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What Is A Phoenix In Golf? – Explained!

what is a phoenix in golf
what is a phoenix 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 rarely thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the word “Phoenix”.

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

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

What Is A Phoenix In Golf?

In golf, a Phoenix designates the act of completing a golf hole with 6 strokes under par. In other words, scoring a Phoenix is when you complete a golf hole with 6 fewer strokes than the par number. For example, if a golf hole is a par 7 hole, completing that hole in 1 golf stroke results in a Phoenix.

In the great game of golf, the term “Phoenix” is a word that is very rare to hear. Many golfers have never even heard of the term “Phoenix”. If you do ever hear the word “Phoenix”, it will almost always be on a par 7 or par 8 golf hole of a given golf course, which are rare themselves.

In golf, scoring a Phoenix means that a golfer completed a golf hole with six fewer strokes than the amount of strokes indicated by the par number. A Phoenix is the act of completing a golf hole with six strokes under par.

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

A Phoenix is scored if and only if:

(Strokes required to complete a hole) – (Par number for that hole) = -6

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


Tiger is a professional golfer. He gets ready to tee off in front of a par 7 golf hole.

Eventually, Tiger completes the hole in only 1 stroke.

(Strokes required) – Par = 1 – 7 = -6 score for the hole

Therefore, as his score is -6 for the hole, Tiger scored a Phoenix.

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

Par Number for the HoleExact Shots Taken to Get a Phoenix
Exact Shots Taken To Get A Phoenix VS Par Number Of A Hole

Scoring a Phoenix is an incredibly rare achievement to accomplish in golf. It will raise incredible amounts of applause and cheer from the spectators in the crowd, as it is extraordinarily impressive to accomplish.

Scoring a Phoenix on a given golf hole means you required six fewer strokes than the average scratch golfer; scratch golfers are defined as excellent golf players. Knowing this, scoring a Phoenix is statistically almost impossible.

Phoenixes are known to be exceedingly rare on a golf course, as opposed to bogeys, because they require lots of luck mixed with a high skill level to score, as well as a par 7 or larger golf hole.

To ever stand a chance of scoring a Phoenix, you need to be great at golf and be extremely lucky. You probably will never score a Phoenix in your lifetime.

Even amongst professional golfers, a Phoenix is exceedingly rare. Even most professional golfers will never score a Phoenix within their lifetime.

If you want to stand a chance at scoring a Phoenix, you need to be willing to run through hundreds of thousands of attempts, maybe millions, and pray for the best. Scoring a Phoenix will require either a hole-in-one on a par 7 hole or 2 strokes on a par 8 hole.

Improving both your long game and short game to a professional can help you increase the likelihood of each of your attempts at getting a Phoenix succeeding. However, trying to get a Phoenix is mostly a waste of time, and we advise against actively trying to get one.

Even if you tried scoring a Phoenix in a golf video game, in which you play as the best professional golfer in the world, you would probably not succeed at scoring a Phoenix.

It is better to focus on becoming better at golf and having fun.

Linguistic historians believe that the golf term “Phoenix” was chosen as a natural evolution from the other positive, bird-themed golf scoring terms, including birdie& eagle. Birdies and eagles are like a Phoenix, except that they respectively mean you went 1 and 2 strokes under par for a given hole.

The term birdie came from the old American slang word “bird”. The word “bird” used to mean “nice” and “good” back in the 19th century. As a natural evolution, the names of bigger birds were given to achievements even bigger in value than a birdie.

Intuitively, one can visualize how an eagle is bigger than a bird, and a Phoenix is an even bigger and grander achievement than an eagle.

Although the truth of the etymology of old golf terms is not guaranteed to be accurate, this is the consensus origin trusted by most historians. 2 centuries ago, humans did not have the same technology to keep track of the meanings and origins of every word like we do today; some origins will never be fully confirmed.

If you dream of one day scoring a Phoenix…good luck. Please, do not waste your life attempting to get a Phoenix. Instead, we recommend you play golf as if a Phoenix did not exist, and who knows, you might score a Phoenix one day (but probably not).

If you would like to lower your golf score and improve your chances of scoring a birdies and eagles, 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 Phoenix means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of a Phoenix.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? Have you ever heard of someone scoring a Phoenix? Let us know in the comments down below!

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