Triple Bogey: What the Golf Scoring Term Means

Plus the Scores on Each Hole That Produce a Triple Bogey

Lexi Thompson reacts after making a triple bogey during the ShopRite LPGA Classic tournament.
Oh, that triple bogey feel ... it happens even to the best golfers, such as Lexi Thompson above. Michael Cohen/Getty Images

A "triple bogey" is a score of 3-over par on an individual hole of the golf course.

Every hole on a golf course has a par rating, a single-digit number, that represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to play that hole. Golf holes are almost all designated as either par-3, par-4 or par-5. So a par-4 hole, for example, is expected to take an expert golfer, on average, four strokes to play.

A golfer makes a "triple bogey," then, when he or she needs three strokes more than par to play a hole. For very good golfers, a triple bogey is a poor score. But it's a common score among recreational golfers.

The Scores That Result in a Triple Bogey

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

Par-6 holes are rare in golf, but they do exist, and a golfer scores a triple bogey on a par-6 when he or she finishes such a hole in nine strokes.

'Triple Bogey' is Consistent with Other Forms of Bogey

Not all golf terms follow common-sense naming conventions. But bogeys do: They are ordinal.

A score of 1-over par on a hole is called a bogey. So if a score of 3-over is a triple bogey, what do you think a score of 2-over is called?

  • 1-over par is a bogey.
  • 2-over par is a double bogey.
  • 3-over par is a triple bogey.
  • 4-over par is a quadruple bogey.
  • 5-over par is a quintuple bogey.

And so on.

(What does the term "bogey" have to do with golf, and why is it used for all these over-par scores? It's related to the Bogey Man.)

The slang term for a triple bogey is "grouse." That's in keeping with the avian theme of various other score-related terms, such as "birdie" for 1-under par. A double bogey is sometimes called a buzzard, and a quadruple bogey is sometimes called a turkey. The slang terms buzzard, grouse and turkey are not that commonly used, however. Most golfers stick with "triple bogey."

What Kinds of Golfers Make Triple Bogeys?

All golfers make triple bogeys, even the best golfers in the world. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods made (and make) triple bogeys. But for the best golfers, triple bogey is a bad score. A single triple on a pro golfer's scorecard can be overcome; but two in the same round usually means a poor overall score for that golfer.

For many recreational golfers, on the other hand, triple bogeys are downright common. Most recreational golfers hate making them, too. And scoring a triple bogey on a hole is a very common experience to beginning golfers and high-handicappers. A golfer whose average score per hole is a triple bogey is averaging a score of 126 for 18 holes. That's high, but it's also not unusual among high-handicappers and, especially, beginners.

So if you're making a lot of triple bogeys, don't feel bad about it. Keep the focus on having fun when you play golf. If you want to improve your scores, though—if you want to make fewer triple bogeys—you might want to invest in some golf lessons.