what is the difference between birdie and eagle 2
what is the difference between birdie and eagle 2

Birdie and Eagle are commonly used in golf, but what exactly do they mean?

While both signify successful shots, there is a significant difference between the two. In golf, a birdie refers to when a player completes one hole under par, while an eagle occurs when a player finishes two strokes under par.

These distinctions may seem subtle to novice golfers, but for those well-versed in the game, they represent moments of triumph and skill on the course.

So, let’s uncover the mystery behind these terms and explore the nuances that set birdies apart from eagles.

Scoring in Golf

Golf is a beautiful sport that enthusiasts around the world love. It requires skill, precision, and strategy and is often enjoyed recreationally and competitively. Central to the game of golf is scoring, which typically involves counting the number of strokes it takes to complete a round of play.

However, exceptional achievements in golf are celebrated and acknowledged with specific terms. Two of these terms are “birdie” and “eagle.” In this article, we will delve into the definitions of birdie and Eagle, explore how they are achieved, compare their significance, discuss their frequency of occurrence, and examine their impact on golf.

Birdie Definition

Let’s start by defining what a birdie is in golf scoring. In golf, a birdie is achieved when a player completes a hole in one stroke fewer than what is considered par for that hole.

Par refers to the predetermined number of strokes an accomplished golfer must take to complete a particular hole or course. For example, if a hole is designated as a par 4, achieving a birdie would mean completing that hole in 3 strokes. Birdies are highly valued and regarded as a demonstration of skill and competence on the golf course.

What Is The Difference Between Birdie And Eagle?

Eagle Definition

Now, let’s turn our attention to the definition of an eagle. An eagle is a scoring achievement that surpasses the accomplishment of a birdie. It occurs when a player completes a hole in two strokes fewer than the designated par. But, achieving an eagle means completing a par four hole in just two or a par five hole in 3 strokes. Eagles are rare and remarkable feats in the game of golf, and they are often met with excitement and admiration from both players and spectators.

How They Are Achieved

Now that we clearly understand what birdies and eagles are, let’s explore how these achievements are attained on the golf course.


To achieve a birdie, a golfer must exhibit skill and precision in their shot-making abilities. They must carefully evaluate the distance, wind conditions, and terrain of the hole they are playing. A golfer can aim to place their ball closer to the hole by employing strategic shot selection and executing accurate swings. Doing so increases their chances of successfully sinking their putt in one stroke fewer than par. Birdies are often accomplished through exceptional fairway shots, accurate approach shots, or skillful recovery shots.


Achieving an eagle requires an even higher level of skill and precision. Golfers must showcase exceptional shot-making abilities and capitalize on opportunities the course layout presents. Generally, eagles are accomplished by playing an outstanding tee shot that covers a significant distance and positions the ball favorably for the subsequent shot.

This is followed by an equally impressive approach shot that allows the player to be within striking distance of the hole. Lastly, the golfer must make a well-executed putt to complete the hole in two strokes fewer than par. Eagles are a testament to a golfer’s talent, strategy, and ability to capitalize on favorable circumstances.

What Is The Difference Between Birdie And Eagle?

Scoring Comparison

While both birdies and eagles are exceptional achievements in golf, it is essential to understand their differences.

Birdie vs. Eagle

The primary distinction between a birdie and an eagle lies in the number of strokes required to complete a hole. A birdie signifies completing a hole in one stroke fewer than par, while an eagle represents completing a hole in two strokes fewer than par. This means that achieving an eagle requires a higher level of excellence and precision compared to a birdie.

Achieving a birdie is often seen as a solid accomplishment and a positive reflection of a golfer’s ability. It demonstrates their skill in navigating the course and executing well-thought-out shots. However, an eagle is considered an extraordinary and monumental feat. It signifies a player’s exceptional level of play and places them among the elite golfers capable of achieving such heights.

Frequency of Occurrence

Now that we understand the scoring and significance of birdies and eagles let’s delve into their frequency of occurrence on the golf course.


Birdies are more commonly achieved compared to eagles in the game of golf. Skilled golfers who regularly play to par or below are more likely to achieve birdies throughout their rounds. Birdies require players to complete holes in just one stroke fewer than par. Given that par is the expected score for a competent golfer, scoring a birdie is relatively more achievable. However, this does not diminish the sense of accomplishment of scoring a birdie. It remains a notable achievement and a cause for celebration on the golf course.


On the other hand, eagles are a rare occurrence in golf. They require exceptional shot-making skills and a combination of favorable circumstances. Most golfers, amateurs, and professionals seldom achieve an eagle in their careers. Eagles are typically associated with highly skilled golfers and are often seen in professional tournaments or rounds on challenging courses. Their rarity adds to the allure and excitement of achieving this incredible scoring feat.

Significance and Impact

Birdies and eagles significantly impact a golfer’s scorecard and overall performance in a round of golf. They can affect players’ confidence, mental state, and overall game enjoyment.


Birdies contribute positively to a golfer’s scorecard and can boost confidence during a round. Scoring a birdie provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, demonstrating the player’s ability to excel on a particular hole. It can also motivate golfers to continue playing at a high level, setting the tone for a successful round.

From a psychological standpoint, birdies can build momentum and generate positive energy. Each birdie achieved throughout a round can create a positive feedback loop, leading to increased confidence and improved performance. Spectators and fellow golfers often acknowledge and celebrate birdies, further enhancing the overall experience on the golf course.


The impact of achieving an eagle is even more profound. Eagles can be game-changers, not only in terms of the score but also in the golfer’s mindset.

Scoring an eagle can provide a tremendous boost in confidence and create a shift in momentum. Realizing that one has accomplished something exceptional can ignite a golfer’s competitive spirit and drive them to perform even better on subsequent holes.

