Must-Know Golf Scoring Terms (Bogey, Par, Eagle, Birdie, And More)

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When playing golf, there are many key terms and phrases that you must know to understand the game. But for newbies, learning all of these can be challenging at the start. 

The golf scoring terms that we will cover in this tutorial are among the most important terms to know whether you are playing golf or watching it on television. Keep resting to boost your golf knowledge!

Related article: 18 Ways To Say Good Luck In Golf

Stroke

Stroke

The term “Stroke” is used to describe any forward club swing that a golfer is attempting to make to strike the ball. This term is used to describe both complete and incomplete swings.

You are free to use the term “Stroke” as a synonym for a shot or putt; however, you should keep in mind that it also includes “whiffs,” which occur when you fail to successfully strike the ball with your club.

Par

The number of strokes that an experienced golfer, sometimes referred to as a “scratch golfer,” is expected to need to complete a hole is referred to as the “par”.

On a hole that has a par rating of four, a scratch golfer should be able to reach the green in two strokes, and then finish the hole by putting twice.

Distance, also known as “effective distance” (the distance a hole plays after accounting for whether it was uphill or downhill, its elevation, etc.), is the primary factor that determines a hole’s par rating. Effective distance refers to the distance a hole plays after accounting for these factors. 

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has compiled a list of lengths that they suggest for men to play:

  • Par 3 – A hole with a maximum length of 250 yards
  • Par 4 – A hole with a maximum length of 251 to 470 yards
  • Par 5 – A hole with a maximum length of 401 and 690 yards

The following are the distances that the United States Golf Association (USGA) recommends for female golfers:

  • Par 3 – A hole with a maximum length of 210 yards
  • Par 4 – A hole with a maximum length of 211 to 400 years
  • Par 5 – A hole with a maximum length of 401 to 575 yards

The term “par,” which is used in golf scoring, may also be used to refer to the cumulative par of a collection of golf holes. This is because each hole in a collection of holes has its par.

18-hole golf courses contain a variety of holes with varying par ratings, such as par 3, par 4, and par 5. The “Course Par” for the 18 holes will often lie between in the range of 69 and 73, with par-72 being the norm that is utilized for 18-hole golf courses the majority of the time.

In addition to this, a single par score may be used for several rounds of golf. On the PGA tour, tournaments normally take place over four days, with each day’s competition taking place over the course’s standard distance of 18 holes.

If you play golf on a course that has a par of 72, the par score after four rounds is 288. The score of a professional golfer will generally be represented in proportion to par for all of the holes that have been played throughout the event. 

At different moments throughout the tournament, their scores for the various rounds will be released or discussed. 

Underpar

When a player finishes the hole in fewer strokes than the number of strokes required to fulfill the par for that portion of the course, they are said to have completed that area of the course “under par.”

If it took a player three strokes to complete a par-3 hole, three strokes to complete a par-4 hole, and four strokes to complete a par-5 hole, then that player would have a score of “two under par” or “-2.” 

Overpar

It’s claimed that a player’s score is “over par” when the total number of strokes taken by that player is “above par.”

If it took a golfer four strokes to finish a par-3 hole, six strokes to finish a par-4 hole, and four strokes to finish a par-5 hole, then that player’s score would be termed “two over par,” sometimes known as “+2.”

Even

This phrase describe a golfer’s score when it’s the same as the total par of every hole that they have played through. Even is frequently written as “E.”

If it took a golfer 4 strokes to finish a par-3 hole, 3 strokes to finish a par-4 hole, and 5 strokes to finish a par-5 hole, then the golfer would be ‘even par’ after the first three holes of the round.

Birdie

Birdie

When a golfer finishes an individual hole with a score that is one stroke lower than the par score, this is called a “Birdie.” One example of this would be taking four strokes to complete a hole that was designated as a par 5.

If you watch professionals play golf, you might get the impression that producing birdies and even pars are easy. However, amateur golfers have a much more difficult time doing so.

Eagle

When a golfer finishes a particular hole with a score that is two strokes lower than the par score, they have achieved an “eagle“. 

Eagles are a rare score in golf, and they are most commonly earned when a golfer approaches the green of a par-5 course in two strokes and then completes the hole with just one putt. Other common eagles are achieved when driving the green on a par-4 and making the putt or when making a hole-in-one.

Double Edge/Albatross

When a golfer shoots a score that is three strokes lower than the par for a specific hole, they have accomplished what is known as an “Albatross” or a “Double Eagle,“. This is a significant accomplishment in the game. 

Even getting a hole-in-one on the golf course is considerably more likely to happen than seeing an albatross.

Condor

“Condor” is the term used to describe the accomplishment of a golfer who has shot a score that is four strokes lower than the par on a particular hole. A “condor” is also a hole-in-one on a five-par hole. 

Only four condors have ever been recorded in the entirety of PGA competition history. In golf, the only way to properly complete a condor is to make an incredible “cut off” on a dogleg par-5 hole to score a hole-in-one. 

Ace/Hole-In-One

A “Hole-in-One” or “Ace” is achieved by a golfer when they hit their first shot directly into the hole, so completing the hole in a single stroke. This is often referred to as a “one-and-done” accomplishment.

Aces are relatively uncommon. According to American Hole ‘N One, the probability of a golfer achieving a hole-in-one on a hole with a par score of three is 12,500 to 1. These chances are calculated using the average player as a basis. 

Professional golfers have a higher chance of winning with the odds as high as 2,500 to 1. 

Bogey 

When a golfer scores one stroke more than par, they are said to have made a “bogey,” which is also sometimes referred to as an “over par.”

A golfer with a low handicap or a professional may consider a bogey to be an unacceptable score, although beginners and players with less experience may consider it to be a good result and a sign of improvement.

If you had a bogey on every hole on a course with a par of 72, you would have a total score of 90 for that round. This is often referred to as ‘bogey golf.’ For golfers who are just getting started, achieving this level of success is a huge accomplishment.

Double-Bogey

The score that a golfer obtains when their score on a hole is two strokes higher than par is referred to as a “double bogey,”.

Triple Bogey

When a golfer finishes their round with a score that is three strokes higher than par, they are said to have earned a “triple bogey.”

Quadruple Bogey

The score that a golfer earns when it’s four strokes higher than par is referred to as a “quadruple bogey,”.

Summary 

Now that you know all of these key golfing terms, get out there and get practicing! With some hard work and patience, you’ll be making pars and birdies before you know it.

David Shelly
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