what does dormie mean in golf

What Does Dormie Mean In Golf: Know The Game And Its Origin

Last Updated on November 15, 2023

Have you ever heard the term ‘dormie’ used in golf? If so, then you may be wondering what it means. Dormie is a score in match play golf that puts one player ahead of their opponent by the same number of holes as remain to be played. It’s an exciting moment for any golfer and can often decide who wins or loses a match. In this article, we will examine what does dormie mean in golf and how it affects both players involved in the match.


Dormie is a term used in golf to describe the score of a match. It occurs when one player has won enough holes that they cannot be caught by their opponent, regardless of how many more holes remain unplayed. In other words, it means that one competitor has reached ‘dormancy’ and is guaranteed victory. The exact number of holes needed varies depending on the type of match being played – for example, two-up or three-and-two-down matches require just two holes ahead. While foursomes require three.

Origin of the Word

The word dormie is derived from the French phrase “dormez-vous,” which translates to “are you sleeping?” In golf, dormie describes a situation in match play when a player is leading by as many holes as there are left to play. It’s believed that this term was coined at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland in the late 19th century – although it could have been used earlier elsewhere. Some believe that its origin comes from an old drinking game where players would yell out “Dormez-vous!” and attempt to knock back their drink before anyone else did.

a man in black outfit holding a golf club

Variations of the Term

Continuing the conversation on the origin of the word, it’s time to explore some of its variations. In golf culture, dormie is used in a variety of ways and contexts. It’s important to be aware of these different forms when using and understanding this term.

One common variation is ‘dormie-up’, which is used as slang for being tied with a competitor at that point during the match play tournament. This phrase can also refer to a situation where one team or player had been leading until their opponent caught up by taking advantage of certain strokes. Golfers often use dormie-up interchangeably with other expressions such as “all square” or “even par”.

Another usage involves someone going ‘dormie two’, which represents achieving victory by winning two more holes than their opponent has remained (in match play). Players who are ahead by two points may say they are “two up with two to go”, although others might simply say they’re “dormie”. Additionally, if a golfer reaches ‘dormie three’ then they’ve won three extra holes and will win unless something extraordinary happens.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Dormie Used in Match Play?

In the game of golf, dormie is a term that can be used in match play to describe a certain score. Dormie refers to when one side of a match has achieved enough holes-up (or strokes-ahead) so as to tie or beat their opponent no matter how many remaining holes are played. When this happens, it’s known as being “dormie.” It signifies the point at which the player who is ahead cannot lose the match, regardless of what happens on the rest of the course.

Match play strategies vary from golfer to golfer, but, generally speaking, understanding and implementing ‘dormie’ rules correctly is critical for success in match play golf. Knowing when you have your opponent effectively beaten and playing conservatively while avoiding potential pitfalls is essential for victory. Additionally, mastering these dormie rules can help players recognise scoring opportunities against an opponent even if they’re trailing by several holes.

Achieving dormie status requires careful calculation and skilful execution both on and off the course. For example, players must pay close attention to their score as well as that of their opponents throughout each hole – something that can be difficult given all other variables during competition rounds such as wind speed, terrain difficulty etc. On top of this, keeping track of how many holes remain can also help keep competitors focused on achieving a successful outcome in terms of winning or tying with their opponents according to established dormie rules and associated match play scoring guidelines.

How Does Dormie Affect the Game’s Outcome?

In match play golf, when a golfer is ahead by as many holes as there are left to be played in the round or match (e.g., two up after fourteen holes), they are said to be “Dormie” – DORmant MIEtres Ahead. This means that if the player with the lead maintains their current score over the remaining holes, then they will come out of the match victorious regardless of what their opponent scores. Therefore, this situation affects not only who wins but also how each golfer approaches their shots from that point forward.

When aiming for a good score in a golf match, being dormie can present both advantages and disadvantages depending on which side you’re playing on. For example, a player who has reached dormie may become more conservative with their shot selection because they know even if their opponent makes birdies or eagles on every hole and ties up the match, they still won’t lose, whereas an opponent only one down must take risks in order to try and catch up. On top of this, once either player reaches dormie they no longer compete against each other directly. Instead, they compete against par in order to hold onto their lead or get back into contention.


So, what does dormie mean in golf? In conclusion, dormie is an important score in golf match play. It can be the difference between winning and losing a game, so it’s essential to understand how it works and what strategies can help you succeed when playing this type of golf.

If you find yourself in a dormie situation, then there are ways that you can still come out victorious. For instance, focus on making pars or better instead of going for birdies that could potentially put you further behind your opposition. Additionally, stay patient and don’t get too frustrated by your opponent’s success, as they may become complacent with their current standing and allow opportunities for you to catch up.

Ultimately, understanding what dormie means in golf is critical for anyone looking to improve their performance during match play games. Having knowledge of this specific term will ensure that all players are informed about its implications on each hole and the overall outcome of the match itself.

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