The Term One Over Par

Bogie golf is an average of one over par for 18 holes.
(1)   18 holes of bogey golf

You will hear golfers say they “bogeyed” the hole. This means they shot one over par on a particular golf hole. For a completed round one over par golf has an entirely different meaning. It does not mean a bogey round of golf. On the contrary, a one over par for18 holes is an outstanding round of golf and golfers who do this on a regular basis are referred to as “scratch” golfers. This is a golfer who plays to a “zero” handicap on any and all USGA rated golf courses  


This is not going to be a discussion about scratch golfers. Very few weekend golfers become scratch golfers, but bogey golf is very achievable for weekend golfers who have developed a reasonable degree of consistency with their golf swing. One over par for 18 holes is bogey golf and achievable by consciously working on achieving a more consistent golf swing. This is a source of great satisfaction for the typical weekend golfer.

What Is Bogey Golf?

A bogey golfer typically shoots about 18 strokes over par for the course while completing an 18 hole round of golf … an average of one over par for each hole. So on a Par 72 golf course a bogey golfer would typically shoot a 90, and this is a great achievement.

Bogey golf is good golf
(2)   Typical bogey golf score card

According to the USGA, a male bogey golfer will have an approximate Handicap Index of 20. Their average drive off the Tee is 200 yards and they can typically reach a 370 yard hole in two strokes. The female equivalent has an average drive of 150 yards and can typically reach a 280 yard hole in two strokes having an approximate Handicap Index of 24.


The basic design of a championship golf course includes 4 par 3 holes, 10 par 4 holes, and 4 par 5 holes, and totals up to be a par 72 for the course. But a regulation golf course may have par as low as 69 and as high as 73 depending on other course design factors that basically affect the degree of difficulty for a scratch golfer.


Rarely will you find a golf course with par greater than 73, but courses with par less than 69 are rather common characterized by shorter overall course length and fewer par 5 holes. Executive courses will typically fall into this category with no par 5 holes and made up of only par 3 and par 4 holes. Most well maintained public golf courses will be a par 72.

Bogey Golf is Good

Bogey golf is good golf ... most weekend golfers consider it great golf. Bogey golfers typically get a lot more satisfaction from their game than golfers who have not yet progressed to this skill level. They feel comfortable with their golf swing because they have developed a degree of swing consistency that allows them to focus more on the strategy of playing the golf course and less on the mechanics of their golf swing. This is especially true when planning approach shots to the green.


In a round of golf, the bogey golfer will occasionally make a par and even a bird on a hole. Occasionally they might shoot a double bogey on a hole (2 over par). But on average they shot enough pars and birds to counter the occasional double bogey in order to maintain their bogey golf status … shooting roughly +18 strokes over par for a completed round of golf.


So a bogey round of golf is a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. It’s what keeps weekend golfers in the game and continuing their efforts to get even better.

Bogey Golfer
(3)   The joy of bogey golf for a weekend golfer

Bogey Golf in the White House

Many US Presidents played golf at the bogey level. The best presidential golfers list includes Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, both the Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

President Barrack Obama is a bogey golfer
(4)   Barrack Obama

George W. Bush is a bogey golfer
(5)   George W. Bush

Barrack is left handed with a home grown golf swing and a decent putting stroke. He gets the most out of his golf swing without getting a golf coach. He really is quite athletic.  Unlike Bill Clinton he counts all his strokes and genuinely loves to be on the golf course. Bill Clinton’s golf game was questionable since he often took a mulligan as an “executive privilege”.


Eisenhower was great buddies with golfing legend Arnold Palmer who helped lift the popularity of golf in the late 50’s. He was a member at Augusta and played there as often as his schedule would allow.

Dwight Eisenhower was better than a bogey golfer
(6)   Dwight Eisenhower

Arguably the best golfer of this group was Gerald Ford. A great athlete, he played football for his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines and was very long off the Tee. Playing in an exhibition match with Arnold Palmer and Gary Player at Pinehurst he actually out drove them both off the first Tee. He was also known for hitting some very long Tee shots that ended up out of bounds resulting in penalty strokes.

Gerold Ford was better than a bogey golfer.
(7)   Gerold Ford

The best putter of the group is Barack Obama. He takes a lot of heat from some of the press for playing too much golf, a criticism George W. Bush feels is unfair. When the weather is good you can often find president Obama taking a break out on the Whitehouse putting green. First installed by president Eisenhower it was removed by president Nixon during his second term when his political career was under considerable duress. It was later reinstalled about 50 feet from the Oval Office by President Clinton.

The White House putting green is 50 feet from the Oval Office
(8)   President Obama taking a putting break

Becoming a Bogey Golfer

It’s only natural for most high handicap golfers to want to get better. Here I’m talking mostly about golfers whose handicap is above 20, but less than 30 for eighteen holes. A good round for these golfers, whether they have an official handicap or not, is somewhere in the 90s and a bad round will usually be slightly over 100.


Many dream of becoming consistent bogey golfers. Whether their motivation comes from their inherent competitiveness or their desire to get more enjoyment from the game they strive to get better. To a greater extent than they will often admit they are seeking a skill level that will be more consistent, essentially eliminating train wreck holes from their game.


What’s a train wreck? It’s that cascading chain of bad shots, often one after another, when playing a particular golf hole. It might be triggered by trying to stretch out a Tee shot on a long par 5, only to have the the ball hook or slice sharply out of bounds. This of course requires the golfer to tee up and hit again. Only this time they are hitting the third shot just to get off the Tee … a stroke and distance penalty.


There is a tendency to start over thinking every shot. The body may naturally get a little tense. All swing rhythm and timing usually vanish, often being replaced with slightly awkward swing movements. This can really slow up play in the group and may cause some none flattering shout outs from the group behind the foursome with the struggling golfer.

Bogey Golf Starts With A Consistent Golf Swing

The most important ingredient for improving your golf game is developing a more consistent golf swing. This is a golf swing that has become grooved in such a way that it no longer requires you to concentrate on the body mechanics that produce it. Swing rhythm and timing are all in sink. The golf swing becomes stress free allowing the bogey golfer to pay more attention to the strategic parts of shooting a round of golf.


Can you imagine the increased enjoyment that will come with a Stress Free Golf Swing? Going to the driving range will become a lot more fun as you show off your consistent golf swing. You will be on your way to becoming a Bogey Golfer and routinely averaging one over par for every hole you play giving you a total score around 18 over par just like the image above. Now that will be a lot of fun, the way golf should be.

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