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Golf Scoring Terms (Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, and More)

Last Updated on June 16, 2023

Golf Scoring Terms (Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, and More)

We've compiled a list of 100+  golf terms  that are useful to know, but the  golf scoring terms  we'll cover in this guide are among the most essential when you're out on the course or watching televised golf.

Golf Scoring Terms Cheat Sheet

Golf scoring terms explained.

Stroke -  In golf, a "Stroke" is any forward club swing, including when putting, that a golfer is trying to hit the ball. 

You can essentially use "Stroke" as a synonym for a shot/putt, but keep in mind that it also includes "whiffs" if you miss the ball when trying to hit it.

Par - " Par " is the number of strokes that an expert or " scratch golfer " is expected to need to complete a hole. 

Par always includes two putts for each hole. On a par-4 hole, a scratch golfer is supposed to reach the green in two strokes, then complete the hole with two putts.

Distance, or more specifically "effective distance" (the distance a hole plays after accounting for whether it's uphill/downhill, its elevation, etc.), is the main determining factor in a hole's par rating.

Here are the USGA 's distance guidelines for men:

  • Par-3 –  Up to 250 yards
  • Par-4 –  251 to 470 yards
  • Par-5 –  401 to 690 yards

For women, the USGA’s distance guidelines are:

  • Par-3 –  Up to 210 yards
  • Par-4 –  211 to 400 yards
  • Par-5 –  401 to 575 yards

The golf scoring term "Par" is also used to reference the combined par of a group of golf holes.

Full-length 18-hole golf courses include par-3, par-4, and par-5 holes. "Course Par" for the 18 holes will usually be between 69-73, with par-72 being most common for an 18-hole golf course.

Par can also be used for multiple rounds of golf. In the PGA tour, tournaments are usually played over four days, with 18 holes being played each day.

On a par-72 golf course, par for four rounds is 288. On leaderboards and television graphics, you'll usually be shown a professional golfers score relative to par for all holes played thus far in all days of the tournament. Sometimes their scores for individual rounds will also be shown or discussed.

Under Par -  The term "under par" describe a player's score when they've taken fewer strokes than par up to a given point of the golf course.

If a player took 3 strokes to complete a par-3, 3 strokes to complete a par-4, and 4 strokes to complete a par-5 hole, their score could be described as "two under par" or "-2".

birdie vs bogey and eagle

Over Par -  The term "over par" can describe a player's score relative to par when they've taken more strokes than par.

If a player took 4 strokes to complete a par-3, 6 strokes to complete a par-4, and 4 strokes to complete a par-5 hole, their score could be described as "two over par" or "+2".

Even -  "Even" ("E") can be used to describe a golfer's score when it is equal to the combined par of all holes that they've completed.

A golfer would be even through three holes if they took 4 strokes to complete a par-3, 3 strokes to complete a par-4, and 5 strokes to complete a par-5 hole.

Birdie -  A " Birdie " is when a golfer scores one less stroke than par on an individual golf hole. Ex: 2 strokes on a par-3 hole.

In 2019, the PGA Tour average number of birdies per round was just 3.68 . Justin Thomas led the way, averaging 4.58 birdies per round.

For average golfers, birdies (and even pars) are far more challenging to make than pros would indicate.

MyGolfSpy and TheGrint (a Golf GPS and Golf Handicapping App) analyzed how often users of TheGrint made par, birdie or better, bogey, double bogey, and triple bogey or worse.

As you can see in the chart below, golfers with a 16-20 handicap only average 0.3 birdies or better per round. TheGrint users at the same handicap range only make 3.6 pars per round.

Birdies, Pars, Bogeys Per Handicap - Source MyGolfSpy

It's not until golfer's in that study reached a handicap in the range of 1-5 that they started averaging more than 1 birdie per round (and 9 pars per round).

Eagle -  An " Eagle " is when a golfer scores two fewer strokes than par on an individual golf hole. Ex: 3 strokes on a par-5 hole.

Eagles are most commonly achieved by reaching a par-5 green in 2 strokes, then completing the hole with one putt.

Albatross / Double Eagle -  An " Albatross " or " Double Eagle " is when a golfer scores three fewer strokes than par on an individual golf hole. Ex: 2 strokes on a par-5 hole.

An Albatross is far rarer than even a hole-in-one (ace).

Condor -  A "Condor" is when a golfer scores four strokes less than par on an individual golf hole. A hole in one on a par 5 is a condor.

Only four condors have been recorded in PGA history. Generally, the only way to accomplish a condor is to massively "cut off" a "dogleg" par-5 golf hole for a hole-in-one.

Hole-in-One / Ace -  A "Hole-in-One" or "Ace" occurs when a golfer hits their first shot into the hole (cup), completing the hole in just one stroke. 

Aces are very rare. According to American Hole 'N One, the average golfer's chances of making a hole-in-one on a par-3 hole are 12,500 to 1. The odds improve for professional golfers at 2,500 to 1.

When aces do occur, it's almost always on a par-3 hole, though hole-in-ones have been accomplished on par-4 and even par-5 holes.

Par-3 at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Source SuperSeeker

Par-3 at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort - Source SuperSeeker

Bogey -  A " Bogey " is when a golfer scores one stroke OVER par. Ex: 5 strokes on a par-4 hole.

While a bogey is a bad result for a low handicap or professional golfer, new and less skilled golfers are often fine with only needing one more stroke than par to complete a hole. 

If you got a bogey on every hole of a par-72 course, you'd shoot a 90. This is a major milestone for newer golfers.

Double Bogey -  A "Double Bogey" is when a golfer scores two strokes OVER par. Ex: 6 strokes on a par-4 hole.

Triple Bogey -  A "Triple Bogey" is when a golfer scores three strokes OVER par. Ex: 7 strokes on a par-4 hole.

Quadruple Bogey -  A "Quadruple Bogey" is when a golfer scores four strokes OVER par. Ex: 8 strokes on a par-4 hole.

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What Do Those Golf Scoring Terms (Birdies, Bogeys, Pars) Mean?

So you're new to the game of golf and you keep hearing references to birdies and bogeys, eagles and pars. What are those things, anyway? What do those golf scoring terms mean ?

Those (and other terms) are all names for different types of scores on an individual golf hole.

Start With Par, Go From There to Understand Golf Score Names

When explaining golf scoring terms, start with par, because all the other names of golf scores are defined in relation to par. "Par" refers to the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to complete the play of one hole on a golf course.

Golf holes of different lengths will require more or fewer strokes by a golfer. And regardless of length, the par number of a hole always allows for two putts. So a 150-yard hole is one on which the expert is expected to hit the green with his tee shot, take two putts, and, therefore, require three strokes to finish that hole. Such a hole is therefore called a par-3.

And every hole on a golf course is rated as either a par-3, a par-4 or a par-5 (par-6 holes also exist, but they are rare).

A very good golfer — or a very lucky golfer — might complete a hole in fewer strokes than the par (called "under par"). And of course, most of us are not "experts" at golf, and so on most holes we'll need more strokes than the par (called "over par").

That's where those other terms — birdies, eagles, bogeys, and so on — come into play. They describe a golfer's performance on a hole in relation to the hole's par:

  • A birdie is a score of 1-under par on a hole (for example, scoring 4 on a par-5).
  • A bogey is 1-over par on a hole.
  • An eagle is 2-under par on a hole.
  • A double bogey is 2-over par on a hole.
  • A double eagle (very rare) is 3-under par (also called an "albatross").
  • A triple bogey is 3-over par.

Given that a par-5 hole is the highest par most golfers will ever see, there is a limit to how far under par a golfer can go. But a hole-in-one — knocking the ball in the hole with your first shot — is also called an "ace." (On a par-5 hole, making an ace means a golfer is 4-under on that hole and, yes, golfers have a term for that, too: condor.)

Scores over par can keep going up, and you just keep adding to the prefix, as in quadruple bogey, quintuple bogey, and so on. Here's hoping that's knowledge you'll never need.

The Actual Number of Strokes That Result in These Golf Scores

Here's what these most-common golf scoring terms mean for holes with pars of 5, 4 and 3, in the actual number of strokes:

  • Double eagle: On a par-5, means you finished the hole in 2 strokes
  • Eagle: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
  • Birdie: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
  • Par: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
  • Bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes
  • Double bogey: You finished the hole in 7 strokes
  • Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 8 strokes
  • Double eagle: On a par-4, means you finished the hole in 1 stroke — a hole-in-one (very, very rare on par-4 holes)
  • Eagle: You finished the hole in 2 strokes
  • Birdie: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
  • Par: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
  • Bogey: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
  • Double bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes
  • Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 7 strokes
  • Double eagle: Double eagles are not possible on par-3 holes (a score of 3-under on a par-3 would be zero)
  • Eagle: You finished the hole in 1 stroke — a hole-in-one
  • Birdie: You finished the hole in 2 strokes
  • Par: You finished the hole in 3 strokes
  • Bogey: You finished the hole in 4 strokes
  • Double bogey: You finished the hole in 5 strokes
  • Triple bogey: You finished the hole in 6 strokes

Note that any hole-in-one or ace will be called by those terms, rather than by double eagle (on a par-4) or eagle (on a par-3). After all, why use double eagle or eagle when you can call it a hole-in-one?

Another note about the alternative term for "double eagle": Albatross is the preferred term in most of the golfing world; double eagle is the preferred term in the United States.

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Bogey to Blow-Up

There is quite a history behind the golfing terms bogey, par, birdie, eagle and albatross.

Bogey and par were central to the development of handicapping, pioneered by the LGU . The modern meaning of three of the terms - bogey, birdie and eagle - comes from their use in USA.

Bogey Par Birdie Eagle Albatross   Condor

"Bogey" was the first stroke system, developed in England at the end of the 19th Century. The full history is given in Robert Browning's History of Golf 1955 .

In 1890 Mr Hugh Rotherham Secretary of the Coventry Golf Club conceived the idea of standardising the number of shots at each hole that a good golfer should take, which he called the 'ground score.'

GreatYarmouth01

A 'bogle' was a Scottish goblin as far back as the 16th Century and a Bogey-man was a widely used term for a goblin or devil. Golfers of the time considered they were playing a Mister Bogey when measuring themselves against the bogey score. This allowed the introduction of bogey competitions, which we would call handicap competitions or stablefords. 

On 2nd January 1892, The Field reported that 'a novelty was introduced in the shape of a bogey tournament for a prize. ... Fourteen couples started but the bogey defeated them all.'

In 1892, Colonel Seely-Vidal, the Hon Secretary of the United Servic es Club at Gosport, also worked out the 'bogey' for his course. The United Club was a services club and all the members had a military rank. They could not measure themselves against a 'Mister' Bogey or have him as a member, so 'he' was given the honorary rank of Colonel. Thus the term 'Colonel Bogey' was born. 

Later, in the middle of 20th century, bogey was used as the term of one above par.

Par is derived from the stock exchange term that a stock may be above or below its normal or 'par' figure. In 1870, Mr AH Doleman, a golf writer, asked the golf professionals David Strath and James Anderson, what score would win 'The Belt', then the winning trophy for 'The Open', at Prestwick, where it was first held annually from 1861 to 1870. Strath and Anderson said that perfect play should produce a score of 49 for Prestwick's twelve holes. Mr Doleman called this 'par' for Prestwick and subsequently Young Tom Morris won with a score of two strokes 'over par' for the three rounds of 36 holes.

TomMorrisJnr04

In 1911, the United States Golf Association (Men) of the day laid down the following very modern distances for determining par:

As golf developed, scores were coming down, but many old British courses did not adjust their courses or their bogey scores, which meant good golfers and all the professionals were achieving lower than a bogey score. This meant the US had an up-to-date national standard of distances for holes, while the British bogey ratings were determined by each club and were no longer appropriate for professionals. The Americans began referring to one over par as a bogey, much to the British chagrin.

By 1914, British golf magazines were agitating for a ratings system similar to the US. However the Great War 1914-18 intervened and it was not until 1925 that a Golf Unions' Joint Advisory Committee of the British Isles was formed to assign Standard Scratch Scores (SSS), to golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland. Today, this committee is known as the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU). It is the Golf Unions of each country (and not the Royal and Ancient) who determine pars and handicaps.

"Birdie", meaning a score of one stroke under Par, comes from the early 20th century American slang term "bird", meaning anything excellent. The September 1911 edition of Maclean Magazine described a golf shot as - '"bird" straight down the course, about two hundred and fifteen yards.'  

The Country Club in Atlantic City lay claim to the first use of the word 'birdie' itself, as mentioned on the USGA website. In 1962 the US greenkeepers' magazine reported a conversation with A B Smith. He recounted that, in 1898/9, he and his brother, William P Smith, and their friend, George A Crump, who later built Pine Valley, were playing the par-four second hole at Atlantic City, when Ab Smith's second shot went within inches of the hole. Smith said "That was a bird of shot" and claimed he should get double money if he won with one under par, which was agreed. He duly holed his putt to win with one under par and the three of them thereafter referred to such a score as a "birdie". The Atlantic City Club date the event to 1903.

AtlanticCityCC Birdie

Sea Eagle Fife

Ab Smith ( see Birdie above ) said that his group referred to two under as an 'eagle'.

By 1919 the term was being introduced to Britain, as when Mr H D Gaunt's explained the use of 'birdie' and 'eagle' that he met in Canada . For many years, eagle was always introduced as American terms, as in 1922 when  Cecil (Cecilia) Leitch described a putt for a 3 on a par-5 hole as 'securing what is known in American golfing parlance as an "eagle"' (Golf XII 1922 p 202). 

  Albatross

Albatross is the term for three under par and is a continuation of the birdie and eagle theme, but is in fact a British term. Ab Smith said his group used the phrase 'double eagle' for three under ( see Birdie above ), which is still the term most Americans and the name for their Double Eagle Club  (membership by invitation only).

Three under par is a very rare score and an albatross is a very rare bird. The exact origin is unclear but the first known reference in 1929 indicates that it had been in use for some time before then.  John G Ridland, who scored an 'albatross' in India in 1934 , theorized that it was the introduction of steel shafted clubs in 1920s which made this score common enough to necessitate a name for it. 

Durban CC Hole 18 L

Durban Country Club 18th Hole site of first recorded albatross, a hole-in-one on 271 yard par-4

The first ‘albatross’ score reported as such in the press is from South Africa when E E Wooler scored a hole-in-one in the summer of 1931 on the 18th hole of the Durban Country Club which is a par-4. It cost £40 in drinks but, had he known that he was making history, he would not have minded. 

More details of the first albatrosses, are given in   The Albatross has Landed  in News section. 

A 'condor' in golf is a score of four (4!) under par. This can be achieved by scoring a hole-in-one on a par-5 hole, or by taking two strokes on a par-6 hole, which are themselves as rare as hen's teeth. Until recently, the idea of a condor was not considered to be possible and certainly few people were aware that anyone had scored one.

Golfing condors have been recorded six times around the world over the last 60 years in the USA, the UK and Australia. Until 2020, they were all par-5 'aces'.   More details can be found here .

The Whaup and Double Bogeys

No standard terms for 2 or 3 or more over Par have emerged. They are just double and triple Bogeys. Depending upon how good you are, anything over 7, 8 or 9 will be a ‘Blow-up’ or a ‘Disaster’.

Joyce Wethered once suggested that a hole-in-one should be called a Curlew, known in Scottish as a 'Whaup', which, though fitting, did not catch on. 

It seems that golfing terms came into popular use in much the same way as you find new words being invented and used on the Internet. If they sound good, people start using them. What we do not hear about are all the terms, such as beantops , that never made it because they did not catch on. Only the future can tell which of the terms that we create will still be in use in a hundred years time.

Updated to add Condor 18th July 2023

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Golf Scoring Term: Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle and More

Golf Scoring Term

Are you a beginner golfer trying to wrap your head around all of the lingo? Scoring terminology can be one of the most confusing topics for golfers. From birdies to bogies, there are lots of terms that every golfer needs to know. In this blog post, we’ll cover some essential scoring vocabulary and what it means on the course. So get ready to hit the links feeling more confident in your understanding of golf scoring terminology!

Read more: Golf Foursomes Guide : How Does It Work?

Table of Contents

What Are The Common Terms Used In Golf Scoring?

Score: This is the total number of shots a golfer has taken to get their ball into the hole (a round of golf consists of 18 holes). A score can be expressed in either gross or net.

Gross Score: The total number of strokes taken by a golfer on each hole, with no allowances for handicaps. For example, if a golfer scored 5 on the first hole, 4 on the second and so on, their gross score would be 73.

Net Score: A net score is calculated by subtracting any handicap allowance from the golfer’s gross score. For example, if a player with a 16 handicap shot a gross score of 74, their net score would be 58.

