Quite often, and especially for newcomers to the game, players will throw more times than they’re supposed to on a given hole. In this article, we’re going to explore what bogeys are and how to avoid making them.
So, what is a bogey in disc golf? A bogey is the score you get when you throw one stroke over par. Say for instance that par on a given hole is three strokes. If it took you four throws to make your disc in the basket, you’ve scored a bogey for that hole.
We can extrapolate a little bit here for double bogey and triple bogey. A Double Bogey would be two strokes past par. Triple Bogey is three strokes, and so on.
If you’re familiar with ball golf, you may see some similarities here. That’s because the scoring and much of the terminology we use in disc golf is the same as what’s used in ball golf.
Are bogey’s bad?
Are bogey’s a bad thing? Most of the time, they are. You’ll want to avoid making bogey or worse on any hole. It’s best to shoot for par or less. Birdie, which is one stroke below par is considered great, while Eagle, 2 strokes below par, is even better, and scoring an Ace or a hole in one is best.
While it may not seem that bad to score only one stroke over par on one hole, I would encourage you to strive for par on every hole. A bogey here an there doesn’t seem like much, but those extra strokes can add up quickly and you may find that, at the end of the game, when you’re adding up scores, those few extra strokes may have cost you the win.
How to throw less bogeys
While playing, there are a few simple things I try to remember that allow me to score par on every hole and avoid making bogey mistakes. I’d like to share these with you now so that you can stick to par or better as well.
These may seem like no-brainer ideas, and I’m certainly not saying that I’m making any revolutionary claims here, but I’ve found that if I stick to what I know and I’m consistent, I usually score well.
I’ve found that others who try to extend past they’re comfort zone while playing, end up scoring poorly.
For instance, If you’re teeing off on a hole that curves right, it’s usually best to use a forehand shot which curves to the right. However, in this instance, if you don’t know how to throw forehand very well, or at all, and you try to throw forehand anyway, there’s a good chance you’ll screw up the shot and put yourself in a worse position than if you were to just throw your normal backhand throw in the first place.
I cover more examples below, so let’s get started.
So the first area we’ll cover is the drive. Like in the example above, there are a lot of things you can do here that can set you up for a bad hole right from the tee.
The key thing to remember on your drive is to stick to the safest path. I can’t stress that enough. If you see a line and you think to yourself, “oh man, if I can just scoop around that tree in the perfect way, I’ll be set up for a birdie,”… DON’T DO IT!
In those situations, the chances are that you won’t throw it just perfect because you’re not a pro. You haven’t spent thousands of hours practicing exactly the perfect throw and you probably don’t know exactly how your disc is going to fly every time.
It’s much more likely that your throw won’t be perfect, and if your aiming for a miracle shot with little room for error, you will most likely not make the shot, which will put you in a terrible position for your next throw.
That’s a recipe for a bogey.
The goal of a great drive isn’t throwing super far. It’s not to get a hole in one (although that’s great when it happens). It’s to set up your next shot. Throw everything else out the window. Think about your next shot, and aim your drive to where you want your next shot to be.
It’s important to realize that you want the placement of your next shot to be in an area with a high probability of attainment. Like I said above, if there’s a small chance of you getting there, then it’s likely you won’t get to that spot anyway, and you should plan to throw somewhere else.
- Don’t take risky, low probability shots.
- Great drives set you up for a great second shot, so think about placement carefully.
The mid game can be tricky, and there’s much more that can go wrong here. Throwing from the tee is great because there’s usually a sensibly plan of attack, but your second and sometimes third throws can put you in all sorts of interesting situations.
First and foremost, it’s even more important in the mid game to not overextend. Take the safe shots whenever possible. Don’t try to throw through the trees when you can throw around them. Low probability shots will only put you in low probability situations.
Second, don’t go for it. The key of the mid game is to get as close to the basket as possible, not necessarily to get it in the basket. If you’re not in putting range, don’t try to make your shot in the basket. Don’t even be aiming for the chains.
This is incredibly important to avoid bogeys. If you aim for the chains on a shot thats too far out, you will miss 99% of the time, and because you were aiming so high, your disc will keep going right on past the cage. This puts you in a terrible position to putt!
I’ve seen it time and time again. You should be laying up instead. That means aiming for the base of the cage. You want your disc to land as close to the cage as possible. That way, you’ll have an easy putt. If you try to go for a birdie that’s too far out, you’re asking for a bogey.
- Don’t take risky, low probability shots.
- Don’t go for the chains if you’re too far out. Lay it up and set yourself up for an easy putt.
Putting really is all about practice. This area of the game is much more technical than decision making.
The idea is that you’ve done all you can with your drive and your mid game to put you in a great spot to putt. You’ve stuck to the safest, highest probability paths. You went around the trees instead of going through them. You want to do everything you can to be close to the cage, on level ground.
Now it’s just about throwing a solid putt. This takes practice. You should spend about 5-10 minutes before every game practicing your putt to make sure you feel comfortable with how your putting that day.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time practicing at home so that when you get to the course, you’ve got great putting game.
The best way to do this that I’ve found is to get a portable disc golf basket. Having a disc golf basket at home is amazing. You can practice your putting at home without having to drive to the course, which is really convenient. Also, having a basket at home is a great way to get your kids or your spouse involved in the game.
Here’s a link to Amazon to the basket that I have. It really is a great investment.
- Do everything you can to set yourself up for an easy putt.
- Practice putting either on the course or at home with a portable disc golf basket.
Well, that’s about it. I just want to close with saying that avoiding bogey’s and scoring well, which means scoring par or less, is mostly a mindset. Always keep your focus on what you’re doing with every shot. There should be a purpose to every shot and an aim for where it should land.
That aim is almost always to set yourself up for a great follow up shot. Aim carefully and shoot for placements that are high probability, and I think you’ll do just fine.