Why is it called a Birdie in golf (term explained)

In the world of golf, the term ‘Birdie’ holds great importance. It carries a sense of accomplishment, skill, and precision. But have you ever wondered where this intriguing term originated or why it holds such a position in the golfing community?

In this guide, we’ll cover why is it called a birdie in golf; I will take you back to the time when a ‘Birdie’ was just a child’s term for a bird and not a golf expression. We’ll also discuss the amazing tournaments in which it was scored and how you can strive for it. But before that, let me share a personal experience that sparked my curiosity about the birdie.

Why is it called a birdie in golf (Term explained)

It was March 26th of 2021, I was standing on the 18th hole of my local golf course, preparing to make the final swing of the day. With a mixture of nerves and determination, I focused on the ball, aiming for a precise shot. And then, with a satisfying strike, the ball went through the air, avoiding hazards and landing just inches from the hole. I had accomplished what every golfer dreams of, a birdie.

From that moment, the ultimate question of ‘Why is it called a birdie?’ got stuck in my mind. And when researched, I got to know about its remarkable origin and history which I’m going to share with you. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Understanding the term: Golf Birdie

So, what exactly is a birdie in golf? Well, a birdie is the point where skill meets luck and results in a score of one stroke under par on a given hole.

Now, let’s break it down by pars. If you’re on a par-3 hole, you have to complete it in three strokes to make it even. However, to make a birdie, you’ll need to score that ball in just two shots. Moving on to the par-4 hole, where you have a bit more room to work with. Here, a birdie will be achieved by completing it in three shots.

Now, about a par-5 hole, if you’re able to complete it in four strokes, it will be a birdie. Par 6 and 7 holes, though rare, require a score of five and six strokes respectively to make a birdie.

Scoring a birdie is not an easy task. It requires a combination of skill, technique, and good fate. But once you work on your form while considering the course obstacles, you can achieve it multiple times.

Why is it called a birdie in Golf

History was made in 1903, at Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey. Legend has it that a group of golfers was engaged in a friendly round when one of them, a player by the name of Abner Smith, struck a shot of sheer brilliance.

Abner’s ball soared through the air with extraordinary precision and landed just inches away from the hole, leaving his fellow golfers amazed.

In awe of this shot, one of his partners exclaimed, “That was a bird of a shot!” The term quickly gained popularity and became embedded in golfing culture. Golfers across the globe embraced the expression, using it to celebrate their exceptional shots. As the game evolved and spread, so did the term birdie, becoming a universal symbol of success on the course.

So, the next time you or your fellows score a birdie on the course, take a moment to appreciate the legacy of Abner Smith and the countless golfers who have followed in his footsteps.

Birdies In Golf Tournaments, Is it really rare?

scoring birdie

While birdies may seem rare for us mere souls, professional golfers possess a level of expertise that elevates their chances of scoring birdies during tournament play.

According to studies, the average number of birdies per round on the PGA Tour is approximately 3.63. In contrast, when comparing PGA Professionals to your average scratch golfer, data from Shot Scope reveals that the average scratch player records an average of 2.67 birdies per round. This distinction emphasizes the exceptional talent and level of play exhibited by PGA Professionals. They showcase exceptional skill and precision on a consistent basis.

A remarkable record was held by three PGA Tour golfers. Mark Calcavecchia, Paul Gow, and Jon Rahm share the distinction of recording an astounding 32 birdies over the course of 72 holes.

Another incredible feat was achieved by Kevin Streelman at the 2014 Travelers Championship when he birdied the final seven holes in the final round to win the tournament, and that is the PGA Tour record. Other golfers have made more consecutive birdies in earlier rounds during a tour event, but seven is the most birdies in a row at the end to win. To say the least, Birdies, may not be as rare as Albatrosses or Condors but still are a cause for celebration.

Bonus: A guide to scoring Birdie like a pro

So, you’re eager to score birdies like a pro golfer? Well, it’s not completely the luck, but with practice and dedication, you can.

Here are some quick tips to help you master the art of birdie scoring.

  • Remember, hitting it long is great, but hitting it straight will give you a better chance at birdie.
  • Pay attention to the distance, wind, and course conditions when selecting your club for approach shots. Aim to land your shots close to the pin.
  • The short game is where birdies are often made or missed. Practice chips, pitches, and bunker shots.
  • Work on your putting stroke. Practice lag putts to get the ball close to the hole.
  • Understand the course layout, the positions of hazards, and where the birdie opportunities lie. Being smart about course layout can lead to more birdie chances.

Remember, scoring birdies like a pro takes practice, dedication, and a love for the game. Keep practicing and you will get somewhere.

golf shot


Now, you know how this ‘bird of a shot’ originated and since then, is being strived for. Even though birdies are more common among PGA Professionals, you should remember that it is not as hard as the other astonishing golf shots like a Condor or an Albatross.

With consistent practice and determination, you sure have a chance at it. Focus on precision off the tee, master your approach shots, excel in your short game, work on your putting skills, and practice smart course management. So, embrace the thrill of birdies, enjoy the journey, and continue to improve your skills.

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Q) What score is a Birdy in golf?

A) A birdie in golf refers to achieving a score of one stroke under par on a specific hole. The par of a hole is determined by the length and difficulty of the course, typically ranging from three to five strokes. So, for example, on a par-4 hole, scoring a birdie means completing the hole in three strokes, while on a par-3 hole, it would mean sinking the ball in just two shots.

Q) How many strokes is a Birdy?

A) A birdie in golf refers to completing a hole in one stroke under par. The par of a hole represents the number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. For example, on a par-4 hole, a birdie is achieved by completing the hole in three strokes. On a par-3 hole, a birdie is achieved by sinking the ball in just two shots. So, to sum it up, a birdie is accomplished by scoring one stroke less than the designated par for the hole.

Q) What are 5 birdies in a row called?

A) Scoring five birdies in a row is an extraordinary accomplishment in golf. This achievement is commonly referred to as a “five-birdie streak” or a “five-birdie run.” It showcases exceptional skill, consistency, and a touch of luck on the part of the golfer.

Q) Do Eagles count as birdies?

A) No, eagles do not count as birdies in golf. In fact, an eagle is an even better score than a birdie. In golf, an eagle refers to completing a hole two strokes under par. For example, on a par-4 hole, scoring an eagle means completing the hole in just two strokes. Similarly, on a par-5 hole, scoring an eagle means completing the hole in three strokes.