What Is the Golf Score Called a Turkey?

You scored a turkey on the last hole. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? In golf, the scored called a turkey is a bad thing — "turkey" is a term applied to a specific high score.

"Turkey" is another term, a slang term, for the golf score better known as a quadruple bogey, or 4-over par. And quadruple bogeys are scores you want to avoid.

Scoring a turkey means a golfer used this number of strokes on a hole:

And on a par-6 hole, if you ever play one (they are scarce), a turkey means that you took 10 strokes to finish that hole.

So, just to recap, "turkey" and "quadruple bogey" mean the same thing: 4-over par on a golf hole. This score (4-over on a hole) can also be called a "double buzzard."

Which of these terms is the most commonly used? By far, by a huge margin, quadruple bogey. That is the standard term for a score of 4-over on a hole.

As noted earlier, turkey is a slang term, a jokey term. Golf has a lot of terms used to denote specific scores, and many of those terms are related to birds. There is "birdie" itself, of course, but also such things as the aforementioned buzzard, plus eagle, condor, ostrich and others. Somewhere along the line, turkey got added to the mix, probably by golfers who were simply trying to come up with new bird-inspired names for golf scores.

So using "turkey" in place of quadruple bogey is not common. In fact, it is rare. But if you ever hear it or run across it in print or on the web, now you know: A turkey is a single-hole score of 4-over par, better-known as a quadruple bogey.

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