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par bogey

What is Par Bogey? Here are the rules for this unusual format

Is it stroke play or is it match play? Our Rules of Golf expert reveals everything you need to know
 

A stroke play format which uses match play scoring? Welcome to Par Bogey – a game that can be played off scratch, with handicaps, and also in fourballs, foursomes, and team competitions.

Rule 21.3 says a player, or side, wins or loses a hole in Par Bogey by either completing the hole in fewer strokes, or more strokes, than a “fixed target score for that hole set by the committee”.

A Par Bogey competition is won by the player or side that has the highest number of holes won against holes lost. You basically add up the holes won, and takeaway the holes lost, to get the total.

All you need to know about Par Bogey competitions

How does the scoring work?

You win and lose holes, as you would in match play, by comparing the number of strokes taken for a hole against the fixed target score set by the committee.

That target score is usually set at par or bogey – hence the name of the format. If you or your side’s score is lower than that fixed score, you win the hole.

If it’s the same, the hole is tied. If it’s higher then you lose the hole. If you don’t return a score on a hole, or don’t hole out, you lose the hole. Simple, right?

Like many other formats, players are encouraged to pick up when their score exceeds the fixed target and they have lost the hole.

So what do you put on the scorecard?

If you win or tie the hole, you need to put down the actual score. If your score results in a hole being lost, you need to show any score that brings about that result or no score at all.

If you don’t hole out for any reason, then the scorecard either shows no score or any score that would mean the hole is lost.

Rule 21.3 (2) says it’s up to the committee to decide “whether the player won, lost or tied each hole and, in a handicap competition, for applying handicap strokes to the score entered for each hole before deciding the result of the hole”.

That’s a really fancy way of saying it’s ultimately the competition committee’s job to add up the won/lost totals.

Do any penalties differ from stroke play?

All penalties that apply in stroke play also apply in Par Bogey – except for the following five examples where you won’t be disqualified but you will lose the hole where the breach happened.

These are: failing to hole out, failing to correct playing from outside the teeing area, failing to correct playing a wrong ball, and failing to correct a mistake of playing from a wrong place when there is a serious breach.

Anything else?

Rule 11.2 penalises those who deliberately deflect or stop a ball in motion. You’d usually get the general penalty (two shots or loss of hole in match play), but Rule 21.3d applies an exception when playing Par Bogey.

If you needed to hole your putt to tie a hole and it’s deliberately deflected or stopped “at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holed”, then there is no penalty and the player loses the hole.

When does a round end?

A Par Bogey round is completed when the player or side either holes out on their final hole, chooses not to do so, or has already lost the hole.

Have you ever played the Par Bogey format? Let me know how you got on with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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