Par : This is the number of shots an average golfer should take to get their ball into the hole. The par for each hole can vary, but a standard round of golf usually has a par of 72 (which means 18 holes with a par 4).

Bogey : A bogey is a single stroke above par. So if a golfer takes 5 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a bogey.

Double Bogey: A double bogey is two strokes above par. So if a golfer takes 6 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a double bogey.

Triple Bogey: A triple bogey is three strokes above par. So if a golfer takes 7 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a triple bogey.

Quadruple Bogey: A quadruple bogey is four strokes above par. So if a golfer takes 8 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a quadruple bogey.

Birdie : A birdie is a single stroke under par, so if a golfer takes 3 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a birdie.

Eagle : An eagle is two strokes under par. So if a golfer takes 2 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored an eagle.

Albatross /Double Eagle: An albatross is three strokes under par. So if a golfer takes 1 shot to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored an albatross.

Condor: A condor is four strokes under par. So if a golfer takes 0 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a condor.

Ace/Hole in One : An ace is a shot made from the tee into the hole with one stroke. A golfer with an ace on a par 4 has scored a hole-in-one.

Scorecard: A scorecard is used to record each player’s score for each hole. It also includes information such as the course, par for each hole, number of holes played, and other important information. The scorecard is used to track a golfer’s progress over time.

Stableford Points: Stableford points are awarded based on a golfer’s performance in relation to par on each hole. For each stroke taken under or above par, a golfer earns points. These points are tallied up at the end of the round and used to rank players in competitions and tournaments.

Handicap: A handicap is an indication of a golfer’s playing level, relative to other golfers. It is calculated using the scores from previous rounds and is used to give every player an equal chance in tournaments and competitions. A lower handicap indicates a better player, while a higher handicap indicates a less experienced golfer.

What Are The Difference Between Even-Par, Under-Par, and Over-Par Scores?

Golf Scoring Terms

Golf Scoring Term

A player can earn different types of scores based on their performance on the course. These scores include even-par, under-par, and over-par, and they provide insight into how well a player performed compared to the expected level of play.

When a golfer scores even-par, it means they have completed the course in the expected number of strokes. For example, if a golfer completes a par-72 course with a score of 72, they have achieved an even-par score. This is considered a solid performance, as the golfer has met the expected level of play.

An under-par score is achieved when a golfer completes the course in fewer strokes than expected. For example, if a golfer completes a par-72 course with a score of 69, they have achieved an under-par score of 3. This is a highly desirable score, as it indicates the golfer has performed better than expected.

An over-par score is earned when a golfer completes the course in more strokes than expected. For example, if a golfer completes a par-72 course with a score of 76, they have earned an over-par score of 4. This is a less desirable score, as it indicates the golfer has performed worse than expected.

It’s important to note that the par for a course can vary depending on the course’s difficulty level, so a score of even-par, under-par, or over-par may have different meanings from course to course. Additionally, different golf tournaments may have different expectations for player scores based on factors such as weather conditions or course setup.

How To Calculate Your Golf Score Using A Simple Formula?

Calculating your golf score may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate your golf score using a simple formula:

Determine the par for the course: The first step in calculating your golf score is to determine the par for the course you’re playing. Par is the number of strokes a skilled golfer should take to complete a hole or a course.

  • Keep track of your strokes: Throughout the game, keep track of the number of strokes you take on each hole. Write it down on a scorecard or use a golf GPS app to track your shots.
  • Subtract the par from your total strokes: Once you’ve completed the round, subtract the total number of strokes you took from the par of the course. This will give you your score for the round.
  • For example, let’s say you played a round on a par-72 course and you took 90 strokes. To calculate your score, simply subtract 72 from 90: 90 – 72 = 18. Your score for the round is 18 over par.

Strokes – Handicap adjustment = Scores

You can even use this formula to compare different rounds and find out which course you perform better on. Just remember to always subtract any handicaps before you divide, and your golf score will be accurate every time.

You can learn about how to calculate golf Handicaps in the article: What Are Golf Handicaps? Meaning & How To Calculate

Final Thoughts

Understanding golf scoring terms is an important part of gameplay. Increasing your knowledge of these terms enhances your overall performance on the course and can help you become a better golfer. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, it is essential to know the proper terminology for strokes, pars, birdies and bogeys.

Taking the time to brush up on golf scoring terms will benefit not just your game but also the way that other players perceive your play. As shown in this blog post, having a deep understanding of golf rules and their associated terminology can help you make smarter decisions during gameplay which could ultimately propel you to have more consistent lower scores.

Alvin Daniel

Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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Bogey, Birdie, Eagle and Albatross: How These Terms Add Up on Your Scorecard

Golfer filling out scorecard

  • DESCRIPTION Golfer filling out scorecard
  • SOURCE Icon Sportswire
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We’ve all heard the golf scoring terms bogey, birdie, eagle and albatross (okay, maybe you haven’t heard that one) but those outside of the golfing world might not know what they mean. The words are ones you need to know as you learn the game, either on the course or as a casual observer.

It All Starts with Par

Par is probably the golf term most people recognize. From televised tournaments to miniature golf courses, par is seen everywhere.

Par is the number of strokes it likely takes a good golfer to get the ball into the hole. When a golf course is designed, the architect typically decides what is par for each of the 18 holes. Par on most regulation 18-hole courses is almost always three, four or five per hole.

Think of par like zero in mathematics. All numbers – negative or positive – are based around zero. Likewise, all scores in golf are in relation to par.

What is a Bogey in Golf?

We’ll start on the “bad” side of par and explain what a bogey means. A bogey is one stroke over par, so a golfer took one extra shot to get the ball into the hole in relation to par. Two strokes over par is a double bogey, three strokes over par is a triple bogey and anything over that is probably just called an expletive that can’t be mentioned here. You get the picture; there are no fancy names as the strokes increase, it’s simply xxxx-bogey. (For the record, “bogey” is an old-time name for goblin and it certainly feels your game is a little haunted sometimes when shooting all bogeys and above.)

Bogeys are tracked on the scorecard with a square around your score. For example, if you make a 5 on a par-4, you would put a square around the five. For a double bogey, you’d make two squares. For anything worse than a double bogey, make a square around your score and shade it in.

Now on to the “good” side of par, golf scoring that’s for the birds.

What is a Birdie in Golf?

A birdie is when a golfer shoots one stroke under par on a hole. Watch a PGA or LPGA tournament and you will see golfers convert many birdies. A birdie is also a score that is attainable for the average golfer. A good drive, lucky bounce or perfectly placed long putt can result in a birdie every now and then. Birdie is the redeemer in golf, the score that makes a bad day on the course feel like it was worth the effort.

To indicate a birdie on your scorecard, put a circle around your score.

What is an Eagle in Golf?

An eagle – two strokes under par on a hole – is tricky and average golfers could go a lifetime without ever recording one. It takes a very skilled golfer to put the ball into position to record an eagle. Eagles are most often scored on par-5 holes where long hitters can reach the green in two strokes and then sink the ensuing putt. A hole-in-one on a par-3 hole is also an eagle.

Eagles are represented on your scorecard with two circles around the score.

What is an Albatross in Golf?

An albatross in golf is just as spectacular as the bird that is its namesake. An albatross in nature is a flying seabird with the largest wingspan of any bird – up to 11 feet wide. In golf, an albatross is three strokes under par on a hole.

One way for an albatross to occur in golf is when a long-hitting golfer not only drives the green on a short par-4 but also sinks the shot. A golfer can also record an albatross by sinking a second shot on a par-5 hole. Both scenarios are extremely unlikely; the National Hole in One Association estimates the odds of scoring an albatross at 6 million to 1.

PGA Tour veteran Brooks Koepka scored a particularly memorable albatross in 2018 when he holed his second shot at the par-5 sixteenth hole at the Players Championship.

What is a Condor in Golf?

For good measure, there’s also a term for four under par on a single hole. While it may as well be called a unicorn, given the mythical odds, making a hole-in-one on a par-5 is called a condor. And yes, as unbelievable as it may sound, it has happened before .

There are also a handful of par-6 holes on the planet, where holing your second shot would result in a condor.

How it Looks on a Scorecard

Golf scorecard

  • DESCRIPTION Bogey and Bridie symbols on scorecad
  • SOURCE Adapted from Getty Images

If you’ve been tracking your birdies and bogeys with circles and squares on your scorecard, it’ll be easy to tally up your score at the end of the round. Simply add up the squares, subtract the circles, and that’s your score in relation to par. Add that to the par of the course, and that’s your score for the round.

It’s the numbers that ultimately count in golf, but knowing the correct scoring terms earns respect among other golfers and makes understanding the game easier.

birdie vs bogey and eagle

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Birdie, Bogey, and Eagle: Learn These Important Golf Score Terms

golf ball close to hole marking a birdie in golf score

Understanding golf's unique scoring system is crucial to up your game and embracing the complexities of this dynamic sport.

In this article, we’re going to dive into three important golf score terms that every player should know: Birdie, Bogey, and Eagle. Mastering these concepts not only improves your golf vocabulary but also sharpens your strategic skills on the field. 

Golf, unlike many other sports, comes with a fascinating and eccentric method of scorekeeping. The words for scores in golf, believe it or not, stem from the chirping language of birds!

Let's decode each one, one bird at a time. 

Birdie, Your Feathered Friend on the Course

What is a birdie in golf.

A "birdie" refers to a score of one under-par on a hole. Say you finished a par-4 hole in just three swings – congrats, you've made a birdie! As rewarding as it feels, scoring a birdie involves a careful blend of strategy, skill, and sometimes, a sprinkle of luck.

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Often, birdie opportunities crop up when your tee shot lands safely on the green, giving you a legitimate shot to putt for a score less than par. Key strategies to score birdies often include practicing your swing to ensure distance and accuracy, mastering your short game, and making sure your putting skills are on par (no pun intended!).

If you need help practicing your swing, check the  Swing Caddie SC200+ Golf Launch Monitor at our store.

Read also: How to put backspin in a golf ball

How golf courses avoid birdies

Golf courses, however, are no pushovers and tend to protect themselves against birdies. They're designed with hazards strategically placed to reel in those over-ambitious shots. Thus, managing birdies isn't just about speed and distance but also about smart, calculated play.

Don't forget to check: The 20 best golf courses in Canada

Bogey: the Undesirable One

What is a bogey in golf.

A 'bogey' can create a grimace on the face of any golfer. It essentially connotes scoring one-over-par on a hole – the bitter opposite of a birdie.

Bogeys tend to haunt golfers when golf balls land in bunkers, the rough or, even worse, out-of-bounds! Avoiding bogeys hence pivots on clean, controlled shots, adhering to fairways, and precision around the greens.

How courses protect themselves from bogeys

Courses, sly as they are, implement long par-4s, doglegs, and well-protected greens to increase the chances of Bogeys. Golfers, beware and rise to the challenge!

Read also: The 8 best golf courses in Ontario

Eagle, the Crown Jewel

What is an eagle score in golf.

Ah! The 'Eagle', a score resembling the majesty of the king of birds. An eagle refers to achieving two-under-par on a hole - no mean feat.

This illustrious score typically surfaces on par-5 holes where a powerful drive and a well-aimed second shot land you on the green in two, or on a par 4 where you've made a hole-in-one - a rare but exhilarating achievement.

Read also:  The Ultimate Guide on Golf Clubs Bounce: Wedges, Tips, and More

How to score an eagle

To achieve eagles, you need to combine power and precision, mastering the long game, while also keeping your approach shots and putting them on point. But remember, eagles don't come easy - they demand practice and persistence.

Check our article: Which golf club to use and when

How golf courses avoid eagles

The architecture of golf courses often safeguards against such scores. Steep greens, longer holes, and more precise landing areas are all common ways for courses to protect against Eagles. Players, however, do love a good challenge, don't we?

You may also like: The best golf courses in British Columbia

Final Thoughts

Golf scoring vernacular, while unique, offers an intriguing twist to the enjoyment of the game. Scoring a birdie or an eagle, or avoiding a bogey becomes a personal mini-victory. With this newfound understanding, may your next golf game outshine with birdies and eagles while keeping those bogeys away. 

As you walk along the course next time, remember you're just not playing golf, you're also chasing birds - Birdie, Bogey, and Eagle! We'd love to hear about your experiences and encounters with these birds on the course. Happy golfing!

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Home » What Is a Birdie in Golf? And how to do it

What Is a Birdie in Golf? And how to do it

Brenden Smith

  • Last update - March 12, 2023

What is a Birdie in Golf

If you’re a beginner and don’t know about golf. Then you must become confused by hearing all these terms used by other players and commentators and wonder what these terms mean. So, I will tell you what the golf term birdie means. The term birdie in golf is used to describe a player’s performance on a hole. This term is used to describe the score of a player if he took one stroke under par to complete a hole. It is one of the most common terms used in golf and has been in use in golf for over a century.

In this article, we take a deeper look at what is a birdie in golf, birdie golf definition, its history, and how to score a birdie.

What Is a Birdie? (What Does Birdie Mean In Golf)

A Birdie is a term used to describe when you put a hole in one stroke less than expected strokes. So, for example, completing the hole in four strokes on a 5-par game. Few players can achieve this milestone consistently. Generally, even top PGA players can make a birdie around 15-25% of the time in a round. So, a birdie is an excellent shot and worthy of praise if you can achieve this feat.

History of the birdie term (Why Is It Called A Birdie In Golf)

Generally, there is no concrete evidence that where this term came from. However, there are many theories about the origin of the term “birdie”.

Once, one theory said that the term was first used in the late 19th century by a golfer named Ab Smith. According to this theory, Smith has a habit of using bird names to describe good shots and Smith suggested that one shot less than a par be called a birdie.

Another theory is that this term came from an American slang term bird which describes something extraordinary or excellent and the term birdie is an extension of this slang term to describe an excellent shot. 

It is unknown which theory is correct however, the term birdie has been in use in golf for over a century and is now a worldwide recognized term.

Calculating Your Birdie(Is A Birdie One Under Par)

To calculate your birdie, first, you need to know two things one is your score on a hole and the other is the par for that hole.

A Par is the number of strokes that a player is expected to complete the hole. For example, on a par 5 hole, a player is expected to complete the hole in five shots.

But, if you complete the hole in one stroke less than the par, then you have made a birdie. For example, on a par 5 hole, you completed the hole in four shots., you have made a birdie on that hole. Similarly, if you complete the hole in three strokes on a par 4 hole, you have also made a birdie.

It’s important to note that all these terms are used to describe a player’s score on a single hole, not their overall score for a round of golf. To calculate your overall score for a round, you need to add up the number of strokes you took on every hole, and at the end, the golfer with the lowest score is the winner.

The Actual Number of Strokes That Result in a Birdie (How Many Shots Is A Birdie)

In golf, a score of one stroke over par is called a bogey , two strokes over par are called a double bogey , a score of one stroke under par is called a birdie , two strokes under par is called an eagle , and three strokes under par is called an albatross .

Here we Take a look at the number of strokes required to achieve these terms on par 5, 4, and 3 holes:

  • Double eagle: if you put a hole in 2 strokes
  • Eagle: if you put a hole in 3 strokes
  • Birdie: if you put a hole in 4 strokes
  • Par: if you put a hole in 5 strokes
  • Bogey: if you put a hole in 6 strokes
  • Double bogey: if you put a hole in 7 strokes
  • Triple bogey: if you put a hole in 8 strokes
  • Double eagle: if you put a hole in 1 stroke
  • Eagle: if you put a hole in 2 strokes
  • Birdie: if you put a hole in 3 strokes
  • Par: if you put a hole in 4 strokes
  • Bogey: if you put a hole in 5 strokes
  • Double bogey: if you put a hole in 6 strokes
  • Triple bogey: if you put a hole in 7 strokes
  • Double eagle: not possible on the par-3 hole
  • Eagle: if you put a hole in 1 stroke
  • Birdie: if you put a hole in 2 strokes
  • Par: if you put a hole in 3 strokes
  • Bogey: if you put a hole in 4 strokes
  • Double bogey: if you put a hole in 5 strokes
  • Triple bogey: if you put a hole in 6 strokes

How to score a birdie?

It is very difficult to score a birdie as you will need considerable skills and experience. But here are some tips and tricks and by practicing them you can hit a birdie:

  • Choose the right club: Most players ignore this fact but a good club that matches your gameplay and skill level can drastically improve your game. You will also need to understand which club to be used in which conditions. Generally, a shorter club is used for a shorter distance, while a longer club is used for a longer distance.
  • Correct your stance: A great stance can lead to a long and straight shot. Learn and practice how to stand correctly and hit long shots.
  • Take your shot: Once you’ve chosen your club, and corrected your shot aim for the green, and try to get your ball close to the hole in fewer shots.
  • Perfect your putts: you cannot lower your score and become a birdie if misses too many putts. Try to practice putts more often to improve your game.
  • Practice, Practice, and Practice: now all that remains is practice and consistency. Try to practice all these steps more often and enjoy yourself on the course.

