How to Play 'Blind Bogey' in Golf

Shell Houston Open - Round One
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Blind Bogey is a golf tournament format. Actually, it's several tournament formats — "blind bogey" means different things to different tournament directors, and in different places. There are three formats we've seen most commonly called Blind Bogey.

The Blind Bogey Tournament

This is the most common meaning of Blind Bogey. Basically, it's a luck-of-draw game in which the golfer whose final score most closely matches a number randomly drawn before play wins a bonus prize.

It starts with tournament organizers randomly drawing any number between the golf course's par and 100 before tournament play begins. This number is not announced; organizers keep it a secret until all golfers complete play.

So the golfers go out and play the tournament, which can be any format. Once all the scores are in, organizers announce the random number they drew earlier. That's the Blind Bogey score. And the golfer who's actual, final score is closest to the Blind Bogey score wins.

In this version of Blind Bogey, it's just an add-on game, a bonus prize, to another tournament format. If the Blind Bogey score is 87, and you scored 87, you win the bonus. Pure luck and, as noted, just a fun bonus to another competition.

Blind Bogey No. 2: How Well Do You Know Your Game?

In this version, before the round begins golfers assign themselves a self-chosen handicap (which should be recorded to guard against cheating later!) — the number they believe will result in a net score in the 70s. After the round, the tournament director randomly selects a number in the 70s, and golfers whose net scores (using their self-chosen handicaps) match that number are the winners. Again, this is typically a bonus prize within another competition.

Blind Bogey No. 3: Throw Out SIx Holes

Finally, there's this version of blind bogey: Everyone tees off and completes their rounds. The tournament directors randomly select six holes, and each golfer's scores on those six, randomly chosen holes are thrown out. The 12 holes remaining on your scorecard are added up, and that's your score. Low score wins.

Version No. 3 is the most likely to be played as the tournament format itself, rather than just an add-on prize.

How do you know which version of blind bogey your club has scheduled? Ask ahead of time, or just wait and be surprised.