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

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2023

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

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

Written By: Zach Gollwitzer

Posted in: Golf Score Terms

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Term Overview

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

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. This is often expressed as "one stroke under par" or more commonly, just "one under".
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".
Wow, great birdie on that last hole!
Rory Mcilroy made a magnificent eagle on the last par 5!
According to the USGA, the term "birdie" originated at Atlantic City Country Club in 1899 when Ab Smith remarked, "That was a bird of a shot!".
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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