Birdie VS Bogey Vs Eagle(Double Birdie)

Bogey:  Bogey is a score of one stroke above par. This means a player completes a Hole in 6 strokes on a Par 5 hole.

Birdie : On the other hand Birdie happens when a player takes one stroke less to complete a hole.

Eagle:  Lastly Eagle is a Score when a player takes two strokes less to complete a Hole. Eagle is also called Doule Birdie in Golf.

We have guided you with all the information about birdies how to calculate your birdie score in Golf and tips and tricks to become one. Hopefully, the next time you hear these terms you won’t get confused about what that means. Now, all you need to practice to become one of the best players in golf and to ensure that most of your shots go birdie. I encourage all of you to learn all the terminologies about golf and what they mean if you are interested in golf.

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Golf Scorecard Symbols: How to Decipher the Shapes

If you’re new to golf, trying to read a golf scorecard with symbols is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics sometimes with squares above par holes, circles, triangles, and more.

But there’s a reason for the golf scoring symbols you see on a completed scorecard. It helps you quickly differentiate birdies, pars, bogeys and more. 

And if you know how to read the scoring symbols, you can easily tell where you stand during any given round without pulling out the calculator! 

Keep reading to learn more about these symbols and other scorecard best practices in golf.

Golf Scoring Symbols Explained

A golf scorecard is more than just a place to tally up your final score. Some golfers keep net scores, others track which golf clubs they use on certain holes, and others use it for the number of strokes on the greens.

But the symbols might not be as common for every golfer. Here are the most common symbols you will see notated on a golf scorecard.

No Symbol = Par Score

Sometimes no symbols around your score on a hole is a good thing. When you don’t have any geometric shape surrounding your score, that means you made a par. So if you get a four on a par 4, you won’t have anything around your score.

It’s very rare but sometimes you can get a “clean card” which means 18 pars in a golf round. This is very rare even for elite golfers as bogeys and birdies tend to offset. If you do get a clean card, make sure to frame it as it likely won’t happen again. 

Even if you don’t remember much from geometry class, you want to remember that circles in golf are good. A circle around your score means you made a birdie on the hole! The more birdies you can get, the better. 

Two Circles

If you have a score with two circles around the final score, then it’s even better! A double circle means you made an eagle which isn’t very common for the average golfer. But that’s not the only score it could mean.  

A double circle can also mean a hole in one too. If you get the once in a lifetime ace on a par 3, that also results in two circles around your “1.” Like a clean card, make sure you save the ball and frame that scorecard. 

Three Circles

I’ve played golf for a long time and never had the chance to write three circles around a score. Three circles means the very rare double eagle which is also referred to as an albatross. 

The only time this happens is an ace on a par 4 or a two on a par 5. Either way, it’s going to take a miracle shot to make it happen and even more rare than a hole in one. 

Square 

A square isn’t the end of the world and very common for the everyday golfer as it constitutes a bogey on the hole. For example, if your final score on the hole is five on a par 4, your score would receive a square. 

If you’re a “bogey golfer” then you would typically have close to 18 squares during the round. But you could also have a few pars (no symbols) and a few double bogeys as well. 

Two Squares

Speaking of double bogeys, the symbol for that score is two squares. A double bogey is two over on a hole. 

For example, if you make a seven on a par 5, this is a double. Try to avoid these if at all possible as it’s not easy to bounce back from a double bogey. 

Triangle 

A triangle can mean two different terms depending on the app and is a gray area in the history of golf. 

First, a triangle on a golf scorecard means a triple bogey (or worse). 

While you want to avoid squares if possible, they’re pretty common for the everyday golfer. But a symbol you really want to avoid is a triangle.

Conversely, some people use a triangle symbol to represent an ace as well. I’ve never understood this because an ace is really an eagle on a par 3, which is two circles.

Dots on a Golf Scorecard Explained

If you play in a tournament that has a gross and net division it’s not uncommon to see dots as well. A dot on the hole means you get a stroke for the net division.  

For example, let’s say you’re a 12 handicap golfer. 

On the hardest 12 holes (each hole has a rank from 1-18, hard to the easiest on the scorecard) you would get a dot. This is reflected in the net score for the hole. 

So if you have a dot on the hole and make a five on a par 4, the dot means you get a stroke on the hole. Your gross score of five is now a net four. 

If you have a handicap higher than 18 you will have two dots on certain holes. This will remove two strokes off your net score.

For example, if you’re a 22 handicap golfer you will get one dot on the 14 easiest holes and two dots on the hardest four holes. So if you make a 6 on a two dot hole, your net score will be a four.

Golf Symbols for Scores

Golf Scorecard Scoring on Apps 

If you’re the type of golfer who prefers to keep score on a golf app, there might be some differences to the traditional symbols. For example, Golf Pad GPS changes a few symbols.

While a par remains no symbol, a solid circle means an eagle (or better) as opposed to two circles. While a solid square means a double bogey (or worse). There are no triangles either on most golf apps.

3 Scorecard Tips 

Now that you have a better understanding of a scorecard, let’s get into a few best practices. 

1. Use a Scorecard Holder 

The biggest thing with a scorecard is to make sure you don’t lose it! When you’re riding in a golf cart, make sure to keep the scorecard secure on the steering wheel (and the pencil too).

If you’re using a pushcart , make sure to keep the scorecard clipped in or inside one of the secure pouches. If you’re walking and carrying your golf bag, buy a scorecard holder or keep it inside a yardage guide if you have one. 

2. Use an App

If you want to track your statistics and/or don’t want to depend on someone else keeping your score, use an app. There are tons of apps for all types of phones to easily track your scores and more. This is also a good idea to use when it’s raining and the scorecard might get wet too.  Here’s our list of favorite golf apps .

3. Don’t Add Up the Scores 

Finally, please make sure to not be the golfer that adds up a score after 9 or 17 holes. Whenever someone does this and announces it to the group, it only adds extra pressure and expectation for the rest of the round.

Knowing your score leads to golfers thinking too much and often letting their mind drift. I’ve seen so many players have a great 9 or 17 holes only to collapse down the stretch. Wait until the final putt drops to add up the score. 

Other Golf Scorecard Features 

While each scorecard is unique based on the course, there are some other features on all cards like the hole number.

Tee Boxes/Distance

Each golf course will display the multiple sets of tee boxes and length for each hole. Most golf courses have at least three sets of tees while others have 5-6 tee boxes. This ensures that there is a tee box for every type of golfer. 

The hardest tee boxes are the longest ones and are notated at the top of the scorecard (these are known as the tips). While the shortest set of tees are lowest on the scorecard.

Additionally, sometimes courses have a “combo” set of tees where golfers play certain holes of one tee box and others from a different tee. A good example of this is a male golfer playing the blue/white combo. They would typically play the white tees on longer holes and blue tees on shorter holes. 

Always play the appropriate tee box for your handicap index!

Slope Rating and Course Rating

On the left side of the scorecard next to the tee box color is the slope rating of the course. This is often something like 74.1/139. 

These numbers refer to the average score for a scratch golfer and the slope is based on a sliding scale for bogey golfers. 

You can learn more about slope rating here .

Par of Hole 

Every golf scorecard will also have the par on the hole (typically a 3, 4, or 5). While some golf courses have a par 6, this is extremely uncommon.

Additionally, some holes will have a 4/5 as the par depending on the player and/or tee box. For example, if a man is playing the hole it’s a par 4 but if a woman is playing the same tee box, it’s a par 5.

Most full-length golf courses are par 72 while there are some that are 70, 71, and rarely, a par 73. While shorter, executive style golf courses are much less. 

Handicap Index

The last line before the boxes is the handicap index for the hole. All holes are ranked between 1-18, with one being the hardest and 18 being the easiest golf hole. 

The handicap of each hole is also important as it factors in with gambling games where you need to give strokes to fellow players. For example, if you are giving a player 10 strokes, they would get a stroke on the 10 hardest holes (not just any 10 holes). 

Their handicap score would be -1 of their gross score (these are known as net scores).

Signature and Attest

Most golf course scorecards will also have a place for the scorekeeper and player to sign the card. If you’re playing in a formal golf tournament, each card must have two signatures or the scorecard is invalid and that player is disqualified.

Do not forget to sign your scorecard after the round or your score doesn’t count! 

Local Rules 

Lastly, it’s common for scorecards to also have local rules for the course as well. These are rules specific to the golf course and might include things like:

  • Local water hazard rules
  • Any ball outside the roads is out of bounds
  • All golf balls in flower beds get free (and mandatory) relief

FAQs About Golf Scorecard Symbols 

Do you have more questions about circles and squares on a golf scorecard? If so, keep reading to learn more and improve your golf game knowledge.

What is a triangle on a golf scorecard? 

A triangle can mean two different things in golf. 

Some players use a triangle to represent a triple bogey or worse on a hole. While others use it to represent an ace.

What are the dots on a golf scorecard? 

Dots on a scorecard are related to your golf handicap . It’s common to see dots in golf tournaments with net scoring. 

How do you read a golf scorecard? 

A golf scorecard has all kinds of things including spots for your names, scores, par of each hole, slope/rating, and more. Once you add your score, you have the option to use symbols to 

What are the 7 golf scoring terms? 

The seven most common scoring terms include eagle, birdie, par, bogey, double bogey, triple bogey and a hole in one. Other terms include albatross, condor, snowman (quadruple bogey) and countless others.  Learn all the golf scoring names here.

What happens if you sign the wrong scorecard?

Bad news if you sign the wrong scorecard! 

If you sign the scorecard with a higher score, you have to accept the mistake but luckily, you don’t get disqualified. However, if you sign a scorecard that is lower than your score, you are disqualified from the event. 

This is why it’s crucial to track your score during the round and double-check the hole by hole score before signing it. 

What is the C word in golf? 

The “C” word in golf is usually referred to as choking. While the “S” word stands for shank and the “Y” word stands for the  yips .

I’d suggest keeping these three words from your vocabulary to not put a jinx on any of your playing partners. 

What is a kitty in golf? 

Kitty refers to the total money won at the end of the round. To learn more about common terms and phrases in golf  click here . 

Final Thoughts on Golf Scorecards

Hopefully you have a better understanding of the symbols of a golf scorecard.

While these symbols are helpful to add up your score easier, don’t feel like you need to do them. If you use a golf app or use the scorecard in your golf cart GPS, they tend to make the symbols for you. 

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What are the scores in golf called?

With so many different names for the scores in golf, it can seem incredibly confusing. But scoring in golf is actually quite simple. In this article we’ll go through how it works and what the different scores are called.

The most common golf format, the one that’s on TV almost every week, is called stroke play (a stroke is just another name for a shot). It’s actually really simple.

What are the scores in golf called?

In professional golf, competitors play 18 holes (a full course) each day for 4 days (for a total of 72 holes). Whichever golfer has played in the least number of shots wins. Easy!

But where it gets more confusing is in the names of the scores on each hole. There’s a name for each score, which depends on the par of the hole.

What is a par in golf?

The best place to start is with the term “par”. You’ve probably heard it used before, for example: “I’m not feeling up to par today”. Par is considered the desired score, hence why “not feeling up to par” can be used to mean “not feeling very well”.

Basically, there are three types of hole in golf:

On a par 3 hole, the player is expected to take 3 shots, on a par 4 it’s 4 shots, and on a par 5 it’s 5. Simple, right? Bear in mind that the par system is based on professional golf scores, not amatuers or average club golfers.

Pro golfer

It may seem like these numbers are plucked out of thin air but they’re not. The par of a hole is actually based on the number of shots required to reach the green.

And then, a player is given 2 putts on the green to get the ball in the hole. That’s 1 putt to get the ball near the hole, and 1 more to get it in.

So if it’s possible to reach the green in 1 shot, it’s a par 3 hole. This is because once on the green, the player is expected to take 2 putts. So in total, that’s 1 approach shot, and 2 putts, for a par 3.

What is a par in golf?

A par 4 is a longer hole. They’re generally not reachable in 1 shot (unless the player can hit the ball a long way). Because of the length of the hole, the player is expected to get the ball on the green in 2 shots rather than 1. So that’s 2 shots to get onto the green and then 2 putts for a total of 4 shots on a par 4.

And a par 5 is an even longer hole. These are generally not reachable in 2 shots (except by big hitters). On a par 5 a player is allotted 3 shots to reach the green. Combined with 2 putts on the green, that makes the 5 shots of a par 5.

Golfer playing long hole

In reality, it doesn’t matter how the player makes the score, a 5 on a par 5 is still a par. The player may have hit the ball in the trees, on the driving range, onto the car park, and into a bunker before hitting the sand shot into the hole. It would still count as a par.

What is the par of a golf course?

As well as the score on each hole, “par” is also used to refer to the expected score for the entire course. For example, many golf courses are a par 72. Remember, this is the number of shots a professional is expected to take, not an amateur golfer.

Almost every course consists of 18 holes made of par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s. But depending on how many of each hole the particular course has, will depend on the overall par of that course.

What is the par of a golf course?

So if an 18 hole course had only par 3 holes, it would be a par 54 (18 holes x par 3). On the other hand, if an 18 hole course had only par 5s, it would be a par 90 (18 holes x par 5). In reality, practically every course has a mix of par 3s, par 4s, and par 5s. But hopefully that helps to explain the par of a course.

Why is it called par in golf?

Many people reasonably assume that the term “par” comes from golf. But in fact, it doesn’t, it actually comes from the stock exchange.

“Par” used to be used to describe whether a stock was above or below it’s normal value, which was known as “the par”. A stock could be described as being under par or over par, depending on how it was performing.

Stock exchange

In 1870, a reporter called A H Doleman was thought to be the first person to apply the term “par” to golf. At the time, there was no way to refer to the average number of shots a professional golfer took on a particular course (or how many shots should be taken on each hole).

Today, for example, we may say that a particular course is a par 71. But at that time, this didn’t exist.

The story goes that Mr Doleman was covering The Open at Prestwick in 1870. At the time it was the biggest tournament in golf, and it still is one of the four majors. Back then, The Open was always held on the 12 hole course at Prestwick, and the trophy was known as “The Belt” (today the trophy is the “Claret Jug”).

Mr Doleman approached 2 professionals, Davie Strath and Jamie Anderson, and asked them what score would win The Belt. They told him that a score of 49 would be a perfect round, and would be a victorious score. Mr Doleman declared this the “par” of the course.

Why is it called par in golf?

The golfer Young Tom Morris would go on to win The Open with a score of 2 over par for 3 rounds (36 holes). From that moment on, the term “par” was adopted and has been used ever since.

What is a birdie in golf?

Now we know what a par is, it should be fairly easy to understand what a birdie is. A birdie is simply 1 shot under par on any hole. This is a good thing, it’s actually better than a par.

So, there are 3 different ways you can make a birdie. It can be done on a par 3, a par 4, or a par 5.

  • A score of 2 on a par 3 is a birdie
  • A score of 3 on a par 4 is a birdie
  • A score of 4 on a par 5 is a birdie

What is a birdie in golf?

In general, the longer the hole, the easier it is to make a birdie. This may sound counter-intuitive but let me explain why.

On many par 5s, pro golfers can actually reach the green in 2 shots. This means there’s many times where they get 2 putts for a birdie, instead of having to putt it in 1.

Likewise, many par 4 holes can be reached in just 1 shot. This again gives the golfer 2 putts for the birdie.

But on a par 3, the best you can do is to get the ball on the green in 1 shot. That then requires you to make the putt in 1 for the birdie. That’s why a birdie on a par 3 is quite rare, although it does happen.

It’s true that many club golfers can’t hit the ball far enough to reach a par 5 in 2 shots or a par 4 in 1 shot. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t make some nice birdie opportunities. Often, they can get close to the green for their final approach, giving them a chance to get the ball close to the hole for a birdie. They sometimes hit a really got shot on a par 3 too – setting up a nice birdie putt!

Why is it called a birdie?

There is no definite proof of the origins of the word “birdie”. However, there is a commonly held belief that it originated at The Atlantic City Club, USA in 1903.

The story goes that a group of 3 or 4 locals were playing a money match at the club. One of the them was a gentleman called Abner Smith, or Ab Smith for short. He hit a shot close to the hole, setting up a putt for a score of 1 under par on the hole. Ab declared it a “bird” of a shot, which at the time was a slang word for “cool”.

Why is it called a birdie?

The group agreed that next time a player scored 1 under par on a hole, they would receive double money. Ab proceeded to hole the putt, and so the first birdie was made!

Following this event, a score of 1 under par on any hole would become referred to as a “birdie”. The term soon spread across America and Canada, before reaching the UK. Now, of course, it’s well known across the world. I think we owe a thanks to Mr Abner Smith, I’ll dedicate my next birdie to the man!

