What Is An Eagle In Golf? (How To Score and Meaning)

The terminology used in golf to indicate the score achieved on a hole has developed significantly since the early 1900s.

The term eagle in golf means a score of 2-under-par and it is an expansion of the term birdie keeping scores below par to the avian theme.

Although the term birdie was accepted for use in the 1910s, lowering scores meant that a 2-under par score required a term that refers to a larger and more impressive bird hence the term eagle was adopted.

Golfers strive to score eagles to join the elite club with professional golfers on an average score between 1 and 2 eagles per 18-hole round while the average amateur scores an eagle in 1 out of 50 rounds.

We will look at the history and the prestige linked to scoring an eagle as well as holes where this is more likely to happen.

What Does Eagle Mean In Golf?

How many shots is an eagle? Eagle means that you have scored 2 shots less than the set par for the hole. This relates to a 3 on a par 5, a 2 on a par 4, and an ace (hole-in-one) on a par 3.

An Eagle In Golf Good or Bad?

Eagle in golf scoring is much rarer than scoring birdies and affects the number of shots related to par. If under par, the score will get further while a score of over par will reduce closer to par.

Since par score or better is what you aim to achieve, an eagle will take you a long way towards your target.

How Rare Is An Eagle In Golf?

Scoring an eagle on the various par holes differ with an eagle on a par 3 being the least common as it requires one shot to get the ball into the hole.

Eagles on par 4 holes have become more common as designers have catered for risk-and-reward par 4s that are drivable by the long hitters.

Par 5 holes are more known for giving eagles back to the field.

Long hitters generally hit the green with two well-placed hits except for a par 5 that exceeds 600 yards.

This allows for 2 well-played shots to be close enough to the hole for an excellent putt to score an eagle.

📢 Need To Know: Professional golfers are likely to score 1 or 2 eagles per round while a good amateur golfer is likely to score 1 or 2 eagles in 50 rounds.

Amateur golfers tend to struggle to score an eagle on long par 5 holes.

Professional golfers on the 2021 PGA Tour required an average of 190.3 holes per eagle.

Unsurprisingly Bryson DeChambeau scored the most eagles averaging an eagle every 75.8 holes.

 The average number of holes for an eagle

📋 Keep in mind: Only 1% to 2% of recreational golfers achieve an eagle in a year.

Is An Eagle Harder Than A Hole-In-One?

Even though a hole-in-one on a par 3 is classified as an eagle, it is one of the most difficult eagles to score as you only have one shot to achieve this.

What’s Better Than An Eagle In Golf?

Eagle is not the best that you can score on a hole though, staying with the avian theme, you can score a three-under-par double eagle (also known as an Albatross in Europe) while a rare 4-under par score on a hole is known as a Condor.

📢 Need To Know: A near-impossible score of 5-under par is called an Ostrich while the most improbable 6-under par score is called a Phoenix.

What Is A Double Eagle In Golf?

A double eagle in golf is when you score 3 under par on a hole. This requires you to hole out your second shot on a par 5 or score a hole-in-one on a par 4.

According to the National Hole in One Association, the odds of scoring a double-eagle is approximately 6,000,000 to 1.

Eagle Name Origin In Golf

According to the USGA, the term Eagle is, as the term birdie, American in origin, and retains the avian theme for scores below par.

The Scottish Golf History website suggests that the Americans simply inserted their national bird here.


Is an eagle or birdie better in golf?

An eagle is a better score than a birdie.An eagle is defined as a hole being completed in 2 shots less than par while a birdie is defined as a score of one less than par.

Is an eagle a hole-in-one?

A hole-in-one on a par 3 can be described as an eagle. However, not all holes-in-one are eagles. A hole-in-one on a par 4 is an albatross or double eagle. Holing your second shot on a par 4 also qualifies as an eagle and so does a score of three on a par 5 hole.

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Charl is a full-time writer who has been with Golfible since 2019. He is an avid golfer and tech enthusiast. When not writing, he tries to squeeze in a round of golf or escape to the mountains.

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