What Is An Eagle In Golf? [Better Than Birdie?]

Making an eagle in golf is somewhat of a dream to most amateur golfers. However, you might have heard the ‘eagle’ golf term used on TV and thought to yourself – “in golf what is an eagle?”.

Well, luckily for you, in this article we’ll go into detail about the golf eagle meaning, the history behind it and how you can go about making one when you’re next out on the golf course.

So, in golf what is an eagle?

What Is A Par In Golf?

What Does Eagle Mean In Golf?

What Is An Eagle In Golf?

An eagle in golf is a score that is 2 better than par on a hole. With each hole assigned a par, a golfer needs to get the ball in the hole for two shots under par for an eagle.

For example, if you were to make a 2 on a par 4, this would be classed as an eagle.

The following scores would mean an eagle on each type of par:

  • Holes that are par 3s – scoring 1 would be an eagle.
  • Holes that are par 4s – scoring 2 would be an eagle.
  • Holes that are par 5s – scoring 3 would be an eagle.
  • Holes that are par 6s – scoring 4 would be an eagle.

Of course, if you make an eagle on a par 3, it would still be an eagle scored, but it would also mean that you’ve made a hole in one. Holing out in 1 shot on a par 3 is both an eagle and a hole in one.

Making an eagle is very difficult indeed and somewhat of a rarity. To finish a hole in 2 under the par for the hole is an incredible achievement and one that a lot of golfers will never achieve in their lifetime playing.

For most golfers, their only real chance of making an eagle is to hole out from a long distance. This might be off the tee on a par 3, which would in this case be a hole-in-one. Or they may even be able to hole out on a par 4 from the fairway for an eagle.

For better players, they have a good chance of making an eagle on a par 5. This is because if they’re a longer hitter, they can reach a par 5 in just two shots which would give them a putt for an eagle.

I’ve been lucky enough to make a few eagles in my playing career, with the best one coming on a long par 5 en route to a round of 62. I’m still looking for that elusive hole in one eagle though!

How Rare Is An Eagle In Golf?

Making an eagle score in a round of golf certainly is rare for most golfers. If you can hit it a long way, you’ve got a good chance of reachable par 5 holes.

But for most golfers, they are unlikely to ever make an eagle in a round of golf.

Having said that, they’re less rare to make than a hole-in-one. Realistically you only get a chance for a hole-in-one on par 3s, as most people are able to hit it long enough to get to the hole in one.

However, you pretty much have a chance for an eagle on every single hole on the course, in theory.

Every par 4 and 5 which you can reach in 2 and 3 respectively, gives you a chance of holing that shot from far out.

For professional golfers, an eagle is far more common compared to amateurs. With top players able to hit the ball so far these days, reaching most par 5s in just two shots is achievable. As a result, these players can hit the green and have a putt for an eagle on almost all par 5s.

On the PGA Tour in 2022, the leading number of eagles made was 21 by Patrick Rodgers. However, when you compare that to the number of holes that he played, 1,530, it doesn’t seem very many. This shows just how difficult and rare, even for the best players in the world, it is to make an eagle in a round of golf.

History Of An Eagle

The eagle golf term comes from the extension of ‘birdie‘ which was first coined in the early 20th century by the golfer Ab Smith.

Having named a birdie based on a great score that was one under the par of the hole, they decided to refer to a slightly larger and patriotic bird for a score of two under par.

A larger type of bird, the eagle is a logical term to use for a score that is slightly better than a birdie.

The golf term eagle had made its way to the UK and across the Atlantic by 1919, where it had begun using the word ‘birdie’ for scores one under par in 1913.

How To Make An Eagle?

Well, it’s safe to say, you have to be pretty good at golf in most cases. There will be chances where a high handicapper has hit a shot from 150 yards and it has rolled into the hole for an eagle.

However, this is very unlikely to happen and 99 times out of 100, you’ll need to hit the green in two on a par 5 or even hit the green in one on a par and then hole the putt for an eagle.

With that said, it helps if you can hit the ball quite a long way off the tee. If you can hit it far with the driver, you’re more likely to reach par 4s and 5s in less than regulation.

Hitting the ball a long distance is usually to do with instinct and a natural ability to hit it far. It can of course be practiced and learned, but it will take a lot of time and dedication to get to this stage in your golf.

Then once you’ve hit the green in under regulation, you need to be able to hole the putt for an eagle. Therefore, a good putting level is required, so get on the practice putting green and work on your putting stroke.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for our look at what is an eagle in golf. Essentially it’s a term used to describe a score that is two less than the par for the hole.

Making an eagle is rather challenging and you won’t see it very often unless you’re watching the top players on the professional tours.

A far more achievable score for most golfers is a birdie. Learn more about how you can make a birdie in golf.


How many shots under par is an eagle?

An eagle is two shots under par on a hole, which would be a score of two on a par 4 or a score of three on a par 5.

What is an eagle in golf terms?

An eagle in golf terms is a score made on a hole which is two shots less than the par for the hole. The score is far less common to achieve than a birdie or a par.

What’s an eagle in golf?

An eagle is a score in golf which means two less than par.

What score is an eagle on a par 5?

On a par 5, an eagle would be a score of 3, meaning the golfer is two under par on that hole.

How rare is an eagle on a par 4?

An eagle on a par 4 is very rare as it’s so much harder to do than on a par 5. On the PGA Tour, the tour average for a season is one or two eagles which shows just how rare they are to achieve.

What is better than an eagle in golf?

An albatross is a better score than an eagle in golf and is even harder to achieve. It would mean making a two on a par 5 or a hole in one on a par 4.

Is an eagle good in golf?

Yes, an eagle is a very good score in golf and is difficult to achieve for most golfers. Even the top players on the PGA Tour only average 7 eagles in a season.

Is an eagle a hole in one?

An eagle on a par 3 is the same score as a hole in one, although this type of score on a par 3 would be regarded as a hole in one and not an eagle.

What is an eagle putt?

An eagle putt is where a player has a putt to make an eagle score in golf. This is usually where they’ve reached a par 4 in one shot and are putting for a 2 or are on a par 5 green in two shots and are putting for a score of 3.

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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