What is an eagle in golf?

An eagle is a score of 2 under par on 1 hole. As with a birdie, an eagle can be scored on any hole including a par 3, par 4, or a par 5.

  • A score of 1 on a par 3 is an eagle
  • A score of 2 on a par 4 is an eagle
  • A score of 3 on a par 5 is an eagle

What is an eagle in golf?

Eagles also tend to be more common on the longer holes. In order to score an eagle on a par 3, the player has to get a hole in one! For this reason, an eagle on a par 3 is very rare and is almost never referred to an eagle but rather a hole in one or an ace.

Whereas on a short par 4, many big hitters can reach the green in one shot, setting up a putt or a chip for an eagle 2. Likewise, many players can reach a par 5 in 2 shots, giving themself a putt or short shot for an eagle 3.

Why is it called an eagle?

Ab Smith, the same golfer that is credited with coining the term “birdie”, is also thought to have coined the term “eagle” at the same golf club – The Atlantic City Club. It wasn’t long after the “birdie” was born that the “eagle” came into existance.

To be fair, it seems like a logical name. If a score of 1 under is called a birdie then a score of 2 under should probably be named after a rare bird. The eagle seems like a great choice – it’s rare and majestic, just like the score.

Why is it called an eagle?

And just like birdie, the term has American origins. In fact, it wasn’t adopted in common usage in the UK until quite a while later. One of the earliest recorded uses of the term in the UK was in 1919, over 10 years after it came into use in America. But now it’s used by practically every golfer across the world!

What is an albatross in golf?

In golf, an albatross is something very rare, just the like the bird itself! It’s the name given to a score of 3 under par on a signle hole. An albatross can only be scored on a par 4 or a par 5. That’s because it’s not possible to score lower than 1 on a par 3 (which would be an eagle)!

  • A score of 1 on a par 4 is an albatross
  • A score of 2 on a par 5 is an albatross

 What is an albatross in golf?

You can tell just how rare an albatross is since it requires a hole in one in a par 4 or a hole in 2 on a par 5. Not many par 4s can even be reached in 1 shot. More golfers tend to be able to reach par 5s in 2, making it a bit more likely on a par 5. But either way, an albatross is something that very few golfers ever achieve.

What is a double eagle?

A double eagle is another name for an albatross. In fact, it is thought that the term “double eagle” actually came before the term “albatross”.

Legend has it that the amateur golfer Ab Smith from The Atlantic City Club in the USA introduced the term “double eagle”. This is the same golfer that is credited with introducing the terms “birdie” and “eagle”.

What is a double eagle?

Along with his regular playing partners, they had different terms for all the different under par scores in golf. 3 under par was no different, it became known as a double eagle.

Why is it called a double eagle?

The term may seem strange. An eagle in 2 under and a double eagle is 3 under, which is not double. However, there may well be some sense behind it.

When Ab Smith and his playing partners devised the terms, they were playing money matches. In these matches, a birdie (1 under) earned double money, and an eagle (2 under) earned double again. So it would make sense that a score of 3 under would earn double an eagle. Hence the name, “double eagle”!

Why is it called a double eagle?

Although the term may make sense in a money match, it doesn’t seem to make much sense in a regular game of golf. In fact, the term is only really used in the USA these days. In the rest of the world, the term “albatross” is generally preferred.

Why is it called an Albatross?

Just as an eagle is rare bird, an albatross is an even rarer bird. It would seem a logical step to name a score of 3 under par after a rarer bird than an eagle.

It’s not entirely clear when the term came into use. The first reference to it was found in a newspaper in South Africa in 1931 where a golfer scored a hole-in-one on the par 4 18th at Durban Country Club. The newspaper made reference to this score being known as an “albatross” amongst golfers.

Why is it called an Albatross?

However, it is thought that the term was in common usage among golfers for quite a while before this. Although it’s generally accepted that the alternative name “double eagle” came first.

Is an albatross better than a hole-in-one?

In terms of rarity, an albatross is actually rarer than a hole-in-one. That’s because the vast majority of hole-in-ones happen on a par 3, and are classed as eagles. Since par 3s are reachable in 1 shot, making a hole in one on these holes is much more likely.

But for a hole-in-one to count as an albatross, it has to happen on a par 4. Most golfers can’t even reach a par 4 in 1 shot! So in that sense, an albatross is more difficult (and better) than a hole-in-one.

However, not all albatrosses are a hole-in-one. An albatross can be made in 2 shots on a par 5. Although this is rarer than a hole-in-one, I think most golfers would rather make a hole-in-one given the choice!

Is an albatross better than a hole-in-one?

Either way, an albatross is an incredible acheivement and something that any golfer should be proud of.

What is a condor in golf?

A condor in golf is something so rare that not many golfers even know it exists. It is the name given to a score of 4 under par on just one hole! It can only be acheieved on one type of hole and it requires a hole-in-one!

  • A condor is a score of 1 on a par 5

That’s right, a condor can only be acheived by making a hole-in-one on a par 5! Most golfers cannot reach a par 5 in 2 shots, let alone 1! This makes a condor not only unlikely but almost impossible!

What is a condor in golf?

Even professional golfers cannot reach par 5 holes in 1 shot! So under normal circumstances, a condor requires an extraordinary amount of luck.

The most likely way for a condor to happen is on a par 5 hole with a sharp dogleg. In golf, a dogleg is basically a hole that has a sharp angle to it, which can even be as much as a right angle!

Other factors that may make it possible include a dangerously strong helping wind or a dangerously steep and long hill!

Or maybe a cart path could come in handy?!

Golf cart

On some of these holes, it’s possible for the golfer to drive the ball over the corner of the dogleg. So even though the hole may be 510 yards on the scorecard, it could be just 310 yards in a straight line. Not that it’s a short hit though! A drive of the highest calibre is still required, as well as a great deal of luck for it to find the hole!

Has there ever been a condor on the PGA Tour?

So unlikely is a condor that one has never been made in professional golf! In fact, there are only 5 recorded condors in the whole of golf!

The first known condor was thought to have been made by Larry Bruce in 1962 at Hope Country Club in the USA. It was a 480 yard par 5 dogleg right and he took his drive across the corner. 480 yards may seem like a short par 5 by modern standards but back in 1962 that was a very long hole!

Has there ever been a condor on the PGA Tour?

There have been 4 verified condors since then but none have been recorded in professional golf. The main problem is that professional courses are designed to be very difficult. Virtually no condor opportunities exist in professional golf, barring some extraordinary luck of course.

Maybe one day a gale force wind will blow a ball 400 yards onto a cart path, before rolling down a steep hill and falling into the hole. It’s possible!

What is a bogey in golf?

A bogey is the name for a score of 1 over par on a hole. Unlike a birdie, eagle, albatross, or condor, a bogey is generally considered a poor score. Since the golfer is supposed to make a par on average, a bogey is generally considered as losing a shot or “dropping a shot”.

What is a bogey in golf?

Having said that, there can still be such thing as a”good bogey”. If a hole is particularly tough, doesn’t suit the player, or they’ve gotten themselves in trouble, than a bogey could be considered a good score. Of course, there are many scores worse than 1 over!

Where did bogey come from in golf?

The term “bogey” wasn’t actually originally used to mean a score of one over par. “Bogey” was actually the name of the first stroke play system.

Where did bogey come from in golf?

Even though from 1870 the term “par” was used for the expected total score on a course, there was no equivalent for each hole. Whereas as today we have a par on each hole (eg par 5), nothing of the sort existed. There was only a par for the entire course.

But in 1890, Mr Hugh Rotherham revolutionised the scoring system. He was Secretary of the Coventry Golf Club when he proposed a “par” for each hole. But this wasn’t to be known as the “par of the hole” until much later. Mr Rotherham instead called it the “ground score”, presumably to distinguish it from the “par score” which was the course total.

Other golf clubs adopted the idea and started using it during match play. It is thought that the term “bogey” was first used at The Great Yarmoth Club in the UK. The story goes that a Mr CA Wellman remarked to Dr Browne that “this player of yours is a regular bogey man”.

At the time, there was a popular song called “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bogeyman”. It referred to a popular mythical tale that parents used to tell children. They would threaten them that the “bogeyman” (some kind of ghost/monster) would come in their sleep if they didn’t behave. Nice huh?!

The Bogeyman

Presumably, Mr Rotherham used the phrase to mean that the golfer was so good he was scary? I guess if a golfer could keep scoring well on every hole they would be scarily good. Either way, from then on the term “bogey” became used to mean the “par” of a hole, instead of “ground score”.

This may sound confusing but stick with mem things get simpler!

Why is it called a bogey in golf?

Over time, the term “bogey” changed it’s meaning. It’s not entirely clear why the meaning changed but it seems to have started with the American Women’s golf association.

From 1893, they began working on a handicap system which would be adopted by the Men’s golf association shortly after. Instead of using the term “bogey” for the score on each hole, they used the term “par”, which had previously only been used for the course total.

Golf tee

This seemed to make sense though. The idea was to have a “par” for each hole, which then totals a “par” for the course. And so the scoring system as we know it today was born. Thank you to the American Women’s golf association for simplifying things!

From then on, the term “bogey” was no longer needed. But clearly, it stuck around. We don’t really know why, but it then became used to mean a score of 1 over par.

Presumably “bogey” had been used so much in golf that it had to find a new home. Also, it seems to make more sense for a bad score, since a bogeyman is not exactly a good thing!

What is a double bogey?

A double bogey is a score of 2 over par on a hole. It’s called a double bogey because it’s twice as far over par as a bogey. It’s not the most inventive name but it serves a purpose.

Is a double bogey good?

A double bogey is almost never considered a good score by a professional golfer. But for an amateur, it’s possible that it could be a good score for them. Of course, this depends on their ability and difficulty of the particular hole.

What is a double bogey?

It may seem strange that there isn’t a special name for a score of 2 over par. But presumably that’s because unlike a birdie, eagle, or albatross, a double bogey is generally not considered something special.

What is worse than a double bogey?

After a double bogey, which is 2 over par, there’s a triple bogey, which is 3 over par. Again, not a very imaginative name but not many golfers want to shout about a double bogey anyway!

After a triple bogey, the scores don’t really have names. But 4 over par is sometimes called a quadruple bogey. There’s also something else – a snowman.

What is worse than a double bogey?

A score of 8 on a hole is affectionately (tongue-in-cheek) known as a snowman. In professional golf, a snowman is generally the highest (worst) score that a player will make. It doesn’t happen often at the top of the game but it happens all the time amongst regular club golfers.

Final thoughts on the scores in golf…

The names for the scores in golf are quite strange and I think they make scoring seem more confusing than it is. I’ve even learnt a few things myself doing research for this article.

But I think it’s important to consider that golf is a very old game. So much like the English language (and other languages), the words have evolved over time.

Golfers

Golfers definitely have their own language and we’ve only just scratched the surface. But hopefully this article shows that golf isn’t that complicated or intimidating really. It’s just unique! And that’s not a bad thing in my view.

Tom Rothwell from Clean Strike Golf

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m a 3 handicaper that's obsessed with golf. You can often find me hitting balls on a driving range somewhere!

I'm on a journey to learn as much as possible about the great game. I've made Clean Strike Golf to share everything I discover along the way.

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birdie vs bogey and eagle

  • 15-December-2018

Birdie, Bogey and more: Explaining the often confusing golf scoring terms

Golf is one of the more storied sports in the world. It has often been considered a true test of patience, grit, determination and talent. No wonder, that top golfers all around the world are so well-known and one of the highest earning stars in all of sports.

Golf, however, is also one of the more confusing sports; especially for people who are new to it. Most of the major questions arise regarding the scoring metrics in the game. To help reduce the confusions and inform new viewers, here’s a quick guide:

Par:  This is the golden term to understand while tackling the complicated golf scoring terms. Par refers to the number of expected strokes , an expert golfer, takes to complete one hole.

This also leads to every hole on a course being rated as ‘par-n’ where ‘n’ is the number of expected strokes taken to complete a hole.

Thus, a ‘par-3’ hole is one where an expert golfer is expected to finish it in three strokes. In ‘par-4’ it is four strokes and ‘par-5’, well you get my drift. ‘Par-6’ strokes exist but are rarely encountered.

Under-Par:  Now that you understand the concept of ‘par’, let’s move on to what happens when one finishes a hole in less than the number of expected strokes.

When one takes lesser than the expected number  of strokes to finish a hole, he/she is said to be under par . The term ‘n-under par’ refers to how many strokes one is under-par on a hole, with ‘n’ signifying the number.

The numerous under-par scores are known by corresponding terms as well.

Birdie:  A birdie is ‘1-under par’. It means you took one stroke less than expected number of strokes to finish a hole.

Eagle:  An eagle is ‘2-under par’. It means you took two strokes less than the expected number of strokes to finish a hole

Double Eagle:  A double eagle is ‘3-under par’. It is a very rare occurrence and means that a golfer took three less strokes than the expected number to finish a hole. It is more commonly referred to as an albatross , except in the US where double-eagle is more common.

Hole-in-one : As the name suggests, it means you finish the hole in one shot itself. Also called an ace . In case of a par-5 hole, a hole-in-one would mean you’re 4-under par. The golf world calls such an occurrence, a condor .

Over par:  Under-par is taking lesser  than the expected number of strokes to complete a hole. Over par is the opposite wherein you take more than the expected number of strokes to complete a hole. 

Bogey:  A bogey is ‘1-over par’. It means one took a stroke more than expected number to finish a hole.

Unlike the ‘under par’ terms, there are no fancy names to refer to over par terms. They’re referred to as bogey with a prefix to determine how over par one was. Examples are double bogey (2-over par), triple bogey (3-over par), quintuple bogey (5-over par) and so on and so forth.

birdie vs bogey and eagle

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SwingTalks

What Is A Birdie In Golf? Definition, Scoring System, And Examples

Jose roberts.

July 22, 2023

Discover the of a birdie in golf, understand the , and explore real-life of birdie shots. Learn and to improve your chances of achieving a birdie and compare it with other golf scores like eagle and bogey.

Definition of a Birdie in Golf

What is a birdie.

In the world of golf, a birdie is a term used to describe a score achieved on a hole that is one stroke under . In other words, it means completing a hole in one stroke less than the predetermined number of strokes that it should take to complete the hole. For example, if a hole is designated as a 4, a birdie would be achieved by completing the hole in 3 strokes.

How is a birdie scored?

A birdie is scored by successfully completing a hole in one stroke less than the designated par for that hole. The par for each hole is determined by the length and difficulty of the hole, with shorter and easier holes typically assigned a lower par value and longer and more challenging holes assigned a higher value.

To score a birdie, a golfer must hit their tee shot, approach shot, and putt with precision and accuracy. This requires a combination of skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. The golfer needs to hit a good tee shot to put themselves in a favorable position for their approach shot. The approach shot should ideally land on or near the green, giving the golfer a good chance to make the subsequent putt for a birdie.

Golfers often consider a birdie to be a significant achievement, as it represents a successful hole played and a stroke saved. It is a testament to the golfer’s skills and can provide a boost of confidence and momentum for the rest of the round.

Scoring System in Golf

Overview of golf scoring.

The in golf is based on the number of strokes a player takes to complete each hole. Each hole on a golf course is assigned a par value, which represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. The par value varies depending on the length and difficulty of the hole, with shorter and easier holes assigned a lower par value and longer and more challenging holes assigned a higher value.

The scorecard for a round of golf typically lists the par value for each hole, and players keep track of their scores by recording the number of strokes they take on each hole. The total number of strokes taken for the entire round is then tallied to determine the player’s final score.

Different types of scores in golf

In addition to birdies, there are several other types of scores that can be achieved in golf. These scores are determined by the number of strokes taken on a hole relative to its par value. Here are some common :

  • Par : Par is the designated number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole. If a player completes a hole in the same number of strokes as its par value, it is referred to as a par. For example, if a hole is designated as a 4 and a player completes it in 4 strokes, they have made .
  • Eagle : An eagle is a score achieved when a player completes a hole in two strokes under par. For example, if a hole is designated as a par 5 and a player completes it in 3 strokes, they have made an eagle.
  • Bogey : A is a score achieved when a player completes a hole in one stroke over par. For example, if a hole is designated as a par 4 and a player completes it in 5 strokes, they have made a .

Understanding these different types of scores is important in golf, as they provide a measure of how well a player is performing relative to the expected number of strokes for each hole. Achieving birdies and eagles is generally seen as positive, while making bogeys or worse indicates that there is room for improvement.

Understanding Golf Terminology

What is par in golf.

Par is a term used in golf to describe the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole. It is a standard measure that represents the level of difficulty of a particular hole. Par values can range from 3 to 5 strokes for most holes, with par 3 holes generally being the shortest and easiest, and par 5 holes being the longest and most challenging.

