Triple Bogey Golf Meaning and Example Scores

What is a "triple bogey" in golf scoring? If a bogey is 1-over par on a hole, and a double bogey is 2-over par on a hole ...

Then, naturally, a triple bogey is a score of 3-over par on a hole. But what does "3-over par" mean? Par is the term that refers to the score an expert golfer is expected to make on a given hole. If a hole has a par of 4 (a par-4 hole), that means our model of an expert golfer is expected to play such a hole in four strokes. So a score of 3-over par means playing that hole in three strokes more than the par rating of the hole.

These are the scores it takes to make a triple bogey:

A triple bogey is a poor score. But triple bogeys are also very common scores for beginners, high-handicappers and most recreational golfers. And they are not uncommon for mid-handicappers. Low-handicappers still make triple bogeys, too, although, obviously, the higher the skill level of the golfer, the fewer triple bogeys he or she will make.

But even the very best professional golfers still make triple bogeys from time to time. Arnold Palmer wrote about a tournament in which he faltered after making a triple in his 1961 Arnold Palmer's Golf Book: Hit It Hard! (affiliate link), saying, "Any time you take a triple bogey, you are asking someone to take over." He meant that in a tournament setting, that score is deflating for a pro golfer, but the triple bogey gives hope to those in the field chasing.

For pros, triple bogeys often involve hitting into trouble or penalty strokes; for most of the rest of us, we often come upon our triple bogeys naturally (meaning we actually play three strokes more than par, no penalty strokes required).

For short, many golfers refer to a triple bogey as just a triple or even just a "trip." "What score did you get on that hole?" "A trip." "Grouse," in keeping with avian-themed terms for golf scores, is another term, albeit a rarely used one, for a triple bogey.

A search of a newspaper database turned up an earliest use of the term in a June 1941 edition of the Oakland Tribune (earlier newspaper uses are certainly possible in newspapers not included in the database we searched).

The first appearance of the term "triple bogey" in the New York Times was in an article published on February 5, 1963, about Jack Nicklaus' playoff win over Gary Player in the Palm Springs Golf Classic. The article carried a sub-head that stated, "Long drives help Nicklaus — Player shaken on 12th by a triple-bogey 7."

However, it is certain that golfers were using "triple bogey" conversationally well before those first print appearances.

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