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What is Bogey Golf and How to Play It?

What is Bogey Golf and how do you play it? Here’s what you need to know about this fun golf format


Golf, a sport of precision and strategy, has given rise to numerous formats and terminologies that both intrigue and challenge enthusiasts. Among these terms, “Bogey Golf” stands out as a notable concept that resonates with both amateurs and seasoned golfers alike. At its core, Bogey Golf offers a unique perspective on scoring, emphasizing relatable targets and achievable goals, especially for those who might find par golf a tad elusive.

Whether you’re new to the golfing scene or an experienced player seeking a different kind of challenge, understanding Bogey Golf can add a fresh dimension to your game. In the ensuing sections, we will delve deep into the origins, intricacies, and nuances of Bogey Golf, offering insights on how to approach it and, more importantly, how to relish the experience.

So, tee up as we embark on this journey to decode and embrace the essence of Bogey Golf.

How to play

The concept of bogey golf is to play match play against the course using stroke play rules.

On each hole, a player tries to beat the score of bogey to win the hole and go up +1 in the match. If a player makes a bogey, they halve the hole and the score does not change. But if a player makes double bogey or worse, they lose the hole and go down -1 in the match.

In bogey competitions, the aim is to therefore better the score of bogey on as many holes as possible. That means unlike in match play, competitions are played right up until the final hole, keeping games fun and exciting for all players.

At the end of the round, the number of holes won is subtracted by the number of holes lost to give a final score and determine the winner.

Playing Bogey Golf with handicaps

Like in Stableford golf, points are adjusted based on a player’s handicap and the stroke index of each hole.

For example, if a player is given a shot on a par-4 hole, a score of 5 or lower would win the hole for them.

The fairness of a Stableford is therefore kept in bogey competitions, whilst the occasional horror hole does not affect the scorecard too much. This also helps speed up play, as balls can simply be picked up once a player realises a hole will be lost.

Unlike is Stableford, however, the high rewards for making an eagle or better is lost in bogey golf, as all scores bettering a bogey count the same. On the flip side, this helps maintain a fairly even playing field, as the odd 4/5 pointer does not risk coming into play.

Bogey Golf FAQ

What is a golf bogey?

A bogey in golf refers to a score of one stroke over par for a hole. If a hole is a par 4 and a golfer takes 5 strokes to complete it, that’s a bogey.

How does bogey golf differ from standard golf scoring?

While standard golf scoring revolves around achieving “par” (the predetermined number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to make on a hole or round), bogey golf sets the target score as a bogey, making it a more achievable goal for amateur or higher-handicap players.

What is a bogey competition?

A bogey competition is a format of play where golfers compete against the course. In this format, each hole is played either as a bogey, par, or birdie relative to the player’s own handicap.

Why would someone play bogey golf instead of traditional formats?

Bogey golf provides a more accessible and often less intimidating target for amateur players or those just learning the game. It allows players to set and achieve goals that feel more within reach compared to the often challenging pars set by the course.

Is there a difference between “bogey” and “bogie” in golf?

No, they refer to the same concept. However, “bogey” is the more commonly accepted spelling in the context of golf.

What does “bogey” mean outside of golf?

In general language, a “bogey” might refer to an unidentified aircraft or flying object, especially as observed by radar and assumed to be hostile. However, in the context of this FAQ, we are specifically discussing the golf term.

How can one improve their chances of scoring a bogey or better on a hole?

Improving one’s chances requires a combination of practice, strategy, and understanding the golf course. Working on one’s short game, approach shots, and putting can significantly influence the likelihood of scoring a bogey or better.

Is bogey golf suitable for experienced players?

Absolutely! While it might be aimed at helping beginners and higher-handicap players set achievable targets, even experienced players can enjoy the challenge of a bogey competition or use it as a practice tool to work on specific aspects of their game.

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