The par value for each hole is determined based on factors such as the length of the hole, the layout of hazards, and the overall difficulty level. It serves as a benchmark for golfers to gauge their performance and compare it to the expected standard.

What is an eagle in golf?

An eagle is a term used in golf to describe a score achieved when a player completes a hole in two strokes under . It is a rare and impressive accomplishment that requires exceptional skill and precision. Eagles are most commonly achieved on 5 holes, as they provide the opportunity for players to reach the green in two shots and then sink a long putt.

Eagles are highly sought after by golfers and often celebrated as a significant achievement. They can have a significant impact on a player’s overall score and can help propel them up the leaderboard in a tournament or round.

What is a bogey in golf?

A bogey is a term used in golf to describe a score achieved when a player completes a hole in one stroke over par. It is a common occurrence for golfers of all skill levels and represents a slight mistake or error that results in an extra stroke taken to complete the hole.

Bogeys are considered a minor setback and are often followed by a determination to improve and make up for the lost stroke on subsequent holes. While not as desirable as birdies or eagles, avoiding excessive bogeys is important for maintaining a respectable score in a round of golf.

Golf is a game that revolves around scoring, and understanding the is essential for every golfer. In this section, we will provide an overview of golf scoring and explore the different types of scores in golf.

Scoring in golf is based on the number of strokes it takes to complete a hole or a round. Each hole on a golf course has a predetermined par value, which represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. The par value varies from hole to hole, with some holes being more challenging than others.

When a golfer completes a hole in one stroke less than the par value, it is called a birdie. Conversely, if a golfer takes one stroke more than the par value, it is known as a . To keep track of scores, golfers typically use a scorecard, where they record the number of strokes taken on each hole.

In addition to the individual hole scores, golfers also keep track of their overall score for the round. This is calculated by adding up the scores for each hole. The golfer with the lowest overall score at the end of the round is the winner.

In golf, there are several different types of scores that players can achieve. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:

  • Par : Par is the score that an expert golfer is expected to achieve on a particular hole. It represents a standard of excellence and is the benchmark for measuring a golfer’s performance. A score is neither a birdie nor a bogey but simply matches the predetermined number of strokes for the hole.
  • Birdie : A birdie is scored when a golfer completes a hole in one stroke less than the par value. For example, if a hole has a value of 4 and a golfer completes it in 3 strokes, they have scored a birdie. Birdies are considered a great accomplishment in golf and are often celebrated by players.
  • Bogey : On the other hand, a bogey is scored when a golfer takes one stroke more than the par value on a hole. If a hole has a par value of 4 and a golfer completes it in 5 strokes, they have scored a bogey. While not as desirable as a birdie, bogeys are still a common occurrence for many golfers.
  • Double Bogey : A double bogey is scored when a golfer takes two strokes more than the par value on a hole. This means that if a hole has a par value of 4 and a golfer completes it in 6 strokes, they have scored a double . Double bogeys can be frustrating for golfers, as they often result from mistakes or errors in their shots.
  • Eagle : An eagle is a score achieved when a golfer completes a hole in two strokes less than the par value. This is a highly impressive feat and signifies exceptional skill and precision. For example, if a hole has a par value of 5 and a golfer completes it in 3 strokes, they have scored an eagle.
  • Albatross : An albatross, also known as a double eagle, is an extremely rare and remarkable score in golf. It is achieved when a golfer completes a hole in three strokes less than the par value. Albatrosses are a testament to exceptional skill and are considered a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for most golfers.

Understanding the different types of scores in golf is crucial for players to gauge their performance and set goals for improvement. Whether it’s aiming for birdies or avoiding bogeys, each score contributes to the overall excitement and challenge of the game.

Now that we have explored the in golf and discussed the various types of scores, let’s delve deeper into understanding golf terminology, including the of par, eagle, and bogey.

In the world of golf, there are certain terms and phrases that are used to describe specific situations and scores. Understanding these golf terminologies is essential for anyone looking to improve their game or simply enjoy watching golf . In this section, we will explore three key terms: par, eagle, and .

When you hear someone mention the term “par” in golf, they are referring to the standard number of strokes that a skilled golfer is expected to require to complete a hole. In other words, par represents the ideal score for a hole. The number of strokes that make up par can vary depending on the length and difficulty of the hole.

For example, on a 3 hole, the ideal score would be three strokes, while on a par 5 hole, the ideal score would be five strokes. Most golf courses have a mix of par 3, par 4, and par 5 holes, providing a range of challenges to golfers of all skill levels.

An eagle is a term used to describe a score that is better than par on a hole. It is a significant achievement and often a cause for celebration among golfers. To score an eagle, a golfer must complete a hole in two strokes fewer than the specified par.

For instance, if a par 4 hole is completed in just two strokes, it is referred to as an eagle. Similarly, on a par 5 hole, if a golfer manages to complete it in just three strokes, they have achieved an eagle. Eagles are relatively rare and are often seen as a testament to a golfer’s skill and precision.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a bogey represents a score that is one stroke over par on a hole. It is considered a minor setback and is often seen as a missed opportunity for a better score. While not as desirable as par or better, bogeys are quite common among amateur golfers .

For example, if a golfer completes a par 4 hole in five strokes, they have scored a bogey. Similarly, if a golfer takes six strokes to complete a par 5 hole, it is also considered a bogey . Bogeys can be frustrating for golfers but are an opportunity to learn and improve for future rounds.

Understanding these golf terminologies is crucial for both players and spectators. It allows everyone involved to have a deeper appreciation for the game and its intricacies. So, the next time you hear someone mention par, eagle, or , you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about.

References:

For more information on golf scoring and terminology, please refer to the following sections in this guide: – “Scoring System in Golf” for an overview of golf scoring and different types of scores in golf. – “Birdie vs Other Golf Scores” for a between birdie, eagle, par, and bogey.

How to Achieve a Birdie

Scoring a birdie in golf is a great accomplishment that every golfer aspires to achieve. It signifies that you have completed a hole in one stroke under . To consistently achieve birdies, you need to have a solid understanding of the and that can improve your chances. In this section, we will explore some effective and helpful to help you achieve birdies on the golf course.

Strategies for achieving a birdie

  • Course management : One of the key for achieving birdies is effective course management. This involves carefully planning your shots and playing strategically to set yourself up for birdie opportunities. Analyze the layout of the hole, identify potential hazards, and choose the best approach to navigate them. By making smart decisions and avoiding unnecessary risks, you can increase your chances of scoring a birdie.
  • Precision and accuracy : To achieve a birdie, you need to be precise and accurate with your shots. Focus on hitting the fairways consistently and aim for the center of the greens. This will give you better opportunities for birdie putts. Work on your swing technique and practice your short game to improve your shot accuracy. Developing a consistent and reliable swing will greatly enhance your chances of achieving birdies.
  • Strategic club selection : Choosing the right club for each shot is crucial for achieving birdies. Analyze the distance to the green, the wind conditions, and the elevation changes to determine the appropriate club selection. Selecting the right club will allow you to hit the ball closer to the pin, increasing your chances of making a birdie putt. Take into account the factors that may affect the trajectory and distance of your shots, such as wind speed and direction, to make informed club choices.
  • Aggressive mindset : Adopting an aggressive mindset when approaching birdie opportunities can greatly improve your chances of success. Instead of playing it safe, take calculated risks and be confident in your abilities. This doesn’t mean being reckless, but rather being proactive and seizing opportunities. By approaching birdie putts with confidence and a positive mindset, you increase the likelihood of sinking the putt and scoring a birdie.

Tips for improving your chances of getting a birdie

  • Practice your putting : Putting is a crucial aspect of achieving birdies. Dedicate time to practice your putting skills, as it can make a significant difference in your overall score. Work on your distance control, aim, and reading greens to become more proficient in sinking birdie putts. Practice on different green surfaces and varying slopes to develop a well-rounded putting game.
  • Develop a consistent pre-shot routine : Establishing a consistent pre-shot routine can help you maintain focus and composure, especially when attempting birdie shots. By having a routine that you follow before each shot, you can eliminate distractions and improve your concentration. This routine can include visualizing the shot, taking practice swings, or deep breathing exercises. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it to enhance your chances of achieving birdies.
  • Stay mentally strong : Golf is a mentally demanding sport, and staying mentally strong is crucial for achieving birdies. Develop mental resilience and learn to manage your emotions on the course. Stay positive, even if you encounter setbacks or challenges. Maintain a confident mindset and believe in your abilities. By staying mentally strong, you can approach birdie opportunities with a clear and focused mind, increasing your chances of success.
  • Learn from professionals : Watching professional golfers can provide valuable insights and for improving your game. Study the techniques and employed by top golfers when they attempt birdie shots. Pay attention to their decision-making process, shot selection, and putting techniques. Incorporate what you learn into your own game and adapt it to suit your style. Learning from professionals can help you refine your skills and improve your chances of achieving birdies.

Remember, achieving birdies requires a combination of skill, strategy, and mental fortitude. By implementing these and , you can enhance your chances of scoring birdies and elevate your golf game to the next level. Practice consistently, stay focused, and maintain a positive mindset, and soon enough, you’ll find yourself celebrating birdies on the golf course.

Examples of Birdie Scenarios

Real-life of birdie shots.

Birdies in golf are exciting moments that showcase the skill and precision of a golfer. They occur when a player completes a hole in one stroke less than the par score designated for that hole. Let’s explore some real-life of impressive birdie shots that have left golf enthusiasts in awe.

One memorable birdie shot took place during the 2019 Masters Tournament. Tiger Woods, a renowned golfer known for his precision and focus, executed a remarkable birdie on the 16th hole. Facing a challenging downhill putt, Woods read the green perfectly and struck the ball with just the right amount of force, sending it rolling into the cup. The crowd erupted in applause as Woods celebrated his exceptional shot, solidifying his position as one of the greatest golfers of all time.

Another notable birdie shot occurred during the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Tiger Woods once again displayed his exceptional skills by hitting a remarkable birdie on the 6th hole. Facing a daunting approach shot over a canyon, Woods expertly navigated the challenging terrain and landed his ball just a few feet from the hole. He calmly sank the putt, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure and leaving spectators in awe of his talent.

Famous birdie shots in golf history

Throughout golf history, there have been numerous birdie shots that have become legendary. These shots have not only showcased the skill of the golfers but have also shaped the course of significant tournaments.

One such iconic birdie shot was executed by Jack Nicklaus during the 1986 Masters Tournament. On the 16th hole, known as “Redbud,” Nicklaus faced a challenging uphill putt. With the pressure mounting, he struck the ball with precision and watched as it rolled towards the hole. The ball found its mark, and the crowd erupted in applause as Nicklaus celebrated his incredible birdie. This shot propelled him to victory, making him the oldest winner of the Masters at the age of 46.

Another famous birdie shot took place during the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill Country Club. Justin Leonard, representing the United States, faced a crucial 45-foot putt on the 17th hole. As the ball made its way towards the hole, Leonard and his teammates watched in anticipation. When the ball dropped into the cup, the crowd erupted, and the United States team secured a memorable victory. Leonard’s birdie shot became an enduring symbol of teamwork and determination in golf.

These of real-life birdie shots and famous moments in golf history highlight the excitement and skill involved in achieving a birdie. Golfers who can consistently execute birdie shots demonstrate a remarkable level of precision and strategic thinking. These remarkable moments not only captivate audiences but also motivate aspiring golfers to push themselves to achieve their own birdies.

So, how can you improve your chances of getting a birdie? Let’s explore some and in the following sections.

Birdie vs Other Golf Scores

Difference between birdie and eagle.

When it comes to golf scoring, birdies and eagles are two terms that often get thrown around. But what exactly is the difference between them? Let’s break it down.

A birdie is a term used in golf to describe a score of one stroke under par on a hole. In other words, it means that you completed the hole in one stroke less than what is considered the standard number of strokes for that hole. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and you manage to complete it in 3 strokes, you would have achieved a birdie.

On the other hand, an eagle is an even more impressive score in golf. It refers to completing a hole in two strokes under par. So, if a hole is a par 4 and you manage to complete it in just 2 strokes, you would have scored an .

The key difference between a birdie and an eagle is the number of strokes under par. While a birdie is one stroke under par, an eagle is two strokes under par. This means that scoring an eagle requires a higher level of skill and precision than scoring a birdie.

Birdie vs par vs bogey: a

To fully understand the significance of a birdie in golf, it’s important to compare it to other scores commonly encountered on the golf course. Two such scores are par and bogey.

Par is the standard number of strokes that a skilled golfer is expected to complete a hole in. It serves as a benchmark for scoring. If you manage to complete a hole in the same number of strokes as the par, you would have achieved a par. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and you complete it in 4 strokes, you would have scored a par.

On the other hand, a is a score that is one stroke over par on a hole. This means that you completed the hole in one stroke more than what is considered the standard number of strokes. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and you complete it in 5 strokes, you would have scored a .

So, how does a birdie compare to par and bogey? Well, a birdie is a better score than par, as it means you completed the hole in fewer strokes than what is expected. It is a sign of skill and precision. On the other hand, a bogey is a worse score than par, as it means you took an extra stroke to complete the hole.

In summary, a birdie is a score of one stroke under par, an eagle is a score of two strokes under par, par is the standard number of strokes, and a is a score of one stroke over par. Achieving a birdie is a great accomplishment in golf and shows that you have the ability to excel on the course.

Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between birdies, eagles, pars, and bogeys, let’s explore some for achieving a birdie and for improving your chances of getting one.

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As an avid golfer with over 7 years of experience, Jose Roberts brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to our golf blog. With a focus on improving skills, exploring courses, and staying up-to-date on industry news, Jose is dedicated to helping readers take their golf game to the next level.

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Birdie in Golf | Understanding of A Birdie And How to score it ?

In the exhilarating world of golf, the term “birdie” is music to a golfer’s ears. It represents a remarkable achievement that signifies precision and skill on the course. But what exactly is a birdie in golf, and what makes it so special? In this article, we will delve into the excitement and significance behind the birdie, explore its implications, and provide insights into how you can achieve this awe-inspiring feat.

What is a Birdie in Golf?

In golf, a birdie refers to scoring one stroke under the specified par for a given hole. It signifies completing a hole with one stroke fewer than the expected number of shots. For example, if a hole is designated as a par 4 , scoring a birdie means you completed the hole in just three strokes.

The Significance of a Birdie :

Birdies are cherished and celebrated by golfers of all levels for several reasons:

  • 1- Skill and Precision : Scoring a birdie showcases a golfer’s ability to execute accurate shots and capitalise on scoring opportunities.
  • 2- Positive Momentum: Birdies often serve as a catalyst for building positive momentum during a round, boosting a golfer’s confidence and motivation.
  • 3- Lowering Your Score: Consistently achieving birdies helps in reducing a golfer’s overall score, leading to more competitive performances.
  • 4- Competitive Edge : In professional golf, birdies can be the differentiating factor between winning and losing tournaments.

How Rare are Birdies in Golf?

While birdies are not as rare as eagles (scoring two strokes under par), they are still considered an impressive feat. The frequency of birdies depends on various factors, including the golfer’s skill level, course difficulty, weather conditions, and the length of the hole .

What’s the Difference Between Birdie, Eagle, Par and Albatross?

birdie in golf

  • 1- Birdie: As mentioned earlier, a birdie is scoring one stroke under the specified par for a hole (e.g., completing a par 4 hole in three strokes).
  • 2- Eagle : An eagle is an even more exceptional achievement, signifying scoring two strokes under par for a hole (e.g., completing a par 5 hole in three strokes).
  • 3- Albatross: An albatross , also known as a double eagle, is the rarest of the three, representing scoring three strokes under par for a hole (e.g., completing a par 5 hole in two strokes).
  • 𝟰- 𝐏𝐚𝐫: A par in golf is the number of strokes to get the ball in the hole. There are 3 different types of holesD ‘Par3’, ‘Par4’, ‘Par5’.

This table summarizes the definitions and the sense of achievement associated with Birdie, Eagle , Albatross , and Par in golf. These terms are crucial for golfers and add excitement to the game as they strive to achieve lower scores.

How to Score a Birdie: Tips for Golfers

birdie in golf

Scoring a birdie requires a combination of skill, strategy, and focus. Here are some tips to increase your chances of achieving a birdie:

1. Accurate Approach Shots: Focus on precision during your approach shots to position the ball closer to the pin, giving you a better chance at sinking the putt.

2. Putting Practice: Spend time honing your putting skills, as a well-executed putt is crucial for scoring a birdie.

3. Course Management: Assess the course layout and plan your shots strategically to avoid hazards and set up birdie opportunities.

