How to Calculate a 'Blind Bogey Handicap' for a Golf Tournament

A "blind bogey handicap" is a one-day handicap for a golf tournament that is figured after the golfers have completed play. It allows golfers who don't have official handicaps (which is typically most golfers who play in association events, corporate outings, charity tournaments and the like) to take part in tournaments that use or require handicaps, and to compete for net score prizes.

The blind bogey handicap is the same in function as the better-known Callaway system and Peoria system. The blind bogey handicap is less precise than those systems, but that means that it is also easier to understand, calculate and apply.

So how does the blind bogey handicap work? Let's find out. (Note that there is also a tournament format named Blind Bogey that is not related to a blind bogey handicap.)

A Blind Bogey Handicap Begins With Hole Selection

Tournament organizers begin by selecting six "blind bogey holes." The golfers playing the tournament won't know which holes have been chosen until the round is over.

These six holes can be selected completely at random. But what most organizers do, on a golf course that is a typical par-72 layout (meaning it has 10 par-4 holes, four par-3 holes and four par-5 holes) is to choose two of each type (two par-3s, two par-4s and two par-5s).

But again, those holes are chosen before the event starts, and golfers playing in the tournament don't know which holes are the "blind bogey holes" until after play ends.

Calculating and Applying the Blind Bogey Handicap

After the "blind bogey holes" are revealed, players (or tournament organizers, if it's a well-run event) check the scorecards and see how they scored on those holes.

The blind bogey handicap is based on a golfer's scores relative to the par on those six holes being used. For example, if the first hole chosen as a blind bogey hole is a par-4 and Golfer A scored six on that hole, then he is at +2.

So the golfer's six blind bogey holes are checked, and his strokes over par on those holes are totaled.

That total is then doubled. That is the golfer's blind bogey handicap allowance. That allowance is then subtracted from the golfer's gross score, the result of which is his blind bogey handicap net score.

It sounds complicated, but it's really not (and it's easier than either Callaway or Peoria).

Say Golfer A finished at 93, and on the six blind bogey holes the golfer's scores relative to par were +2, +1, +1, +3, +2, +2. What does that add up to? It adds up to +11. Double 11 and you get 22. Subtract 22 from 93 and you get 71. And 71 is the golfer's blind bogey handicap net score.

Another example. Golfer B finishes at 102. On the six holes, she scored +3, +2, +2, +3, +2 and +2. That adds up to 14. Fourteen doubled is 28. And 102 minus 28 is 74.

(Note that "blind bogey" has other meanings in golf, too, but if you are playing a tournament that says it is using "blind bogey handicaps," the above described system is most likely what is in use. Always check with tournament organizers or the host golf course if you need clarification.)

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