Birdie in Golf

What Is a Birdie in Golf?


Birdie in Golf

In all honesty, the powers that be have chosen some incredibly funny words to describe the game of golf. Have you ever wondered where these words have come from? Have you ever wondered what they mean or why they were chosen? There’s no question that golfers love speaking their very own language!

In particular, one specific golf term that you may have heard of on TV or during a golfing tournament is the word birdie. Do you know what it means? Do you have any idea where its origin came from?

So, what is a Birdie in the game of golf? The word “birdie” is used in golf to refer to a particular score on a hole on a golf course. It references scoring one stroke under par. Each hole on a golf course has a specific par rating. In fact, most holes on the golf course are predominantly a par 4.

This terminology is unusual to say the least. But there are a lot of funny phrases in golf, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is a regular golf term. The term’s albatross and hole-in-one are definitely a little odd if you don’t know their meaning, but the word birdie really stands out to everyone.

Have you ever heard anyone use this phrase in a golfing context? It’s a funny word to say the least. To get better at playing golf, you must understand the basic terms like Eagle, birdie, and par, if you’re going to improve and get better at this game.

The Concept and Definition of the Term Birdie in Golf

If you were to score one stroke below par on any given hole of a golf course, you would be awarded with a birdie. This is great if you’re trying to improve your overall golf score, because going one under par is a good thing and it definitely keeps your overall score low.

It’s pretty common and fairly easy to get a birdie on different golf courses, yet it could seem nearly impossible on other courses, depending on their level of difficulty. This all comes down to what par is on a particular hole, which is predetermined by the golf course prior to beginning a round of golf. Understanding par on a golf game is the best way to better understand the overall scoring mechanics.

The definition of par is described as the number of strokes a golfer should get the ball and on a single hole. On a par-5 hole, for example, the golfer must sink the ball in the hole in five strokes in order to remain even. If they do it in four strokes, they will have gotten a birdie. If they do it in three strokes, they will have scored an eagle. The fewer the strokes the better when it comes to your golf score.

Players have adopted this system as a way to keep track of their overall score. If you start off the game and par twice to begin, you’ll be at even par, for example.

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In another example, if you open up your golf round by scoring two birdies back to back, you will remain at two under par for the entire round if you were to go even in par on all of the other 16 holes.

Here’s an important note: if the overall par for a particular golf course is 70 strokes, you’ll discover that birdies are a more common score as opposed to eagles or albatrosses. On the other hand, if par for an entire golf course is over 100, many golfers will recognize that there are fewer opportunities to hit birdies during a particular round of golf.

This fact alone is the reason why earning a birdie is very special and kind of sweet!

So, what differentiates a birdie from the number of strokes? Essentially, by scoring a birdie on a particular hole, you essentially did better than the overall expectations set by the golf course creators. More than likely, you’re having a heck of a lot of fun at the same time as well!

How to Calculate a Birdie in a Golf Game

To calculate the score of a birdie in a golf game, it’s best to take the following steps to use on the various courses that you’ll play throughout the year. The steps include:

  • Discover the par amount on a particular hole, which in most cases is for
  • Take the number of strokes needed to get the par and divided by the number four – this will tell you how many shots over par are needed if all the other golfers did their best on each hole
  • If a golfer shoes better than par, they are shooting below par or below average. If someone does worse during a golf match and goes over, they are scoring above par in this particular instance

With everything else taken into consideration, many golfers are very happy to shoot a birdie while completing a hole on a golf course.

Par in a golf game makes it easier for golfers to understand the true definition of a birdie. By scoring three under par on a golf course, it means a player can go to under par or score even by shooting 27 strokes in 36 holes or 18 strokes for nine holes when par is set at 70.

Keeping score in a golf game may sound very difficult and kind of complicated, but if you play long enough it becomes very easy to understand. An understanding par in golf makes it possible to track your golf game and know if you are shooting under the average or over the average, which is important to help you achieve your specific golf game goals. For many, this is shooting par, birdies, and eagles whenever you play a game of golf.