4. Capitalize on Par 5 Holes: Par 5 holes offer the best chance for birdies, as they are typically longer and provide more opportunities to gain strokes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S) :

Yes, the term “double bogey” is used to describe completing a hole in two strokes over par. It’s the opposite of a birdie and signifies a less favorable outcome on a hole.

Scoring a birdie is considered a notable achievement in golf, as it demonstrates a player’s skill and precision. Birdies contribute to lowering a golfer’s overall score and are often a goal during a round of play.

While birdies are more common among experienced golfers, beginners and casual players can also achieve them. As players improve their skills and gain more control over their shots, they increase their chances of scoring birdies.

On a golf scorecard, a birdie is often represented by marking the score for a hole with a “−1” or a small illustration of a bird. This indicates that the player completed the hole with one stroke less than the designated par.

Golfers cherish Birdies as they demonstrate precision and skill in conquering a hole.

Yes, a Birdie has the magical ability to turn a bad round in golf into a good one. When a golfer achieves a Birdie, it not only improves their score but also infuses them with a newfound confidence and enthusiasm. This boost in morale often leads to better performance on subsequent holes, transforming what started as a challenging round into a successful and memorable one.

A birdie in golf is an outstanding accomplishment, reflecting a golfer’s skill and precision on the course. Scoring one stroke under the par for a hole not only lowers your score but also boosts your confidence and builds positive momentum. While birdies are not as rare as eagles or albatrosses, they are still celebrated and revered by golfers worldwide. With the right approach, practice, and focus, you too can experience the thrill of scoring a birdie and elevate your golfing experience to new heights. So, embrace the challenge and let your shots soar like a bird on the green!

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  • June 18, 2016

What are Par, Birdie, Eagle and Bogey?

In simple terms, Par refers to the number of strokes a golfer is expected to finish the game. This could be in terms of a single hole or all the holes in the entire course which could be 9 or 18 in most cases.

Par is the most used word in golf

What the value should be to represent the bar is usually derived from 2 putts and the number of strokes to reach the green from the starting point. In most cases, you will find holes being labelled as par-3, par-4 or par-5. Par-6 is sometimes used although it is not very common.

Naturally, this means that a par-4 hole would be longer than a par-3 hole and so on. For instance, if a hole is listed as par-3, it simply means that you will be expected to use one stroke to hit the ball to the green. Then, 2 putts will be all you need to put the ball into the hole.

The 2 putts here is standard. If the hole is a par-5, it means you will take 3 strokes to reach the green and 2 putts to put it into the hole.

If you are playing in an 18-hole course, it would range between 69 and 74. The more common ones are par-70, par-71 or par-72.

Different hole with different par throughout the course

If you are playing on a par-70 game and completed it within 68 strokes (plus the 2 putts), then you would have been said to have finished it 2-below par. The same will be applied if you needed more strokes to complete the hole. If you took more than 1 stroke to complete a par-5 hole, you will be said to have completed it 1-over par.

If you have completed a par-3 hole with the 3 strokes expected, you will be said to have parred the hole and that has a lot of credibility to it. Sometimes, it is called level par or even-par.

In golf, the term eagle and birdie is commonly used. One might be wondering why the use of flying animals are referred to in this game. The most common perception about this is that it is because the game involved the flight of the ball which offers the most logical explanation while each term is used officially to depict a certain game play for the player and how the hole is being completed.

This is the Eagle you are aiming for

Apart from eagle and birdie, another term that needs to be mentioned here would be bogey. Basically, all the three terms refer to the number of strokes that were used to complete a hole by the specific player. Whether it is a birdie, an eagle or a bogey, they are all directly linked with par which refers to the number of strokes that have been set as the regulation to finish that hole in the course.

Eagle  – An eagle is the highest point scored apart from a hole-in-one where the player completes the hole from the first stroke itself. He would have been deemed to have scored an eagle if he hits the hole with 2 strokes lesser than the par set. For instance, if the game is a par-5 standard, the player who completes the hole in 3 strokes or less would have been deemed as having scored an eagle. This is most common during competitive tournaments and is not so common among recreational players. In most cases, an eagle usually occurs during the second shot, most likely in the preceding shot after the first drive.

Birdie  – As the name implies, a birdie is easier to achieve if compared to an eagle. If the player completes the hole with one stroke below the par, then he would have been regarded to have scored a birdie. Using the par-5 example, if the player completes the hole with 4 strokes or less, a birdie is achieved.

Bogey –  A bogey meanwhile refers to the situation where the player completes the hole with 1 stroke above par. This means that in a par-5 hole, if the player finished the stroke in 6 strokes, then he would have achieved a bogey.

Other terms  – Apart from that, there are other terms related to eagle, birdie and bogey. This includes Double Eagle which means the player finished the hole (par-5) in 2 strokes. A double and triple bogey is used when the player finished the hole in 7 and 8 strokes respectively.

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What Is A Birdie In Golf? All you need to know – explained

Isabela Parker

Updated on: August 17, 2023

Birdie vs par

All of us golfers and golf lovers alike know that there’s nothing quite like the thrill of sinking a birdie. It’s a term we hear all the time in the sport, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.  Understanding the true meaning of a birdie can actually improve your game and make you appreciate golf even more.

Today I want to help you be at the top of your game which is why we’ll explore the meaning and importance of this term.

Scoring Basics

The scoring system of golf is what truly distinguishes it from other sports. It is paradoxical to many other sports: the lower the score, the better. Every hole on a golf course has a predetermined number of shots, or “par,” that an accomplished golfer is expected to need in order to sink the ball.

Golf scores are typically spoken in relation to par. For example, if par is four and you make it in four shots, you’re said to have made “par.” In addition to par, there are terms for performing above or below this standard.

When a golfer takes one fewer shot than the par to hole out, it’s referred to as a birdie. This achievement signifies an excellent performance on that hole and is celebrated by golfers at all skill levels.

The Evolution of Par

Golf Par

The concept of par has not always been a staple of golf. Introduced around the late 19th century, it has played an essential role in making golf the game of skill and precision that we know today. Early on, the term “bogey” was used to refer to the ideal score.

Over time, this was replaced with “par,” and the term “bogey” was repurposed to represent one over par. The transformation in golf scoring terminology not only standardized the scoring system but also paved the way for terms like birdie and eagle.

As the game evolved, so too did the excitement and challenge associated with exceeding the par standard. The advent of terms like birdie served to motivate golfers to continuously improve their game.

The Birth of the Birdie

Golf Birdie

This term finds its roots in American slang. At the turn of the 20th century, “bird” was used as a synonym for “excellent.” The story goes that Ab Smith, a well-known golfer, coined the term “birdie” during a round of golf in 1899.

After sinking a particularly challenging putt, he reportedly exclaimed that it was a “bird of a shot,” referring to its excellence. From then on, a score of one under par became known as a birdie. Understanding the history behind the term provides a fascinating lens through which to view the sport.

It not only adds depth to our knowledge of this sport but also brings a unique and captivating narrative to each round played.

The impact of the birdie on the sport of golf cannot be overstated. It has served as a measure of skill and a beacon of achievement for golfers worldwide. The thrill of making a birdie can fuel a golfer’s passion for the game, inspire continuous improvement, and provide a tangible goal to strive for.

The birdie’s role in competitive golf is equally significant. In tournaments, these can quickly change the leaderboard and bring a fresh dynamic to the competition. It adds an exciting layer of strategy to the game as golfers must decide when to take risks for potential birdies and when to play it safe for par.

Strategies for Making a Birdie

Scoring a birdie requires a combination of skill, strategy, and sometimes a bit of luck. Let’s explore some strategies that can increase your chances of achieving this exciting milestone.

Technical Skills

To give yourself the best chance of making birdies, you’ll need to hone a few key golfing skills . First and foremost, a strong and accurate drive off the tee is essential. It sets the stage for the rest of the hole and can significantly increase your chances of a birdie.

Good chipping and putting skills are also crucial as they allow you to get close to, and ultimately into, the hole with fewer strokes. In addition, understanding the golf course is key to making birdies. This includes knowing the terrain, wind conditions, and the best approach for each hole.

The more you familiarize yourself with a course, the better your chances of scoring under par.

The Mindset of a Birdie Maker

technical skills golf

The technical aspects of golf are undoubtedly important, but achieving these scores also requires the right mindset. Patience is paramount; rushing your shots or attempting to force a birdie can often lead to mistakes.

Instead, focus on playing each shot to the best of your ability and let the birdies come naturally. A positive mindset can go a long way in achieving this score. Golf can be a frustrating game, and it’s easy to get down on yourself after a few bad shots.

However, maintaining a positive attitude and believing in your ability to make this score can often be the difference between making and missing that crucial putt.

How to achieve it?

Get your golf ball in position.

Most recreational golfers won’t be making this score from the rough, dense trees, or water hazards. You need to choose your club wisely. A driver isn’t always the best option. Finding the fairway with your tee shot is the first step to a golf score under par.

Target shorter holes

On any given hole, the shorter your second shot is, the more likely it is that you will be closer to the hole with your approach. It makes scoring easier.

A seasoned golfer will look at the scorecard and use strategic planning to target these holes as potential birdie holes. A par 3 will provide good birdie chances, but your first shot will have to be a good one!

A par 4 less than 350 yards could provide opportunities, as could a par 5 under 450 yards.

Practice your putting

Most golfers won’t be left with a tap-in birdie putt. Most professional golfers make their scores from long range and the secret is that they are really good at putting. Mastering the putter is something even beginners can get good at, so find a putting green and practice.

Patience

An expert golfer will hope to make 1 or 2 birdies in a round of golf. This will be mixed in with pars, bogeys, double bogey, and worse! If you are getting to the green one stroke less than par, then you’re doing great.

If your number of strokes is way above par, don’t be hard on yourself. The game of golf is really tough. On most holes, you may not get the chance to make a birdie, so take your time, find the short grass, and enjoy your time on the course.

A good score will come.

Ask for advice

If you’re struggling to get the ball in the hole, seek guidance from a PGA professional or even your playing partners. They will have also been on the hunt for lower scores and will be happy to help you improve your golf game.

Watching someone scoring a birdie after you have given them a tip is a great feeling.

Birdie vs. Par and Other Scores

The birdie is one of several scores in golf that are relative to par, including the eagle (two under par), albatross (three under par), and the aforementioned bogey. These terms serve as a hierarchy of achievements in golf, with the birdie acting as a significant milestone.

It is a score that separates the average from the exceptional, a goal that motivates golfers to push their limits.

However, it’s also crucial to remember that golf is a game of consistency. While birdies can dramatically improve your score, consistently making par or bogey can also lead to a successful round.

It’s all about finding a balance between risk and reward, and every golfer will have their own approach to this.

What is the rarest score in golf?

The rarest score is a condor, which is four strokes under par. It’s extremely rare and typically only possible on par-5 holes.

What is a tee?

A tee is the area from where you hit your first shot on a hole. It’s also a small peg that you can use to hold your ball up for the first shot on a hole.

What is a good score for a beginner?

A good score for a beginner is typically around 100 for a full 18-hole round.

What is a skin, and how does it relate to birdies?

A skin is a type of betting game where players compete for a prize (the “skin”) on each hole. The player with the lowest score on a hole wins the skin. Therefore, scoring birdies can often lead to winning skins.

How does course design impact the likelihood of scoring a birdie?

Course design can greatly impact the likelihood of scoring a birdie. For example, a course with shorter holes, fewer hazards, and larger greens may present more birdie opportunities.

Golf is a game of skill, strategy, and continuous learning. It demands regular practice and consistency. Furthermore, a birdie is more than just a point on a scorecard; it’s a symbol of personal achievement and progress.

It signifies a well-executed hole and is a source of motivation to improve and achieve even better scores.

Whether it’s your first birdie or your hundredth, each one brings its own sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The excitement and thrill of making a birdie can ignite a passion for golf that lasts a lifetime, trust me!

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Golf Terms: What is an eagle in golf?

An eagle is when a golfer makes a score that is two shots under the designated par for the hole.

Written By: Zach Gollwitzer

Posted in: Golf Score Terms

Featured Image

Term Overview

A brief overview of the term including definition, usage, origins, helpful visuals.

An eagle in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes two strokes less than the designated par for the hole. This is often expressed as "two strokes under par" or more commonly, just "two under".

Rory Mcilroy made a magnificent eagle on the last par 5!

According to the USGA (United States Golf Association), back in 1899, there was a golf match played at Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey where one of the players, Ab Smith remarked, "That was a bird of a shot!". Back in that day, "bird" referred to anything excellent, so he was essentially remarking, "What an excellent shot". Following this logic, an eagle was a more esteemed term than "birdie" while an albatross (double eagle) was even more esteemed than an eagle.

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New to golf and trying to figure out what all the golf scoring terms mean?

Let's talk about one of the most common golf scoring terms—the "eagle".

Definition of an "eagle" in golf

Article image

Here's how you'd hear this on a golf course:

I made an eagle on that short par 5!
I was two under on that hole

Here is how many shots it takes to make an eagle on each type of golf hole.

  • Par 5 hole - On a par 5, an eagle is equal to three strokes.
  • Par 4 hole - On a par 4, an eagle is equal to two strokes.
  • Par 3 hole - On a par 3, a birdie is equal to one stroke (i.e. a "hole-in-one")

Origin of the term "eagle"

According to the USGA (United States Golf Association), back in 1899 there was a golf match played at Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey where one of the players, Ab Smith remarked:

That was a bird of a shot!

Back in that day, "bird" referred to anything great or excellent, so he was essentially remarking, "What an excellent shot".

Following this logic, an eagle was a more esteemed term than "birdie" while an albatross (double eagle) was even more esteemed than an eagle.

While I'm not so sure how true the Atlantic city country club story is, that's what we'll have to go with!

What is "the par" for a golf hole?

In golf, each individual golf hole has a designated "par" based on the hole's distance. This number assumes that a golfer will take two putts on the green, so in general...

  • If the green can be reached on your first shot, it will be a par 3 (1 stroke + 2 putts = 3)
  • If the green can be reached in 2 strokes, it is a par 4 (2 strokes + 2 putts = 4)
  • If the green can be reached in 3 strokes, it is a par 5 (3 strokes + 2 putts = 5).

These distances are different depending on what tee box you are playing from. Players who hit the golf ball shorter will play from the "forward tees" so they can reach the green in the designated number of strokes.

From the championship tees ("back tees") , here are some general distance estimates for each type of hole.

  • Par 3 - Generally, a par 3 is 100-180 yards from the championship tees.
  • Par 4 - Generally, a par 4 is 360-410 yards from the championship tees.
  • Par 5 - Generally, a par 5 is between 450-575 yards from the championship tees.

A golf course will add up all the "pars" for the holes to get the total course par. Generally, this will be either 70, 71, or 72. A golf course with a par of less than 70 are referred to as "Executive Course".

How do you write an eagle on a golf scorecard?

Golf Scorecard Symbols Graphic: What each Mark Means

On a golf scorecard, if you make an eagle, you will put a double circle around it to easily identify it.

A real example of an eagle in golf

I don't have any examples of me making an eagle on camera, but here's a compilation of PGA Tour players making eagles when it matters most!

Most of these examples are tour pros reaching a par 5 in two shots and then making the putt for eagle.

An eagle can also be made by holing out your second shot on a par 4, or making a hole-in-one on a par 3.

Here are some "hole-out eagles" on par 4s:

How common is an eagle for average golfers?

For the average golfer, an eagle is very rare .

Most golfers shoot between 85-110. In this scoring range, you'll generally not be making any eagles.

As you improve your score to the range of 75-85, you might make 1-2 eagles every 15-20 rounds of golf.

And as you start shooting between 65-75, you will generally make several eagles per year, but certainly not every round!

How common is an eagle for a professional golfer?

Professional golfers will generally make 0-2 eagles per four-round tournament. Generally, the winner of each tour event walks away with 1-4 eagles throughout their four days of play, but that's not always the case.

What is an eagle streak?

While "birdie streaks" are much more common than eagle streaks, in very rare circumstances, you might see an expert golfer make two eagles in a row. Three in a row is extremely rare. I'm sure it has happened, but I can't find any occurrences of it!

For example, Bryson accomplished this at the 2021 BMW Championship:

What is the easiest type of golf hole to make an eagle on?

By far, a par 5 hole is the easiest (but not easy ) type of hole to make an eagle on.

When we say a "textbook eagle", that refers to a player reaching a par 5 green in two shots and then making the putt for eagle.

Are different golf courses harder to make eagles on?

Yes, golf courses will use all of the following techniques to make it harder for golfers to make an eagle.

  • Longer holes - the longer the hole, the harder it is to make an eagle
  • Hazards - Water hazards, bunkers, and other challenging course features make it harder to make eagles because in order to make an eagle, you generally need to reach par 5s in two. So if you're in trouble off the tee, that makes it harder.

