What Is A Birdie In Golf? What You Need To Know

by Alvin Daniel
What Is A Birdie In Golf

Golfing can be a truly rewarding sport. But, if you’re to progress and improve your game, it’s essential to understand the basics, such as the rules, techniques and terminology associated with golf. One of the most commonly used terms in golf is ‘birdie,’ which may cause beginners confusion when they hear more experienced players use it in conversation.

So what exactly is a birdie? This blog post will explain exactly what this phrase means and provide insight into how scoring works in golf.

Related post: What Is A Hole In One In Golf? A Guide For Beginners

What Is A Birdie In Golf?

A birdie is a term used to describe a score of one stroke under par on a given hole. For example, if a golfer completes a par-4 hole in three shots, that is considered a birdie. On par-3 is 2 strokes and on par-5 is 4 strokes.

It is a great accomplishment for any golfer and is often celebrated enthusiastically. For professionals and amateurs alike, birdies are an important part of the game and can help improve a player’s overall score. As simple as it may seem, mastering the art of the birdie takes a combination of skill, strategy, and precision.


Where Did The Term “Birdie” Come From?

The origins of the term “birdie” in golf remain mysterious, but a couple of theories seem to have gained popularity over the years.

According to one theory, if a golfer was asked what they had scored on the previous hole (usually a par-3) and responded with an odd number like one or three, it was dubbed a birdie.

As for the word itself, it originally appeared as slang in the early 1900s, with “bird” meaning something “wonderful” or “great.” Thus, scoring a birdie on the course was undoubtedly an accomplishment.

Although it is unclear exactly where the term was first used, it gained popularity at the Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey around 1903.


How To Score A Birdie In Golf?

While making a birdie may not come easy, players who dedicate themselves to practicing and honing their skills can master the art of scoring birdies. With time and experience, golfers can learn to read the greens, control their shots, and strategically use their clubs to minimize putts and maximize success.

For those who take golfing seriously, persistence in practicing will undoubtedly pay off in the form of lower scores and a greater sense of achievement on the greens. Several tactics can help golfers improve their birdie-making abilities:

Practice Your Short Game 

Many birdies come from shots within 100 yards of the hole, so it is important to practice your short game. This includes chip and pitch shots, as well as putting. Working on a consistent routine and gaining confidence in your short game can help you get close to the green and set up birdie attempts.

Analyze Your Course

Get to know the course you are playing and look for holes that may be good birdie opportunities. Look at a distance and take into account your strength as a golfer. For example, if you have a strong drive, look at par-5s, where you can reach greens in two shots. If you are confident with your iron play, look for par-4s where you can hit the green in regulation to give yourself birdie chances.

Work on Your Pre-Shot Routine

To help ensure good execution, work on a consistent pre-shot routine before making a birdie attempt. This should include visualizing the shot and taking practice swings to get a feel for the shot. Taking this extra time can help instill confidence in your game and improve your chances of sticking birdie attempts close to the hole.

Set Goals

Setting goals is important to improve as a golfer, so ensure you set birdie goals for yourself. This could be a certain amount of birdies you want to make in a round or a certain score you want to achieve on each hole. Having these targets helps focus your mindset and stay motivated as you improve your game.


Strategies For Scoring Birdies On The Course 

There are several strategies a golfer can use to improve their chances of making birdies on the course. First, the golfer should practice their shots around the green and develop their short-game skills. This includes shots such as chip shots, pitch shots and putting. Mastering these shots will help a golfer set up birdie opportunities by getting their ball within a reasonable distance of the hole on each shot.

Another key strategy for improving one’sone’s chances of making birdies is to practice driving the ball straight and accurately. A golfer should strive to hit fairways rather than tee off and hope for the best. This will help them reach the green in regulation shots more often.

Lastly, golfers should focus on their mental approach when making birdies. Staying positive and believing that one can achieve the desired score is important for achieving consistent birdies on the course. A positive attitude and keeping one’sone’s focus on their game can help a golfer make more birdies over time.


Birdies In Golf Tournaments

In most cases, making a birdie in such events is considered an exceptional achievement, as birdies are rarer due to higher pressure levels and difficulty.

A birdie in majors can be especially impressive when it is made on a hole that has traditionally been considered difficult. As such, birdies in major events can be seen as a testament to the skill and expertise of the player and signify their ability to rise to the challenge presented. The PGA Tour and other major events always feature birdies in professional golf.

And for two legends of the sport, Jack Nicklaus and Isao Aoki, that journey led to the top of the leaderboard regarding most birdies in a tournament on the Champions Tour. In 1990, Nicklaus wowed viewers with his impressive 28 birdies at the Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship, a record that stood for seven years until Aoki equaled it with his own 28 birdies at the 1997 Tradition.



Overall, a birdie is an essential part of golf and a major element of success on the golf course. Planting the shot right requires patience, accuracy, and precision. To accomplish the perfect birdie, practice is key. Use quality clubs that meet your skill level and strive for excellence with each golf stroke. With diligent practice, landing a birdie will become a habit sooner than expected and elevate your game to new heights.

Very few can say they haven’t made an occasional ‘birdy’ here and there, so don’t be discouraged if it happens occasionally. Embrace the challenge of reaching perfection each time you hit the course, and get ready for a rewarding feeling once you make that perfect birdie!


Why is it Called a Birdie in Golf?

During the 19th century, the term “bird” was used as an equivalent of “cool” or “excellent.” Only later, golf scholars believed this was where the term came from. An Atlantic City, New Jersey, course claims that the term originated in 1903. The meaning of “bird” was a score of one under par.

Is Birdie in Golf Good?

A birdie is always considered a good score in golf. It is one stroke below par on any particular hole. Generally, a golfer will be happy with a birdie and it will help them to achieve their desired score. A good round of golf includes several birdies, so it’s important to strive for them.

What is the Difference Between a Birdie and an Eagle in Golf?

A birdie is one stroke lower than par on a hole, while an eagle is two strokes lower than par. For example, on a par-4 hole, a birdie is scoring a 3 while an eagle is scoring 2. On a par-5 hole, a birdie would be shooting 4 and an eagle would be shooting 3.

What is the Difference Between a Birdie And a Bogey?

A birdie is one stroke under par on a hole, while a bogey is one over par. For example, if the par for a given hole is 4, then making the hole in 3 strokes would earn you a birdie while taking 5 strokes would earn you a bogey.



  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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