What Is A Birdie In Golf? [And How To Make One]

The pros make it look so easy, but what actually is a golf birdie and how do you make one?

You might have heard your golf mate talking about the round of his life, where he ended up having four birdies out on the course. Does that mean something good or has he just seen a few birds flying about?

A birdie in golf is actually a term used for scoring and in this article, we’ll define birdie and go into more detail about what it actually means, plus how to make a birdie.

Let’s get into and find out more about the golf term – ‘birdie’.

What Is A Birdie In Golf?

What Is A Birdie In Golf?

What’s A Birdie In Golf?

A birdie is a term that is given to a type of score in golf. Birdie is used to define a score that is one less than the par for a hole.

For example, if the par (required number of strokes on a hole) for a hole is 3, then a birdie would be a score of 2.

The following scores would mean a birdie on each type of par:

  • Holes that are par 3s – scoring 2 would be a birdie.
  • Holes that are par 4s – scoring 3 would be a birdie.
  • Holes that are par 5s – scoring 4 would be a birdie.
  • Holes that are par 6s – scoring 5 would be a birdie.

Making a golf birdie on a hole would also mean you’re ‘under par’ on that hole. Although birdie is the most common of scores that means you’re under par, it isn’t the best type of under par score. An eagle is used for scores which are two under par and an albatross is used for three under par.

A phrase you might hear when referring to a birdie is:

“He’s got 10 feet, up the hill for a birdie here.” or “If she makes this putt for birdie, she’ll win the match”.

what is a birdie golf

History Of A Birdie

The term ‘bird’ comes from the American slang for something that is great or excellent. This later led to the term ‘birdie’ coming to fruition. It is regarded as coming from a round of golf played in 1898/9. A B Smith was playing a round at The Country Club in Atlantic City with his brother and friend.

The term ‘birdie’ has been used in the game of golf for many years. It is believed the term was first coined in America at the start of the 20th century.

On the par 4 2nd, Smith’s second shot was hit very close to the pin and he said “That was a bird of a shot”, also claiming he should get double the money if he won with one under par.

Upon holing his putt, the three men decided that anything one under par would thereafter be referred to as a ‘birdie’. Although the date of the round is thought to have been in 1898/9, The Atlantic City Club date the event to 1903 and has a plaque on the hole to commemorate it.

The term ‘birdie’ would then make its way over to the UK by 1913. Famed golf writer Bernard Darwin would later write in a magazine, “It takes a day or two for the English onlooker to understand that … a ‘birdie’ is a hole done in a stroke under par.”

The term has since been used ever since when referring to a golf score that is one under the par for the hole.

How To Make A Birdie?

Making a birdie on a hole isn’t easy. Unless you’re a high-level golfer or a professional, it can take you some time to finally get a birdie on the scorecard.

Although it’s very difficult to make one, it is in fact easier than an eagle or an albatross. The fact that it’s only one under par, means that for you to make a birdie you need to hit a green in regulation and then hole the putt.

For example, for a par 3, if you hit your tee shot onto the green in one and then hole your putt you’ll have a birdie.

To make a golf birdie, it requires a pretty good level of golf to be played. The more you practice and play, the more likely you are to make a birdie on a hole. If you’re hitting the ball down the fairway, this will set you up to be able to hit the green in regulation.

It’s then a case of holing putts. The best way to improve your putting is again to practice. Get on the practice putting green and work on your pace putting, ensuring you can get the ball to the hole more often than not, because if you can’t get the ball to the hole it’s never going to go in.

As mentioned though, making a birdie takes a lot of skill. It’s also not that common for a standard-level of club golfer.

When you take a look at the stats from the PGA Tour, even the top-level golfers are only making about 5 birdies a round so it shows just how difficult it is to make one. One Tour, most of the birdies are coming from Par 5s. With the lengths that the top players can hit it nowadays, they’re able to reach most par 5s in just two shots. This, therefore, allows them either a chip and putt or two putts to make a birdie.

Of course, if you’re a long hitter, then this is probably your best chance to make a birdie. If you can get close to a par 5 in two shots, you’ll have a great chance to make a birdie.

The current record for the most birdies made in a round is 13. This is currently held by Adam Hadwin and Chip Beck, in 1991 and 2017 respectively. A crazy amount of birdies to make over just 18 holes of golf!

Final Thoughts

So there we have it, now we know what a birdie is in golf plus how we can go about making one.

It’s safe to say they’re not the easiest score to make when playing. Far more common is a bogey or a par, but if you can make a few birdies in a round then you’re going to end up with a good score at the end.

If you want to make a few birdies, you’ll need to get out on the range and the course and keep working on your game. Hitting a fade and making sure you can scramble will all help to give you the best chance.


How many shots is a birdie?

A birdie is one shot less than par on a hole. On a par 3, this would be a score of 2. On a par 4, this would be a score of 3. On a par 5, a birdie would be a score of 4.

Is a birdie better than an eagle in golf?

A birdie is a worse score than an eagle in golf. An eagle is two under par on a hole, whereas a bogey is only one under par. Having said that, both scores are very good and difficult to come by while out playing.

Why is one under par called a birdie?

The term birdie comes from American slang, where “bird” was used to define something as being good or cool. The term was used during a round in 1898 where a golfer made a score of less than par and referred to it as a bird. It was then decided that any score one under par would be called a birdie.

What is one under par called in golf?

One under par on a hole is called a birdie and is used to describe any score which is one less than par for a hole. An example of a birdie is a score of 3 on a par 4 hole.

Is a birdie good in golf?

A birdie is a very good score in golf and means that a golfer is one under par on the hole. Most golfers aim to score a birdie but only very good players are able to take one less than par on a hole.

How do you define birdie in golf?

A birdie in golf is defined as a score of one less than par on a hole. It usually means that a golfer has hit the green in regulation and then holed the putt. But it also could mean they’ve missed the green and chipped in or hit the green under regulation and two putted.

What is birdie golf?

Birdie golf is a term which is used to describe a score of one less than par and a golfer that is playing a round with lots of birdies. Birdie golf usually means more than one birdie during a round.

Is par or birdie better?

A birdie is a better score than a par in golf as a birdie is one shot less than a par. Par is the score at which a hole should be played, so making one less on a hole is better for the scorecard.

How to make more birdies?

To make more birdies, a golfer needs to hit more greens in regulation and then hole more putts. Therefore they need to work on putts from inside 10 feet and focus on accurate approach shots, giving them more chances at birdie.

What’s better than a birdie in golf?

An eagle and an albatross are both scores which are better than a birdie. A birdie is one under par, whereas an eagle is two under par and an albatross is three under par on a hole.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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