Related golf terms to "eagle"

Golf Scoring Terms Infographic: Eagle, Birdie, Par, Bogey, and More

Below are other golf scoring terms related to an eagle in golf:

  • Hole-in-one - Also called an "ace", this is when you hit your tee shot in the hole and is most common on par 3s. On a par 3, a hole-in-one is also an "eagle". On a par 4, it is considered an "albatross" or "double eagle".
  • Condor - Also called a "triple eagle", this is the rarest golf score in golf because it requires you to get a hole-in-one on a par 5 hole. This has only happened a handful of times in history, and has never been caught on camera.
  • Albatross - Also called a "double eagle", an albatross is when you shoot 3 shots under the designated "par" for the hole. On a par 3, this is impossible to make. On a par 4, this is equivalent to a hole-in-one. On a par 5, this is when you hit your second shot in the hole.
  • Birdie - A birdie is when you shoot one shot under the designated "par" for the hole. On a par 3, this is equivalent to a 2. On a par 4, this is when you make a 3. On a par 5, this is when you make a 4.
  • Par - A par is when you take an equal number of strokes as designated by the "par" for the hole. On a par 3 this is a 3, par 4 a 4, and as you guessed, a par 5, this is a 5. This is often referred to as "even par", hence why you'll often see the symbol "E" as in the graphic above.
  • Bogey - A bogey is when you shoot 1 stroke over par . For example, on a par 5, this would be a score of 6.
  • Double bogey - A double bogey is when you shoot 2 strokes over par for the hole. For example, on a par 3, this would be a score of 5.
  • Triple bogey (and worse) - A triple bogey (and worse) is when you take 3 strokes over par or more . For example, on a par 4, a score of 7 is a triple bogey, a score of 8 is a quadruple bogey, a score of 9 is a quintuple bogey, and so on.

About the author: Zach Gollwitzer

Zach Gollwitzer profile picture

Hey, I‘m Zach, the founder of The DIY Golfer! I created this site while playing D1 collegiate golf with a simple mission—I wanted to learn the golf swing and get better at golf myself.

Fast forward a few years, and my “journal“, The DIY Golfer, has been viewed by millions of golfers worldwide looking to do the same with their games. my mission is to make golfers more consistent in just a few hours a week through advanced practice strategies and timeless, first-principle golf instruction.

The Ultimate Golf Terms Glossary

Learn all the golf terms and lingo will my comprehensive golf terms glossary

Related Terms

Golf Scoring Terms: Handicap cover image

Based on the score a golfer shoots and the assigned difficulty rating of the golf course they played, they will get a "handicap".

Golf Slang: "All Square" cover image

When a match is "all square", that means that two golfers are tied.

Golf Terms: Aggregate Score cover image

Aggregate Score

Aggregate score is the cumulative score a golfer holds over multiple rounds and is most common in golf tournament scoring.

Golf Terms: What is an Ace in golf? cover image

An ace, also known as a "hole in one" is when a golfer makes their tee shot. This is most common on par 3 holes.

Golf Terms: What is a Birdie in Golf? cover image

A birdie in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes one stroke less than the designated par for the hole.

Golf Score Terms: What is a Double Bogey in Golf? cover image

Double Bogey

A double bogey is when a golfer makes a score of two over the designated par for the hole.

Golf Score Terms: Out of Bounds cover image

Out of Bounds

Marked with white stakes, out-of-bounds areas on the course require the golfer to re-hit and add 2 penalty strokes to their score.

Golf Scoring Terms: Slope Rating cover image

Slope Rating

Similar to course rating, the slope rating is an approximation of how difficult a course will play for a high handicapper, or "bogey golfer".

Golf Terms: What is an Albatross in Golf? cover image

An albatross describes a score of 3 under the designated par for the golf hole.

Mentioned in

Birdie vs. Eagle: What's the difference in golf? cover image

What is the difference between a birdie and an eagle in golf? In this post, we walk through the major differences.

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How Is a Birdie in Golf? A Clear and Knowledgeable Explanation

How is a Birdie in Golf

Golf is a popular sport that requires precision, strategy, and skill. One of the most sought-after achievements in golf is to score a birdie, which is when a player completes a hole in one stroke under par. This accomplishment is not only impressive but also crucial for a player’s overall score.

To understand how a birdie is achieved in golf, it’s important to first understand the concept of par. Par is the number of strokes that an expert golfer should take to complete a hole. For example, if a hole is a par 4, an expert golfer should take four strokes to complete it. If a player completes the hole in fewer strokes than par, they score under par, and if they take more strokes, they score over par.

A birdie is achieved when a player completes a hole in one stroke under par. This means that if a hole is a par 4, and a player completes it in three strokes, they score a birdie. Birdies are significant in golf because they lower a player’s overall score and can make a significant difference in the outcome of a game.

Understanding Golf Terms

Golf is a sport that has its own unique vocabulary. Understanding these golf terms is essential for anyone who wants to learn and play the game. Here are some of the most common golf terms:

  • Birdie : A birdie is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. For example, if a golfer takes three strokes to complete a par-4 hole, they have made a birdie.
  • Par : Par is the number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole. The number of strokes that make up par varies depending on the length and difficulty of the hole.
  • Bogey : A bogey is a score of one stroke over par for a hole. For example, if a golfer takes five strokes to complete a par-4 hole, they have made a bogey.
  • Eagle : An eagle is a score of two strokes under par for a hole. For example, if a golfer takes two strokes to complete a par-4 hole, they have made an eagle.
  • Double bogey : A double bogey is a score of two strokes over par for a hole. For example, if a golfer takes six strokes to complete a par-4 hole, they have made a double bogey.

In addition to these terms, golfers use many other words and phrases to describe different aspects of the game. Some of these terms include “fairway,” “rough,” “green,” “putt,” “drive,” “approach shot,” and “sand trap.” By learning and understanding these golf terms, players can communicate effectively with their fellow golfers and better understand the rules and strategies of the game.

The Concept of Birdie

In golf, a birdie is a term used to describe a score of one stroke under par for a hole. The term “birdie” is believed to have originated in the late 19th century in the United States. It is said that a golfer named Ab Smith coined the term while playing a round of golf with his partner. After hitting a good shot, his partner exclaimed, “That was a bird of a shot, Ab!” The term “birdie” was later adopted to describe a score of one stroke under par.

A par score is the number of strokes that a skilled golfer is expected to make to complete a hole. The number of strokes that make up par can vary depending on the length and difficulty of the hole. For example, a par-3 hole is typically shorter and less difficult than a par-5 hole. A birdie is therefore a score that is better than what is expected of a skilled golfer.

Birdies are an important part of golf because they can help a player lower their overall score. Golfers aim to make as many birdies as possible during a round of golf. The more birdies a golfer makes, the better chance they have of winning the tournament or competition.

In summary, a birdie in golf is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. It is an important part of the game because it can help a player lower their overall score and increase their chances of winning.

History of the Birdie Term

The term “birdie” was first used in the late 19th century in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to describe a score of one stroke under par on a golf hole. The exact origin of the term is unclear, but it is believed to have been coined by Abner Smith, a wealthy Atlantic City businessman who was an avid golfer.

The term “birdie” quickly caught on and became a popular term among golfers. In the early 20th century, the term was used to describe any score that was one stroke under par, regardless of the hole’s difficulty. However, as golf courses became more challenging, the term began to be used exclusively for scores of one stroke under par on a hole.

In the 1920s, the term “birdie” became part of golfing vernacular, and it was included in the official rules of golf in 1933. The term “birdie” is now widely recognized and used by golfers around the world to describe a score of one stroke under par on a hole.

Interestingly, the term “birdie” has also given rise to other golfing terms, such as “eagle” (two strokes under par) and “albatross” (three strokes under par). These terms are also widely used by golfers and are included in the official rules of golf.

How to Score a Birdie

Scoring a birdie in golf is a great achievement that every golfer aspires to achieve. A birdie is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. In other words, if a golfer gets a birdie on a par 4 hole, they have completed the hole in three strokes.

To score a birdie, a golfer needs to hit a great shot off the tee, followed by a well-placed approach shot and a solid putt. Here are some tips on how to score a birdie:

  • Choose the right club: It is important to choose the right club for the shot. A golfer should consider the distance, wind, and any other factors that may affect the shot.
  • Hit a great tee shot: A golfer should aim to hit a straight tee shot that lands in the fairway. This will give them the best chance of hitting a good approach shot.
  • Place the approach shot well: The approach shot is crucial for scoring a birdie. A golfer should aim to place the ball on the green, close to the pin. This will give them a good chance of sinking the putt.
  • Make the putt: The final step to scoring a birdie is to make the putt. A golfer should take their time and read the green carefully before making the putt. They should aim to hit the ball with the right speed and direction to sink the putt.

In conclusion, scoring a birdie in golf requires skill, practice, and a bit of luck. By following these tips, a golfer can increase their chances of scoring a birdie and achieving their goals on the course.

Importance of Birdie in Golf

In golf, a birdie is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. It is an accomplishment that every golfer strives for and can be a game-changer in a tournament. A birdie can help a golfer gain momentum, confidence, and a better position on the leaderboard.

Birdies are important for several reasons. First, they can help a golfer recover from a bogey or double bogey, which are scores that are over par for a hole. By scoring a birdie, a golfer can make up for the lost strokes and get back on track.

Second, birdies can help a golfer gain an advantage over their competitors. In a tournament, every stroke counts, and a birdie can make a significant difference in the final score.

Third, birdies can help a golfer build confidence and momentum. Scoring a birdie can give a golfer a boost of energy and motivation to continue playing well. It can also put pressure on their competitors to keep up with their pace.

In summary, birdies are an important part of golf. They can help a golfer recover from mistakes, gain an advantage over competitors, and build confidence and momentum. Every golfer strives for birdies, and they can be a game-changer in a tournament.

Strategies to Achieve a Birdie

Golfers know that a birdie is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. Achieving a birdie requires skill, practice, and a good strategy. In this section, we’ll discuss some strategies that can help golfers achieve a birdie.

Course Management

Course management is an essential part of achieving a birdie. Golfers must be strategic in their shot selection and course navigation. Here are some tips for effective course management:

  • Identify the hazards: Golfers should identify the hazards on the course, such as bunkers, water hazards, and out-of-bounds areas. Knowing where the hazards are can help golfers avoid them and reduce the risk of losing strokes.
  • Play to your strengths: Golfers should play to their strengths and avoid shots that they are not comfortable with. For example, if a golfer is better at hitting a fade, they should aim for a spot on the fairway that allows them to use that shot.
  • Plan ahead: Golfers should plan their shots ahead of time. They should consider the wind direction, the slope of the green, and the position of the pin. By planning ahead, golfers can make more informed shot choices and increase their chances of achieving a birdie.

Practice Drills

Practice is essential for improving a golfer’s skills and increasing their chances of achieving a birdie. Here are some practice drills that can help:

  • Putting practice: Putting is crucial for achieving a birdie. Golfers should practice their putting skills regularly. They can set up a putting mat in their home or practice on the putting green at their local golf course.
  • Short game practice: Golfers should also practice their short game skills, such as chipping and pitching. They can set up a practice area in their backyard or use the short game area at their local golf course.
  • Shot shaping practice: Golfers should practice shaping their shots, such as hitting a fade or a draw. They can use the driving range at their local golf course to practice different shot shapes.

Mental Preparation

Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation when it comes to achieving a birdie. Golfers should be mentally prepared to make the shot and confident in their abilities. Here are some tips for mental preparation:

  • Visualize the shot: Golfers should visualize the shot they want to make before they take it. They should imagine the ball flying through the air and landing on the green.
  • Stay focused: Golfers should stay focused on the shot at hand and not let distractions, such as other golfers or noise, affect their concentration.
  • Stay positive: Golfers should maintain a positive attitude and believe in their ability to make the shot. They should avoid negative self-talk and focus on their strengths.

By following these strategies, golfers can increase their chances of achieving a birdie and improving their overall game.

Birdie Vs. Other Golf Scores

In golf, scoring is based on the number of strokes it takes to complete a hole. A birdie is a score of one stroke under par for a hole. Understanding the differences between birdie and other golf scores is important for any golfer looking to improve their game.

Birdie Vs. Par

Par is the standard number of strokes that an expert golfer should take to complete a hole. A birdie is one stroke less than par, while a bogey is one stroke more. For example, if a hole has a par of 4, a birdie would be a score of 3, while a bogey would be a score of 5.

Birdie Vs. Eagle

An eagle is a score of two strokes under par for a hole. This is a more difficult score to achieve than a birdie. For example, if a hole has a par of 5, an eagle would be a score of 3, while a birdie would be a score of 4.

Birdie Vs. Bogey

A bogey is a score of one stroke over par for a hole. This is a less desirable score than a birdie. For example, if a hole has a par of 4, a bogey would be a score of 5, while a birdie would be a score of 3.

In conclusion, birdies are a desirable score in golf, as they represent a skillful performance on a hole. Understanding the differences between birdies and other golf scores can help golfers set goals and track their progress on the course.

Famous Birdies in Golf History

Birdies are an essential part of golf, and they have been recorded throughout the history of the sport. Some of the most famous birdies in golf history include:

  • Jack Nicklaus’ Birdie on the 17th Hole at the 1986 Masters : Jack Nicklaus, also known as the Golden Bear, is considered one of the greatest golfers of all time. In the final round of the 1986 Masters, he made a birdie on the 17th hole, which helped him win his sixth green jacket.
  • Phil Mickelson’s Birdie on the 18th Hole at the 2004 Masters : Phil Mickelson is another legendary golfer who has won numerous championships throughout his career. In the final round of the 2004 Masters, he made a birdie on the 18th hole, which secured his first major championship victory.
  • Tiger Woods’ Birdie on the 16th Hole at the 2005 Masters : Tiger Woods is perhaps the most famous golfer in history, and he has made countless birdies throughout his career. One of his most memorable birdies came on the 16th hole at the 2005 Masters, where he chipped in from the rough to take the lead.
  • Arnold Palmer’s Birdie on the 18th Hole at the 1960 U.S. Open : Arnold Palmer, also known as the King, was one of the most popular golfers of his era. In the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open, he made a birdie on the 18th hole to win the championship by two strokes.

These birdies are just a few examples of the many memorable moments in the history of golf. They showcase the skill and precision required to make a birdie, and they demonstrate why this shot is so important in the game of golf.

What is a Handicap in Golf

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Sahith Theegala’s birdie binge, Collin Morikawa’s emotional opening tee shot among 5 things to know from first round of The Sentry

Sahith Theegala is back for the second time at The Sentry. One year after he shot 10 under for 72 holes, he opened with 10 birdies on Thursday and shot 9-under 64 at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course to take a one-stroke lead over a bunched-up leaderboard on a low-scoring day thanks to calm conditions.

“I saw something about first timers not doing great here and I believe it,” he said.

Theegala, 26, proved to be a quick learner. He recorded the most birdies in a PGA Tour round in what was his 250 th career round on Tour, including six in a row to start his back nine.

Theegala, who notched his first Tour title at the Fortinet Championship in September, has the lead after 18 holes for the second time in his career over a handful of players.

The scoring average was almost 4-under as the wind laid down.

Here’s four more things to know about the first round of The Sentry.

The Sentry: Photos | Friday tee times, how to watch

Morikawa making birdies for Hawaii relief

Collin Morikawa has won two major championships and experienced the heights of the game but the honor of hitting the first tee shot at The Sentry on Thursday at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course on Maui he said was as good as it gets.

“I can talk about final rounds, last shots, first tee, final group and those in the majors, but that was as big of an honor as I could have had,” he said. “Not because it was the first tournament of the year, but because it was out here in Maui, everything that this week represents for me. It just means that much more.”

That’s because a series of wild fires broke out in August in the state of Hawaii, predominantly causing devastation in Maui and not far from Kapalua at Lahaina’s Front Street. Morikawa’s grandfather once owned a restaurant there.

“I wasn’t on the first tee for the opening ceremony, but I heard it as I was walking up to go to the range. It got a little bit emotional,” Morikawa said. “I think just because I know what everyone has gone through, you hear it from these families, and you meet everyone out here on the island that knows someone or has been affected firsthand. Maui’s small. Hawaii’s very, very small. People know everyone. Just got emotional. Being able to hit that first tee shot, it was an honor just to be able to do that and, yeah, it’s a great way to kick off the new year.”

So is shooting a bogey-free 8-under 65 in the first round. Morikawa is donating $2,000 for every birdie and $4,000 for every eagle. Six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 ninth equaled $16,000 for the first round, a figure that his apparel sponsor Adidas agreed to match.

Morikawa, who blew a six-stroke lead heading into the final round last year at The Sentry, is just one stroke off the lead and playing for a higher purpose this week. He was most pleased with how he flighted the ball and controlled spin.

