What Is a Birdie in Golf?

If you’re new to the whole golf thing, you might get confused hearing terms like “birdie.” In fact, all scoring expressions can seem a bit complicated for beginners, and they would typically need some time to get the hang of it. So, for a start, what is a birdie in golf?

A birdie is one of the many scoring terms they use in golf alongside names, like an eagle and an albatross. It means that the player has scored one stroke less than the assigned par for any given hole.

In this article, we dive deep into the term “birdie” and provide more information about its history and origin. So, keep reading.

What Is a Birdie in Golf?

Golf Glove, Scorecard

Scoring fewer strokes than the hole’s par in golf is usually referred to as “under par.” Naturally, each stroke you score under par has a different name. As for the name “birdie,” it’s the term for scoring only one stroke under par.

Generally, a golf hole’s assigned par value ranges from three to six. So, if you’re playing on a par-4 hole, you need to complete the hole with three strokes only in order to score a birdie.

Similarly, if you completed a par-3 hole with just two strokes, you score a birdie, and so on.

What Is the Origin of the Term “Birdie”?

Golf Balls on Practice Green

The term “birdie” dates back to the late 19th century when they used the word “bird” in old American slang to describe something amazing. It’s almost the equivalent of modern common terms, like “lit” or “cool.”

It’s widely believed that the first persons to use the word “birdie” were the two brothers, Ab and William P Smith. It happened as they were playing a round of golf at Atlantic City Country Club with their friend George Crump.

When Ab smith called a stroke “a bird of a shot,” he suggested that a player should receive double compensation for each time a stroke under par is scored.

Normally, there’s a special “lingo” used within each golf course. Nonetheless, the term “birdie” didn’t take long to spread outside of the country club and across the world.

How Hard Is It To Score a Birdie?

Golf Great Sport

Scoring a birdie is not as easy as it might seem. In fact, according to the PGA stats, the 2022 TOUR championship’s average number of birdies per round was 3.64.

Having said that, these numbers are based on scores of extremely challenging courses and conditions. As for your local country club, scoring a birdie may be much easier.

Quick Facts About Birdies

  • Scoring two strokes under par on a single hole is commonly called an eagle, but there’s another known term for it, which is “a double birdie.”
  • The most birdies scored in a single PGA TOUR Tournament (72 holes) is 32, with Jon Rahm, Paul Gow, and Mark Calcavecchia sharing the record.
  • It’s common to circle your birdie score on your scoreboard.

A Final Thought

Although from a distance, golf may seem boring to some, it’s quite an interesting sport. Not only is it fun to watch, some terms, like “birdie,” might even make you laugh if you’re new to golf. So, what is a birdie in golf?

Simply put, a birdie is a scoring term that’s used when a player scores one stroke under the hole’s assigned par.

Despite looking like something easy to achieve, scoring a birdie is actually rarer than you think.

The Golf Bandit
The Golf Bandit

Hi, I'm Jan. I love golf and I have been playing for a while now. I really enjoy trying out new golf clubs and equipment, and like to review them on my blog. I consider myself lucky as I have access to the latest clubs and gadgets, so I can get a feel for how they perform on the golf course. I also like to share my tips and tricks on how to improve your game, so if you're looking for help with that then look no further! Thanks for visiting, and I hope you find something useful here.

Articles: 254

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter