meaning of birdie in golf

What is a Birdie in Golf? (Vocabulary for Golfers)

Birdie is a commonly used golf term and it means a score of 1 under par…or -1 on any individual golf hole. Birdie is a great score to achieve on an individual hole and if you make multiple birdies per round of golf, you should score pretty well overall!

The par value set to a hole is the expected number of shots it should take to complete the hole and put the ball in the cup on the green. A birdie is one shot better than par.

For example, if the par is 4 on a hole, it’s expected that you get the ball on the green in two strokes and then take two putts to finish the hole, scoring a 4.

But to make birdie, you could get the ball on the green in two strokes and then take just one putt to get the ball into the hole, hence scoring a 1 under par birdie.

Here is the needed score for each hole’s par value:

  • Par 3 = scoring a 2
  • Par 4 = scoring a 3
  • Par 5 = scoring a 4

Resource: How to Increase Chances to Make Birdies with these Golf Drills

How Often Should Golfers Make Birdie?

Scoring par on every hole is already very challenging as it is. Scoring birdie in golf is even more difficult. The best golfers in the world who play on the professional golf tours usually average 3 to 6 birdies per round of 18 holes.

For the average golfer, you may be lucky to make 1 birdie during your 18 hole round of golf.

We recently wrote an article, however, sharing several tips on how to make more birdies so you can increase your chances and perhaps see birdie written on your score card more frequently.

We also designed practice plans to follow with proven drills that will improve your putting, chipping, and golf swing to help increase your chances of making more birdies in golf.

What is the Usage of the Term “Birdie” in Golf?

Golf is a sport with many vocabulary words and terminology you’ll hear being used on the golf course. It’s good to understand the language of golfers, especially if you’re new so you can join in on the conversations that take place during a round of play.

A few ways that the golf term “birdie” is used include:

“Did you get a birdie on that last hole?”

“I need to make this putt for birdie”

“I just hit the green and have about a 10 foot putt for birdie”

“I missed the green but I can still chip it in for birdie!”

Resource: How to Increase Chances to Make Birdies with these Golf Drills

How Did “Birdie” Become a Golf Term?

The golf term “birdie” originated in the United States at a golf course in New Jersey. It’s believed a group of golfers were playing this New Jersey golf course and decided to transform the word “bird” into “birdie” as slang.

The term “bird” was originally used back in the days as a slang word for “cool” in today’s modern language. So if a golfer hit a great shot, one might say “That was a bird of a shot”

Eventually it morphed into birdie since scoring one under par is a tough thing to do and considered “cool” when it happens.

The golf term birdie was also cited as being used by an English golf writer named Bernard Darwin in 1913.

The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms contains a quote from him stating: “It takes a day or two for the English onlooker [in the U.S.] to understand that … a birdie is a hole done in a stroke under par.”

Overall, now you are aware of what the term birdie means in golf, where it originated, and how to score birdie on a golf hole. For more golf tips and drills to help you achieve birdie scores, check out the resources below.

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