How To Avoid Double Bogeys (5 Keys)


Most golfers hate the double bogey.  We have all been there!

We are cruising through a round of golf, making a lot of pars, the occasional bogey and even a birdie or two.  All of a sudden we make a double bogey or two and our score doesn’t reflect how well we hit the ball that day.

We leave frustrated and oftentimes it wasn’t because we hit a poor shot or made a bad swing, but many times it started with a poor decision or overall indecision leading to a bad result.

Tiger Woods had some foolproof rules to scoring.  They included the following:

  • No 6s on Par 5s
  • No Double Bogeys
  • No 3 Putts
  • No Bogeys with 9 irons or shorter
  • No Blown easy saves

As you can see, no double bogeys was on his list.  Let’s dive in and look how we can avoid the double bogey and keep that solid round moving and headed in the right direction.

How to avoid double bogeys?

The five keys to avoiding double bogeys include the following:

  • Keep The Ball in Play
  • Avoid 3 Putts
  • Hit The Ball Solid
  • Make Sure You Punch Out
  • Aim For the Center of the Green

Below, we will dive into these five areas and provide some tips to help you avoid those double bogeys.

Avoid the double bogey and watch your scores come down.

Key #1: Keep the ball in play

This is very important.  If you hit a tee shot out of bounds and are now hitting 3 from the tee box, you are staring right at a double bogey and that is if you make par with that 2nd tee shot.  Triple bogey can even get you here because of the frustration from hitting it out of bounds and not handling the rest of the hole well.

The golfer needs to have awareness of where out of bounds is and have a strategy to keep the ball in play.  This could mean hitting something less than a driver or changing the aim points off of a tee box.

Even on the PGA Tour, the best players in the world have a 65 wide shot dispersion with the driver.  Most amateurs will have an even wide shot dispersion with the driver.  As a result, we need to consider our aim points when standing on the tee.

Many golfers will naturally default to trying to hit the ball down the middle of the fairway.  One thing we have learned from Decade Golf is that the aim point should be between the two edges of the golf hole, taking your shot pattern into consideration.

When to use a driver?

Tip: How to keep the ball in play

Check out the picture below as an example.  As you can see, there is a road left of the hole and is out of bounds.  To the right of the fairway is wide open with another hole that runs in the opposite direction.  The aim point on this hole should be the right edge of the fairway, which leaves about 40 yards to the left and plenty of room to the right.  The golfer is guaranteed to have the ball in play.

If the golfer hits it straight, great, they are on the right side of the fairway.  If they hit it left, they are in the fairway or the left rough.  If they hit it right, they are in the right rough and might have to lay up on the 2nd shot of this par 5, but the ball is in play and the double bogey is avoided.

Golfers need to consider their aim points and strategically map their way around the golf course.  Keep the ball in play, avoid the big number and make low numbers with your approach shot and putter.

How to hit your driver straighter (5 Tips)

Out of bounds left, so the aim line should be on the right edge of the fairway!

Key #2: Avoid 3 putts

Here is something I have seen before.  The golfer misses the green with his or her approach shot, they hit a poor chip shot to around 30 feet.  They are now frustrated and get aggressive with their par putt and run it 6 feet past.  They miss the 6 footer and leave with a double bogey.

When a golfer is outside of 30 feet, the first goal should be to leave the ball within 3 feet of the hole.  If the ball happens to fall into the hole, great!  If you leave it within three feet, you should have a rather simple tap in and head to the next hole.

If you are putting from 30 feet, make sure you to keep your expectations in check and work on the lag putting.

I would highly recommend pracficing putts of two length when you get a chance to practice:

  • Putts between 30-40 feet
  • Putts between 3-10 feet

These are the two main distances to avoid 3 putts.  You have to be able to lag the ball from a further distance and you have to be able to make the short putt.

How to make more short putts!

Key #3: Hit the ball solid

The more frequently the golfer can hit the ball solid, the less likely of having the devastating shot that falls short into a water hazard or simply waste a shot on a longer par 4 or a par 5.  The best golfers control the low point of the swing and keep the ball advancing towards the hole.  If the ball is struck solid, they can guarantee the approach shot will be somewhere in the vicinity of the green, leaving a chip or pitch shot vs hitting a chunked iron and having 60-150 yards still left into the hole.

The Drill: The Low Point Control Dril

  • Take some yard paint and patina a 1-2 yard long line.
  • Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
  • Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
  • Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to to this successfully in trials of ten.
  • You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.

If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keep your head still to help control the low point in the swing.

Key #4: Make sure you punch out

This one is rather simple.  If you hit the ball into the trees right or left of the fairway, don’t be afraid to take the conservative route and ensure you leave yourself with a full swing for your next shot.  Too often the golfer tries to hit the hero shot out of the trees, leading to the big number and a frustrating round of golf.

Look for a high percentage shot, advance it somewhat down the hole, but the first priority is getting it back in play where you will have a full swing.

How to increase swing speed for seniors (3 Steps)

Key #5: Aim for the center of the green

Stop aiming at pins from further than 75 yards out.  The golfer aiming for pins is going to hit too many shots shortsided and take par out of play and bring double bogey into play.  Aiming for the center of the green and leaving a 20-30 foot putt over time will help you shoot lower scores and eliminate the double bogey.

You might be surprised how often the professionals are aiming towards a safe landing area and not going right at the pin placement.  Be smart, keep the ball in a quality location, without getting carried away on your pin seeking.

Did you know that from 100 yards the average proximity to pin on the PGA Tour is 18 feet.  Also from 100-110 yards on the PGA Tour, they only have 3 shots out of 10 within 10 feet form this distance.

If you can hit the ball solid and control your distances, you will hit the ball pin high and leave yourself a makeable putt and almost a guaranteed par!

Check out the stock shot drill below. When faced with a shot like this, knowing your shot pattern is vital.

BONUS TIP: Develop a stock shot

The best golfers have a shot pattern. They also have a plan on the direction their golf ball will curve as they plot their way around a golf course. I would highly recommend this stock shot drill as a go to drill to practice often.

Here is an excellent drill you can use:

The Drill: Stock Shot Drill

  • At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
  • If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
  • Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target.  Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
  • The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.

Here is the drill being explained by Kyle Morris:

Final Thoughts

The key to playing golf and avoiding the double bogey is knowing your game and having realistic expectations.  Play the percentages and take pride in plotting your way around the course.  Stop aiming for every pin and trying to make birdie on every hole.  Instead, hit the fairway, hit the green and give yourself a chance with the putt!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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