What is a double bogey in golf?

The term "double bogey" is used to describe a score in golf, that is two more than the official standard score for a particular hole. To put it simply, a minute ago someone scored a par on the hole, but you have just scored an over par 2 on that same hole. This is a double bogey.

What causes this to happen?

There could be several reasons for this happening: untimely penalty stroke, poor play (sliced shot), gust of wind, or the ball landing in a bunker.

There are very few reasons for scoring this way and as golfers, you want to emulate your best score every time you play a round of golf. However, it is not all gloom and doom when you experience this

Here are some fun facts about double bogeys:

  1. John Daly holds the record for most double bogeys in one tournament. He had fifteen such scores in the first three rounds of The Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Course, Lancashire. This event took place in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2003.
  2. Greg Ralph has made a high six-figure number of double bogeys. There are no records to verify this number but he was quoted, "It's probably more than 100,000." He has been playing golf since he was 4 years old.
  3. Peter Thomson shot a ten on the eleventh hole in Lakes Entrance Golf Club during the Australian PGA Championship in 1958. He was playing in the final group and there was a possibility that he could still win the tournament.
  4. In 1879, Walter Travis was disqualified from an event at St Andrews for shooting 7 on a par 4 hole due to hitting his ball into the crowd while taking a drop.
  5. Even Jack Nicklaus has made this mistake once; he scored a ten on the fifth hole at Augusta National Golf Club during the first round of a Masters Tournament.
  6. The term is derived from an old Scottish game named 'Goofers' where the loser, or Goofer, had to pay for every shot more than par that he made.

These are just six examples of double bogeys in golf. As you can see, it is possible for even the best to make this mistake.

Why is it called a "double" bogey?

The word "bogey" means one stroke over par. In other words, if you have made two strokes over par on the hole, then it will automatically be counted as a bogey. In short: A double-bogey is 2 strokes and a bogey is 1 stroke.

Whichever term you choose to use, just don't say "double bogy", because the word is in fact "bogey".

Is a double bogey good?

In short, no it is not. This means that you have scored two more than the standard par for a hole (or one more than the official bogey).

However, if you were to score this way on a par 5 hole then at least you can take advantage of the easier last five holes and still make par or better. There are many people in the pro-tour that have a career average of shooting a double bogey on this type of hole (in particular, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are known for their spectacularly bad par 5 second shot records).

What is worse than a double bogey?

A "triple bogey" is worse than a double bogey. A triple-bogey would count 3 strokes over par and not 2. This means that you made three strokes over the required score for a hole.

Considering this, it is much better to achieve two double-bogeys rather than one triple-bogey.

Why is a double bogey so important

A score of one strokes over par is considered a good score. Therefore it is important to know what that means as many different players may not believe the same when it comes to scoring.

The best way for everyone to agree on the scores, would be if they use 1 stroke over par as their reference point. So, this is why a bogey is important to acknowledge.

5 Tips for Avoiding Double Bogeys

  1. Be very careful with the approach shots on par-3 holes.
  2. Hit your tee shots in the fairway so that you can reach the green with your second shot (unless it's a short-yardage hole).
  3. Don't try to "thread" ball holes when there is trouble off of the tee, unless you are confident that you can clear the trouble.
  4. Make sure to leave a sufficient amount of club for your approach shots on par 4 holes (unless it's a very short-yardage hole).
  5. Be careful when there is trouble along the left side off of the tee on a right-handed player, and vice versa for left-handed players.

Other variations of the term "bogey"

There are other terms that you may hear used when it comes to golf.

For example:

"Bogie", which is pronounced "bo-jee". The word is derived from the Scottish word "bogy", meaning a ghost or evil spirit. Back in the 19th century, clubs and balls were very expensive and ruinous for a worker's wages. So, people would take them to play a game of golf on the weekends instead. But they found out that sometimes, their clubs or balls were lost or taken by some evil spirits – hence why it is called bogey.

"Bogy", which means "a fast one". This was used in the 18th century when British soldiers would say this phrase to their comrades.

"Boosie", which is used in the South of England and means "person".

"Boomie" is short for "Bogey man". This was an imaginary character that children were scared of because they were told by adults that he steals them if they misbehave (very much like the story of "The Babadook").

"Bogey" is also used in the word "booger". This is a substance that people find in their nose or in other parts of their body. Just like bogeys, they are considered unsightly and unappealing to most people.

Final Thought

If you are going to play golf, then it is important that you know how to use the terms in the right context. There are many different ways to count strokes over par and everyone has their own understanding of what those numbers mean.

The bogey is a great way to give each golfer who plays a fair chance at scoring well on the course. In this way, a "bogey" is better than just one stroke over par.


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