Additionally, eagles often gain significant attention and admiration from spectators and fellow players. The rarity of achieving an eagle adds an exciting element to the game and creates a memorable moment on the course. Golfers who achieve an eagle are often celebrated and remembered for their exceptional achievement, solidifying their place in the annals of golf history.

In Golf Tournaments

Birdies and eagles play a crucial role in golf tournaments, where the objective is to outscore competitors and attain the lowest possible score. These scoring accomplishments can significantly impact a player’s placement and chances of winning a tournament.


In golf tournaments, scoring birdies can provide a competitive advantage and help players climb the leaderboard. The accumulation of birdies can lead to lower scores and positions on the leaderboard, increasing a player’s chances of victory. Players who consistently achieve birdies throughout a tournament can gain valuable momentum and enhance their chances of performing well in subsequent rounds.


Similarly, scoring eagles in golf tournaments can be a game-changer. An eagle can catapult a player up the leaderboard and significantly improve their chances of securing a top position. Due to the rarity of eagles, they often generate considerable excitement and attention, further enhancing a player’s profile. Achieving an eagle in a tournament can be a turning point and set the stage for a remarkable comeback or a dominant performance.

Psychological Aspect

The psychological aspect of golf cannot be overlooked when discussing the significance of birdies and eagles. Both of these scoring achievements can have a profound impact on a golfer’s mental state.


Striving for birdies can foster a positive mindset on the golf course. The belief that one can score birdies can instill confidence and determination in a golfer. The focus and concentration required to achieve a birdie can help golfers avoid distractions and perform at their best. Celebrating a birdie can boost morale and create a sense of accomplishment, improving concentration and decision-making on subsequent holes.


Achieving an eagle can have a transformative effect on a golfer’s psyche. The realization that one has exceeded expectations and accomplished something exceptional can fuel a golfer’s belief in their abilities. The confidence and self-belief garnered from scoring an eagle can carry over to future rounds and contribute to even greater success. Golfers who have experienced the high of an eagle often speak of the mental fortitude and sense of invincibility that comes with achieving such a remarkable feat.

Records and Achievements

Birdies and eagles contribute to the record books and are milestones in a golfer’s career. They are celebrated and recognized as remarkable achievements within the golfing community.


Birdies are frequently recorded and serve as a benchmark of a golfer’s proficiency. Golfing associations and organizations keep tabs on birdie counts, both on an individual and professional level. Professionals often strive to accumulate the highest number of birdies in a season or throughout their careers, highlighting their consistency and excellence.


Eagles, being rarer and more prestigious, are often seen as pinnacle achievements in golf. They are celebrated as exceptional moments in a golfer’s career and etch their names into golfing history. Players are often remembered and revered for the eagles they have achieved, serving as a testament to their skill and impact on the sport.

Etymology and Origins

As with many terms in the game of golf, the origin of the words “birdie” and “eagle” can be traced back to its historical roots and language.


The term “birdie” is thought to have originated in the late 19th century, possibly in the United States or the British Isles. One popular theory suggests that the term was coined by American golfer Ab Smith when he described a successful approach shot as a “bird of a shot.” Over time, this phrase was shortened to “birdie,” becoming a widely recognized term for completing a hole in one stroke fewer than par.


The term “eagle” is said to have emerged in the early 20th century in the United States. It is believed to have derived from the phrase “a bird of a second shot,” which described an impressive second shot that placed the golfer in a favorable position to complete the hole in two strokes fewer than par. Like “birdie,” this phrase was eventually shortened to “eagle,” which has since become a well-known term in golf.


In conclusion, birdies and eagles hold a special place in golf. They represent exceptional scoring achievements that highlight a player’s skill, precision, and ability to navigate the course successfully. While birdies are accomplished by completing a hole in one stroke fewer than par, eagles go one step further by completing a hole in two strokes fewer than par.

Birdies and eagles significantly impact a golfer’s scorecard, mindset, and overall performance. Birdies are more commonly achieved and contribute positively to a golfer’s score and confidence, while eagles are rare and extraordinary feats that generate excitement and admiration.

These remarkable scoring accomplishments are crucial in golf tournaments, shaping the leaderboard and influencing a player’s chances of winning. Both birdies and eagles are celebrated as milestones and contribute to a golfer’s legacy within the sport.

Understanding the etymology and origins of these terms adds another layer of appreciation for the rich history and traditions of golf.

So, whether you’re aiming for a birdie or daring to dream of an eagle, these scoring achievements will continue to captivate and inspire golfers for generations.

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John Tucker
Hi there! My name is John Tucker, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Golfweek Store website. As an avid golfer and enthusiast, I bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the world of golf. I have been deeply immersed in the golf industry for over a decade, which has allowed me to gain a strong understanding of the game and its nuances. Throughout my journey, I have achieved several notable accomplishments, including being the proud recipient of various prizes and awards. My passion for golf extends beyond personal achievements. I have dedicated my energy to sharing my expertise and insights with fellow golf enthusiasts through my writing. Over the years, I have contributed to numerous golf-related publications, both online and offline, providing valuable tips, strategies, and in-depth analyses of the sport. When it comes to golf, I firmly believe that it's not just a game; it's a way of life. I approach my writing with a genuine passion, aiming to inspire and help golfers elevate their game to new heights. My goal is to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for everyone, no matter their skill level. In addition to my golf expertise, I strive to inject personality into my writing, ensuring that each article reflects my unique voice and perspective. I believe that golf is not only about technique and skill, but also about camaraderie, sportsmanship, and fun. Through my writing, I aim to capture the essence of the game and convey it to readers in an engaging and relatable manner.