golf, conceding is a demonstration of respect for others and sportsmanship. When one concedes to an opponent he/she is truly being sporting.


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