Golf is a game full of interesting traditions and quirky language that makes it difficult to understand for beginners.
In fact, some of the language and traditions are so zany and odd that golf can even be intimidating to some people, as there is a rich history to the sport that people outside of it will be unaware of and find hard to understand.
However, a lot of golf’s weirdest words and traditions have very simple explanations and very clear meanings.
One of the most common questions people ask is just what is a birdie in golf?
No, it doesn’t mean those feathered things flying about in the woodland on either side of the fairway!
A birdie is a type of score a player gets after completing a hole in golf, and it’s a specific type of score in relation to the par of the hole itself!
In this guide, we’re going to look at the key details about what a birdie is as well as where the word comes from so you have a better understanding of the language used in golf and feel less intimidated in using it the next time you play a game!
What Does Birdie Mean?
A birdie is when a golfer finishes a hole in one shot under par.
That’s it. That’s all a birdie is, how simple is that!
You’re still unsure?
Well, let’s explain some more.
Par is the number of shots you should finish a hole in. It’s considered the minimum target for a good hole. Finishing a shot over par is a bogey, and this will put you at a disadvantage in competitive golf as you take more shots to finish the hole than you should have, and these extra shots add up!
A birdie is when you finish a hole a shot sooner than you should have, which removes a shot of your round and improves your chances at beating your competitors.
Birdies are difficult to get and can make a huge difference in the course of a game of golf, which is why they are so sought after and so celebrated. They are a sign that a golfer is playing well and above the standard expected of the course.
Why Is It Called A Birdie?
The term birdie originates from the slang term ‘bird’ which means something great or wonderful in American English.
The term was popularized in the 1910s and has been in use continuously since then which is why it’s now a standardized term in worldwide golf, like terms such as bogey.
Bogey however was a British term that stuck, meaning that birdie and bogey have very different origins to suit their very different meanings and implications.
Why Are Birdies Important?
Birdies are important because they are what helps a golfer to pull ahead of his competitors. Providing the other players are all hitting par, a birdie will improve a golfer’s score and put them ahead of their competitors.
A bogey will make their score worse and set them behind their competitors.
A series of birdies is the best way a golfer can gain an advantage over other players, as relying on other players to get bogeys is often not a good strategy.
What Is An Albatross?
An albatross is when a golfer has scored a three-under-par hole, meaning they finished the hole three shots under the minimum number of shots expected. These are very rare and give golfers a huge advantage should they be scored.
What Is An Eagle?
An eagle is when a player finishes a hole two shots under par. This would mean finishing a par 4 in 2 shots or a par 5 in 3 shots, and while not as rare an albatross, these scores are still incredibly rare and give a huge advantage to a golfer who manages to score them.
What Is A Double Eagle?
A double eagle is a somewhat muddy and misunderstood term in golf that some people think is the same as an albatross. However, others think this is a shot that is 4 shots under par, so essentially getting a hole in 1 on a par 4 for example.
The definition changes depending on who you ask and where you go. In any case, it’s not a particularly common occurrence so it isn’t a hugely important term to know.
What Is A Hole In One?
A hole in one is when a golfer finishes a hole on the very first shot they take. It’s one of the most impressive and rare occurrences in golf but it does happen every few years at the professional level, most commonly on par 3 holes which are much shorter than other types of holes.
A hole in one represents a near once-in-a-lifetime. occurrence for most golfers and can give an immense advantage to the player who scored it, as it essentially wipes a whole series of shots out of your game and improves your score immensely against other players and the handicap itself