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What Is An Eagle In Golf? – Explained!

What Is An Eagle In Golf?
What Is An Eagle 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 sometimes thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the word “eagle”.

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

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

What Is An Eagle In Golf?

In golf, an eagle designates the act of completing a golf hole with 2 strokes under par. In other words, scoring an eagle is when you complete a golf hole with 2 fewer strokes than the par number. For example, if a golf hole is a par 5 hole, completing that hole in 3 golf strokes results in an eagle.

In the great game of golf, the term “eagle” is a word that is fairly uncommon to hear. However, when you hear the word “eagle”, it is usually on the par 5 holes of a given golf course.

In golf, scoring an eagle means that a golfer completed a golf hole with two fewer strokes than the amount of strokes indicated by the par number. An eagle is the act of completing a golf hole with two strokes under par.

The general formula to know if you scored an eagle is the following:

An eagle is scored if and only if:

(Strokes required to complete a hole) – (Par number for that hole) = -2

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


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

Eventually, Tiger completes the hole in only 3 strokes.

(Strokes required) – Par = 3 – 5 = -2 score for the hole

Therefore, as his score is -2 for the hole, Tiger scored an eagle.

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

Par Number for the HoleExact Shots Taken to Get an Eagle
Exacts Shots You Took If You Scored An Eagle VS Par Number For The Hole

Scoring an eagle is an extremely positive thing to accomplish in golf. It will usually raise some applause and cheer from the spectators in the crowd, as it is impressive to accomplish.

Scoring an eagle on a given golf hole means you required two fewer strokes than the average scratch golfer; scratch golfers are defined as excellent golf players.

Eagles are known to be rare on a golf course, as opposed to bogeys, because they require a high skill level to score. On the other hand, it is possible to score an eagle on very rare occasions just from pure luck.

However, to score eagles regularly, you need to be great at golf. Even amongst professional golfers, eagles are rarely scored. Even professional golfers typically score eagles on less than 1% of golf holes they play.

Most players who can score eagles sometimes 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 can score eagles rarely ever commit three-putts.

Linguistic historians believe that the golf term “eagle” was chosen as a natural evolution from the other golf term, “birdie”. A birdie is like an eagle, but it means a golfer scored 1 under par rather than 2 under par.

Birdie came from the old American slang word “bird”. The word “bird” used to mean “nice” and “good” back in the 19th century. Intuitively, one can visualize how an eagle is bigger than a bird, and thus, better to score than a birdie. To continue on this logic, scoring 3 under par nets you an albatross, an even bigger bird.

Although the truth of the etymology of golf terms is not guaranteed to be accurate, this is the consensus origin held 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.

Eagles are awesome to achieve and might occur in your best golf round yet. If you would like to lower your golf score and improve your chances at scoring an eagle, 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 eagle means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of an eagle.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? Have you ever scored an eagle? Do you dream of scoring an eagle? Let us know in the comments down below!

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