“Out here you just got to be able to hit shots and I think the next three days with the wind probably picking up to normal or higher winds you just got to be able to see the shot and really feel it and have control of the spin on the golf ball, that’s the ultimate thing,” he said. “It’s all about spin control, it really is. Especially as soft the greens are, especially when you’re hitting up into the grain. You just got to have to control the height and spin and just kind of feel it from there.”

Villegas returns after nine-year absence

Camilo Villegas made birdie on half the holes on Thursday en route to an 8-under 65. He made only one par on the back nine.

“The putter was hot,” he said. “I had a good feel on the lines, good feel on the speed.”

It is a continuation of the strong play that saw Villegas, who turns 42 on Sunday, go from battling for status to his fifth PGA Tour title at the Bermuda Championship and fourth trip to start the year at Kapalua and first in nine years.

“Sometimes you kind of fear kind of losing your job and not being able to do what we do, because I like to compete,” Villegas said. “It’s nice to be here, nice to be back with the big boys, and nice to get to a good start today.”

Villegas is the oldest player to open with a 65 or lower at The Sentry since Jack Nicklaus in 1983 at age 43 when the tournament was held at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California.

Schauffele leads in SG: Off the Tee

Xander Schauffele took advantage of calm conditions and posted a bogey-free 7-under 66.

“I got a text this morning saying it was going to be super windy, and it was pretty benign today,” he said.

Schauffele adjusted on the fly and ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in the first round. Schauffele heated up on the back nine, beginning with a 22-foot putt for birdie at No. 10, the longest birdie he made all day.

Schauffele, who won this tournament in 2019, said he’ll be ready for the wind when it picks it up.

“I saw that little breeze logo on the weather app, so I think it’s going to be pretty windy tomorrow,” he said.

Day's back-nine birdie binge

Jason Day hasn’t been absent from Kapalua quite as long as Villegas, but this is his first trip back to Maui since 2019.

“I just can’t help but feel thankful to be able to play this game, and be here healthy and enjoying golf, which is a good thing,” he said. “I still want to compete and play well and try and win this tournament. So, three more days to go, but I feel very lucky to be here.”

Day, 36, who teamed with Lydia Ko to win the Grant Thornton Invitational in December, made seven birdies and an eagle to join the logjam at 8-under 65.

“I was thinking, if I could get 2-, 3-under on the front side, which ended up 2-under and then there’s definitely a lot more opportunities on the back side,” he said. “I felt like I just really kind of found my footing in the middle part of my round.”

[lawrence-related id=778421867]

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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Theegala leads season opener at Kapalua with 64. Morikawa hits opening tee shot packed with emotion

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Sahith Theegala made six straight birdies to start the back nine and finished with one last birdie for a 9-under 64 and a one-shot lead in The Sentry as the PGA Tour season began Thursday with beautiful views on the horizon and on scorecards.

The largest field in Kapalua — 59 players consisting of PGA Tour winners and the top 50 in the FedEx Cup — had little trouble on a Plantation course with only a mild breeze and fast fairways.

Collin Morikawa was among those at 65, starting with what he considers one of the most emotional opening tee shots he has ever hit.

The two-time major champion has a strong connection to Maui through his grandparents, who were born in Lahaina and long ago ran a restaurant. He was moved deeply by the deadly fires in August that killed 100 people and leveled a historic town.

So it was no surprise the PGA Tour had him hit the opening shot of the 2024 season, right after a ceremony on the first tee that included a Hawaiian prayer and blessing.

“I can talk about final rounds, last shots, first tee, final group and those in the majors, but that was as big of an honor as I could have had,” he said. “Not because it was the first tournament of the year, but because it was out here in Maui, everything that this week represents for me. It just means that much more.”

He followed that with six birdies and a 3-wood he carved beautifully up to the elevated green for an eagle on the par-5 ninth.

FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland, Jason Day, Camilo Villegas and Sungjae Im also were one shot off the lead at 65.

Villegas, who qualified by winning in Bermuda, made the first birdie of the year.

The first foul ball belonged to Jordan Spieth, who piped his drive into the native grass right of the third fairway for a double bogey. Spieth bounced back with nine birdies and was at 66, along with world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.

Eighteen players were at 67 or lower, and that was to be expected. The Plantation course’s biggest defense is the wind, and it laid down for much of the day. Even bad starts turned out well. Justin Rose went out in 40 and had six birdies on the back to salvage a 71.

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

David Duval remembers his dominant nine-stroke win at Kapalua in 1999

David Duval won by nine shots at the 1999 Mercedes Championships. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

David Duval won by nine shots at the 1999 Mercedes Championships. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

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Editor’s note: In 1999, the PGA TOUR moved its tournament designed for the previous year’s champions – the Mercedes Championships – from California’s La Costa Resort and Spa to the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii. David Duval won four 1998 tournaments, earning him the right to play in that inaugural Kapalua tournament. A current member of PGA TOUR Champions, Duval fondly remembers that week when he simply dominated the field.

At La Costa Resort and Spa in 1998, I was a stroke behind Phil Mickelson going into the final round of what was then called the Mercedes Championships (now The Sentry) – a 30-player field for winners from the previous season. I didn’t play well on the last day, shooting a 1-over 73 and dropping into a tie for sixth. I never had a chance for a do-over at La Costa as the TOUR moved the 1999 Mercedes Championships to The Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui.

I arrived in Hawaii having never played the course before. I had never even seen it, but everything about my first visit to Kapalua was memorable, from my week-long stay at The Ritz-Carlton Maui to the incredible Hawaii weather and how welcoming all the fans and volunteers were.

Of course, it’s always a nice memory when you finish the week with a win. Yet, even with the victory, the week had an element of disappointment.

I went into the final round holding a comfortable five-shot lead over Fred Funk. Fred quickly narrowed my lead to three shots through five holes after I got off to a bit of a slow start, with four pars and a bogey. I was intent on not having a second consecutive poor Sunday in this tournament.

I did get things rolling after that, and Fred’s birdie on No. 5 was his final one of the day. I kept hitting good shots and slowly pulled away from Fred and the other contenders, who were within shouting distance of me through 54 holes – Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Billy Mayfair. None was able to cut into my advantage.

David Duval in action during the Mercedes Championships at The Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (Jon Ferry/Allsport)

David Duval in action during the Mercedes Championships at The Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. (Jon Ferry/Allsport)

But here’s the disappointment: Mayfair, playing in the group ahead of me, had finished the tournament, posting a 17-under score. By that time, I was at 25-under after making birdies at Nos. 14, 16 and 17. I had basically locked up the tournament with only the par-5 18th left to play.

After hitting a nice drive up the middle of the fairway on the closing hole, I hit a 3-wood approach on the green to what I would call roughly 20 feet, maybe 22 feet. I had that left for an eagle. A lag putt would give me a two-putt birdie, yet 25 years later, I can say now that I wanted to make that eagle putt as much as I wanted to make any putt ever. An eagle at the last would have given me a 10-stroke win, a double-digit victory. Nine is a great margin, but it’s not 10, and I had never had one of those. To me, a 10-shot win is total dominance, a beatdown.

I think about victory margins every once in a while because I’ve had to tell people that while I tied for eighth at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – a decent showing – I got beat by 19 strokes.

That’s why, with the victory no longer in doubt, a double-digit win became important to me. Make an eagle was my thinking as I faced that putt on the 72nd hole.

Unfortunately, my putt came up short, leaving me to tap in for birdie and a 266 total of 26-under, nine strokes better than Mayfair and Mark O’Meara. It was a convincing victory, but I only won by nine.

I can’t say I was that surprised by how I played that week, even on a new course. I just played and tried to do the best I could. Golf can be a pretty simple game when the golf ball is going where you want it to go. I was playing solid that week, and the ball simply went where I planned it to go.

After the win, I took a week off and went skiing. I returned to action the following week in the California desert at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (now The American Express). In a five-round tournament in Palm Springs, I again finished at 26-under, winning that tournament by a stroke over Steve Pate. That was a great year for me because all my wins came back-to-back. A couple of months later, I went to THE PLAYERS Championship and won at TPC Sawgrass to move to No. 1 in the world for the first time. I then turned around and won the following week in Atlanta at TPC Sugarloaf.

I don’t think many people would think of that BellSouth Classic win in Atlanta as one of my most important wins. Still, in many ways there was a professional satisfaction because I ascended to No. 1 at THE PLAYERS and then won again the next week, validating my position. That season, of course, all started at Kapalua, where I got my year off to a great start, making 29 birdies and only three bogeys.

Still, I would have gladly traded one of those birdies for an eagle.

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Golf Scoring Terms (Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross, and More)

    Golf Scoring Terms Explained Stroke - In golf, a "Stroke" is any forward club swing, including when putting, that a golfer is trying to hit the ball. You can essentially use "Stroke" as a synonym for a shot/putt, but keep in mind that it also includes "whiffs" if you miss the ball when trying to hit it.

  2. Golf Score Terms: Birdies, Bogeys, Pars, More Meanings

    A birdie is a score of 1-under par on a hole (for example, scoring 4 on a par-5). A bogey is 1-over par on a hole. An eagle is 2-under par on a hole. A double bogey is 2-over par on a hole. A double eagle (very rare) is 3-under par (also called an "albatross"). A triple bogey is 3-over par.

  3. Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle, Albatross

    The modern meaning of three of the terms - bogey, birdie and eagle - comes from their use in USA. Bogey Par Birdie Eagle Albatross Condor Bogey "Bogey" was the first stroke system, developed in England at the end of the 19th Century. The full history is given in Robert Browning's History of Golf 1955.

  4. Ultimate guide to common golf terms for beginner golfers

    So, if you finish a par 4 with only 3 strokes, you make a "birdie", but if you take 5 strokes to complete a par 4, you make a "bogey". Players often keep their cumulative score for an entire...

  5. Golf Scoring Terms: Meanings of Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle

    Par in Different Holes. Par-3 Holes: Usually shorter, requiring precision.; Par-4 Holes: Moderate length and the most common.; Par-5 Holes: Longer, allowing skilled players to score under par.; The Under Par Terms. These terms describe scoring better than par. Birdie. Definition: One stroke under par.; Significance: Reflects good performance and skill.; Example: If par is 4, scoring a 3 is ...

  6. Golf Scoring Term: Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle and More

    Birdie: A birdie is a single stroke under par, so if a golfer takes 3 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored a birdie. Eagle: An eagle is two strokes under par. So if a golfer takes 2 shots to get their ball into the hole on a par 4, they have scored an eagle.

  7. Bogey, Birdie, Eagle and Albatross: How These Terms Add Up ...

    Updated March 1, 2022 Image Credits We've all heard the golf scoring terms bogey, birdie, eagle and albatross (okay, maybe you haven't heard that one) but those outside of the golfing world might not know what they mean. The words are ones you need to know as you learn the game, either on the course or as a casual observer. It All Starts with Par

  8. What are Birdie, Bogey, and Eagle in Golf?

    Maurice FinnJul 27, 2023 0 comments Understanding golf's unique scoring system is crucial to up your game and embracing the complexities of this dynamic sport. In this article, we're going to dive into three important golf score terms that every player should know: Birdie, Bogey, and Eagle.

  9. Par? Birdie? Eagle? Bogey? GOLF SCORECARD EXPLAINED

    Are you curious how the scoring in golf works? What is a par? Birdie? Eagle? Bogey? Well, in today's video, I go into explaining these terms and what they me...

  10. Golf Scoring

    Birdie: Scoring one stroke under par on a hole, such as making a 3 on a par 4 hole. Eagle: Scoring two strokes under par on a hole, like making a 2 on a par 4 hole. Bogey: Scoring one stroke over par on a hole, for example, making a 5 on a par 4 hole.

  11. What is Birdie In Golf? Bogey, Double Bogey, Eagle, and Albatross

    In golf, a score of one stroke over par is called a bogey, two strokes over par are called a double bogey, a score of one stroke under par is called a birdie, two strokes under par is called an eagle, and three strokes under par is called an albatross.

  12. Golf Scorecard Symbols: How to Decipher the Shapes

    March 17, 2023 If you're new to golf, trying to read a golf scorecard with symbols is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics sometimes with squares above par holes, circles, triangles, and more. But there's a reason for the golf scoring symbols you see on a completed scorecard. It helps you quickly differentiate birdies, pars, bogeys and more.

  13. What are the scores in golf called?

    A bogey is the name for a score of 1 over par on a hole. Unlike a birdie, eagle, albatross, or condor, a bogey is generally considered a poor score. Since the golfer is supposed to make a par on average, a bogey is generally considered as losing a shot or "dropping a shot". In golf, a bogey is not usually a good thing!

  14. Birdie, Bogey and more: Explaining the often confusing golf scoring terms

    The numerous under-par scores are known by corresponding terms as well. Birdie: A birdie is '1-under par'. It means you took one stroke less than expected number of strokes to finish a hole. Eagle: An eagle is '2-under par'. It means you took two strokes less than the expected number of strokes to finish a hole.

  15. All Golf Scoring Terms Defined

    An albatross is a score of 3 under par on a hole. This would mean you finished a par 5 in 2 strokes. Believe it or not this is even more rare than a hole in one! You might also hear the term "double eagle" instead of albatross. PGA TOUR player Max Homa coined the term "beagle" by combining birdie and eagle on one hole.

  16. What Is A Birdie In Golf? Definition, Scoring System, And Examples

    - "Birdie vs Other Golf Scores" for a comparison between birdie, eagle, par, and bogey. How to Achieve a Birdie. Scoring a birdie in golf is a great accomplishment that every golfer aspires to achieve. It signifies that you have completed a hole in one stroke under . To consistently achieve birdies, you need to have a solid understanding ...

  17. Eagle vs. Birdie in Golf: What's the Difference?

    The difference boils down to this: An eagle is one better than a birdie. Now let's explain. Each hole on a golf course has a number that represents its "par." A golf hole's par is the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need (on average) to play that hole.

  18. Birdie vs. Eagle: What's the difference in golf?

    Term Overview A brief overview of the term including definition, usage, origins, helpful visuals. Birdie Eagle Definition A birdie in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes one stroke less than the designated par for the hole.

  19. What is a birdie bogey and eagle in golf?

    To summarize, a birdie is 1-under par, a bogey is 1-over par, an eagle is 2-under par, a double bogey is 2-over par, and a double eagle (or albatross) is 3-under par. These terms are important in golf as they describe a player's score on a specific hole and can have a significant impact on their overall round.

  20. Birdie in Golf

    While birdies are not as rare as eagles (scoring two strokes under par), they are still considered an impressive feat. The frequency of birdies depends on various factors, including the golfer's skill level, course difficulty, weather conditions, and the length of the hole. What's the Difference Between Birdie, Eagle, Par and Albatross?

  21. What are Par, Birdie, Eagle and Bogey?

    Birdie - As the name implies, a birdie is easier to achieve if compared to an eagle. If the player completes the hole with one stroke below the par, then he would have been regarded to have scored a birdie. Using the par-5 example, if the player completes the hole with 4 strokes or less, a birdie is achieved.

  22. What Is A Birdie In Golf? All you need to know

    Birdie vs. Par and Other Scores The birdie is one of several scores in golf that are relative to par, including the eagle (two under par), albatross (three under par), and the aforementioned bogey. These terms serve as a hierarchy of achievements in golf, with the birdie acting as a significant milestone.

  23. Golf Terms: What is an eagle in golf?

    Here is how many shots it takes to make an eagle on each type of golf hole. Par 5 hole - On a par 5, an eagle is equal to three strokes. Par 4 hole - On a par 4, an eagle is equal to two strokes. Par 3 hole - On a par 3, a birdie is equal to one stroke (i.e. a "hole-in-one") Origin of the term "eagle"

  24. How Is a Birdie in Golf? A Clear and Knowledgeable Explanation

    Birdie Vs. Par. Par is the standard number of strokes that an expert golfer should take to complete a hole. A birdie is one stroke less than par, while a bogey is one stroke more. For example, if a hole has a par of 4, a birdie would be a score of 3, while a bogey would be a score of 5. Birdie Vs. Eagle

  25. Day's back-nine birdie binge

    So is shooting a bogey-free 8-under 65 in the first round. Morikawa is donating $2,000 for every birdie and $4,000 for every eagle. Six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 ninth equaled $16,000 for ...

  26. Theegala leads season opener at Kapalua with 64. Morikawa hits opening

    KAPALUA, Hawaii — Sahith Theegala made six straight birdies to start the back nine and finished with one last birdie for a 9-under 64 and a one-shot lead in The Sentry as the PGA Tour season ...

  27. David Duval remembers his dominant first visit to Kapalua

    Make an eagle was my thinking as I faced that putt on the 72nd hole. Unfortunately, my putt came up short, leaving me to tap in for birdie and a 266 total of 26-under, nine strokes better than ...