What Is a 'Double Bogey' Score?

Examples of the scores that result in a golfer making a double bogey

Paula Creamer react after making a double bogey
Yep, making a double bogey can cause this type of reaction. Travis Lindquist/Getty Images

A "double bogey" is a score of 2-over par on an individual hole of the golf course.

Par, remember, is the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to play a golf hole. Every hole on a golf course is given a number representing its par rating. A par-3 hole, for example, is expected to take an expert golfer three strokes to complete. And a golfer who does score "3" on a par-3 hole is said to have "made a par."

A golfer makes a "double bogey" when he or she needs two strokes more than par to play a hole.

A golfer whose average score per hole is a double bogey will average 36-over par (2-over per hole times 18 holes) for his rounds, or roughly in the upper 90s to low 100s in score. Most recreational golfers score in that range (or higher), making most recreational golfers "double bogey golfers."

The Scores That Result in a Double Bogey

What are the specific scores that mean a golfer has made a double bogey? These:

Par-6 holes are rare in golf, but they do exist, so making an "8" on a par-6 hole is also a double bogey.

Unlike Some Golf Nomenclature, 'Double Bogey' Actually Makes Sense

Not all of golf's scoring terms actually makes sense. A birdie is a score of 1-under par on a hole.

So shouldn't a score of 2-under be a "double birdie"? It isn't - it's an eagle. OK, if a score of 2-under is an eagle, shouldn't a "double eagle" mean 4-under? It doesn't - it means 3-under.

No, golf' scoring nomenclature doesn't always follow logical rules - or math. But "double bogey" does.

A "bogey" is a score of 1-over.

So it makes sense to call a score of 2-over a double bogey (2 is double 1, after all). Likewise, a "triple bogey" means 3-over, a "quadruple bogey" means 4-over, and so on.

Usage and Other Spellings

Note that the word "bogey" entered the golf lexicon in the 1890s and, yes, it is related to the Bogey Man. See:

Once "bogey" was in use for 1-over par, golfers just added the double, triple and other prefixes to denote higher scores.

"Bogie" is a common misspelling of "bogey." You can also use "double bogey" as a verb: "I need to double bogey the final hole to finish under 90."

And a nickname for a double bogey: "Buzzard" is a synonym or slang term for double bogey. "Buzzard" was much more common in the early parts of the 20th century; it is rarely used in modern golf.