If you are new to golf, scoring can be confusing due to its unique vernacular. A common scoring term you will hear is “birdie”. What does birdie mean in golf?
Birdie in golf is a score used when a player completes a hole using one less stroke than par. Par is the number assigned to a hole to represent the standard number of strokes that a quality “scratch” golfer should need to be able to complete the golf hole.
How many hits is a birdie? Because birdie represents a golf score of 1-under par on a golf hole, we know then that birdie is not a static number because par changes from hole to hole. This means that the number of hits to score birdie on one hole may very well be different than the number of strokes it took to score a birdie on the previous hole.
If par for a hole is 5, a birdie would be finishing the hole in four strokes. If par for a hole is 4, a birdie would be finishing the hole in three strokes. If par for a hole is 3, a birdie would be finishing the hole in two strokes. So again, birdie is not a static number – it changes from hole to hole.
What Does Birdie Mean in Golf?
How many hits is a birdie?
As we discussed above, a birdie in the game of golf means that a hole is completed using one less stroke than par. The actual number of strokes it takes to make birdie changes from hole to hole since par changes from hole to hole. In golf, par can fluctuate from one hole to the next. These are the three types of par holes that exist in the game of golf:
- Par-5: Four strokes for birdie
- Par-4: Three strokes for birdie
- Par-3: Two strokes for birdie
So to make birdie, whether a competitor needs to take four strokes, three strokes, or two strokes will be dependent on what the score for par is on that specific hole. When a golfer scored a birdie, it is notated on the scorecard with a circle around the number. So if par is 4, and a golfer took 3 strokes and made a birdie (3), the golfer enters a 3 as his score and puts a circle around the number “3” (read more). Birdie is sometimes called simply “a bird”.
Why are Birdies Important?
For professional golfers, achieving a score of even par for a round of play is considered a poor result if they hope to have a chance to win the tournament. For professionals, birdies (or better) need to be made throughout the course of a round, and a tournament, to have success.
Because not all golf holes are made equal, some birdies in golf will be more impactful than others. Making birdie on a hole that is playing very easy will not separate a golfer from the pack, but only help maintain pace. However, making birdie on a tough hole is a way for a competing golfer to separate from the rest of the field, and to eventually take the lead in a tournament.
What is a ‘Birdie Hole’ in Golf?
Professional golfers and commentators will occasionally refer to a hole on the course as a “birdie hole”. This means that with the yardage and layout of the hole (for example maybe a short par-4 with an easy hole location), making birdie on the hole (for a professional) should be almost expected.
When a hole is referred to as a “birdie hole” it means it is an easy hole for a professional to gain a stroke on par. But tournaments are not played against par, they are played against a field. So as we discussed above, making birdies on an easy hole is necessary if a golfer wants to keep pace with the scores and have a shot to win a tournament (because most of the golfers will be making birdie on that easy hole). But if a golfer wants to gain on the field, they will also need to find ways to make birdies on tough holes.
How Do Pros Make Birdies in Golf?
Professional golfers are so talented that they can make the sport look easy, when it definitely is not. If you are watching golf, you may wonder how do professionals make so many birdies?
It’s obvious to say that it takes elite skill, which allows them to hit the ball really close to the hole time and time again. But professionals also develop individual strategies (based on their own personal abilities) which give them the best opportunity to take and make quality shots.
These strategies will vary from player to player and from course to course, and can be something as simple as choosing the right club. Golfers need skill both on the tee and green, and the ability to make a difficult putt. But even though there are many variables, we can outline the basic strategies professional players use to make birdies. To read about the strategy of play that golfers use in the game of golf, visit our article here.
Other Scores in Golf
The term used for scoring in golf changes depending on how many strokes a player took relative to par. Here’s are some other terms you need to know:
What is a bogey in golf?
The term bogey is used when a golfer finishes a hole with one more stroke than par. Here are the amount of strokes it takes to make a bogey, based on par:
- Par 5 – A bogey is 6 strokes
- Par 4 – A bogey is 5 strokes
- Par 3 – A bogey is 4 strokes
It is important to note that the terms double bogey and triple bogey are used when a player takes 2 strokes and 3 strokes (respectively) over par to complete a hole. Quadruple bogeys (and higher) also exist, but they are somewhat rare on the professional level due to the overall skill of the players. Amateur golfers that are new to the sport will often have extremely high scores that use these terms.
What is an eagle in golf?
The term eagle is used when a golfer finishes a hole in two less strokes than par. Here are the amount of strokes it takes to make a bogey, based on par:
- Par 5 – A bogey is 3 strokes
- Par 4 – A bogey is 2 strokes
- Par 3 – A bogey is 1 strokes – Because this would be a hole in one, it would be called an “Ace”.
What is a double eagle in golf?
The term double eagle is used when a golfer finishes a hole in three less strokes than par. A double eagle is also referred to as an “albatross”. The term double eagle is used mainly in the United States.
What is a hole in one called?
A hole-in-one in golf is called an “ace”.