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What Is A Birdie In Golf? – Explained!

What Is A Birdie In Golf?
What Is A Birdie In Golf?

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the word “birdie”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does “birdie” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a birdie is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is A Birdie In Golf?

In golf, a birdie designates the act of completing a golf hole with one stroke under par. In other words, scoring a birdie is when you complete a golf hole with one less stroke than the par number. For example, if a golf hole is a par 5 hole, completing that hole in 4 golf strokes results in a birdie.

In the great game of golf, the term “birdie” is a word that is fairly common on golf courses, especially on par 5 golf holes.

In golf, scoring a birdie means that a golfer completed a golf hole with one less stroke than the amount of strokes indicated by the par number. A birdie is the act of completing a golf hole with one stroke under par.

The general formula to know if you scored a birdie is the following:

A birdie is scored if and only if:

(Strokes required to complete a hole) – (Par number for that hole) = -1

You can read a real-world example of a birdie scored, down below.


Jason is a great golfer. He gets ready to tee off in front of a par 5 golf hole.

Eventually, Jason completes the hole in only 4 strokes.

(Strokes required) – Par = 4 – 5 = -1 score for the hole

Therefore, as his score is -1 for the hole, Jason scored a birdie.

To make things as simple as possible for you to know if you scored a birdie, refer yourself to the following chart:

Par Number for the HoleExact Shots Taken to Get a Birdie
Number Of Shots You Took If You Scored A Birdie VS Par Number For A Given Hole

Scoring a birdie is a very positive thing to accomplish in golf. It will generally raise some applause and cheer from the spectators in the crowd, as it is viewed as impressive.

Scoring a birdie on a given golf hole means you required one stroke less than the average scratch golfer; scratch golfers are defined as excellent golf players.

Birdies are known to be rather rare on a golf course, as opposed to bogeys, because they require a decently high level of skill to score. On the other hand, it is possible to score a birdie every now and then just from pure luck. However, to consistently score birdies, you need to be good at golf.

Most players who consistently score birdies have a particularly strong short game (putting on the green). These players are good at getting occasional one-putts into the hole, and at securing two-putts at the very least. Players who score birdies consistently rarely ever commit three-putts.

Linguistic historians believe that the word “birdie” came from the old American slang word “bird”. The word “bird” used to mean “nice” and “good” back in the 19th century. Although this seems likely, it is hard to confirm without being there when the word “birdie” was invented.

“Bird of a shot” may refer to the visual metaphor that a bird would find its way into the golf hole more easily than an inanimate golf ball. 2 centuries ago, humans did not have the tools and technology necessary to keep track of the meanings and origins of every word like we do today; some origins will never be discovered.

Birdies are important to achieve if you want to lower your golf handicap. If you wish to score some birdies a lot more often, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the word birdie means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of birdie.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? How often do you score birdies? Let us know in the comments down below!

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