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What happens the next time you visit a golf course and someone shouts birdie? Well, now you know that they completed the hole while shooting one stroke under par.

It’s never easy to score birdies on a golf course, and this is especially true if you’re struggling and not having fun while playing the game. At the same token, you’ll never find any golfers complaining when they can score a birdie while playing golf with friends, co-workers, and everyone in between!

Golf Practice

The History of the Birdie in Golf

How did the term birdie become commonplace within the game of golf?

For the most part, there are a few different accounts of the origin of the term birdie in golf. One particular account says that golfers began using the word birdie because it refers to a small bird.

Why? Believe it or not, back in the day golf balls were actually made of feathers. The balls were stuffed tightly with feathers in leather pouches.

On the other hand, there is another account that says the word birdie began as a regular golf term during the 19th century when they initially started playing in Scotland. The Scots have come up with the word birdie because the terms that they were using consisted of sounds made by various animals.

Yet another main theory for this word comes from golfing professional Walter Hagan. He said the Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn, came up with the term. He believed that he put it so well and had such control over the golf ball that he could actually hit little birds with the ball, which is why he gave it the name.

The most recognized story of all says that the word birdie came into popular use in 1903 at the Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey. The golf club even has a plaque commemorating the event of when the term was first used.

It doesn’t really matter which origin story of this term you believe and it doesn’t really matter where it originally comes from. They are all very interesting stories. And if you love playing golf, or have any interest in its etymology, you should learn more about other strange golf terms used within this game.

The Best Way to Score a Birdie in Golf

To properly score birdie in golf, you must have experience and skills or you must get really lucky. A few tips to make it possible include:

  • Hit the ball favorably by hitting straight shots and keeping it on the green. This will be a lot easier for you because the court will remain level and you’ll stay out of the rough, the water, and the sand trap.
  • Choose the correct club so that you can properly control your power and speed of the ball. This walleye you have the best command possible during a golf round.
  • You’re never going to win a golf match if you cannot putt properly on the green. Pick the appropriate putter during the golf game and make putting a priority because it definitely counts in the game of golf.
  • Always remain courteous to the other players. Stay quiet, still, and be respectful to the other players while they take their shots. During a golf game, everyone must be courteous and respectful while match play is going on. The spectators should remain quiet and courteous as well.
  • Have fun while playing golf! Make sure your next golfing round is a fun time. This will make the game much more enjoyable and everybody will have a good time, which will make it much easier for you to score birdie. So no grumbling and arguing allowed!
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Learning More about the Game of Golf Is Always a Plus

This next bit of news is very important for amateurs looking to improve their overall golf game:

There are a lot of factors that will contribute to your ability to score a birdie during a golf game. Some factors include having a great partner playing with you, having a look on your side, not having to take too many tough shots preventing things from going wrong, or hitting the ball perfectly because you had an amazing shot, which is definitely what you need to do more often than not.

Generally speaking, there isn’t one specific factor that will guarantee that you’d hit a birdie. Just keep that in mind and remember that all of the factors well contribute to whether or not you hit a birdie, plus strategy and skill level certainly counts for something.

Keep Practicing At Every Chance You Get

Remember, practice makes perfect. If you’re going to regularly hit birdies on the golf course, you’ll need to start practicing every day. It truly is that important, so make sure to practice to improve the command of your golf game.

Final Thoughts

By now, you undoubtedly had a great time getting an important golf lesson and you know more about the term birdie and its meaning than you ever did before. As a quick refresher, just remember that scoring a birdie means scoring one stroke under par for a particular hole.

Remember, learning about the game and learning the different terminology will make it easier for you to calculate your overall scores. Better understanding words like albatross, eagle, birdie, park, and more will give you a better sense for the game. Soon enough, everything will begin falling right into place!


Christopher Diaz

Christopher is an avid golfer who calls Miami home. As a Phil Mickelson fan, he set up this website as an informational portal for all other fans of "Lefty." He also occasionally reviews equipment and golf training programs, but admits he'd rather be on the course than anywhere.