In golf, an eagle means scoring two under par (-2) and is a rare but exciting score when achieved by golfers. To score an eagle some luck is typically involved.
For example, if a hole has a par of 4 then to score eagle you’d have to score a 2 on the hole to beat par by two strokes.
This would require hitting your first shot from the tee box and then making the second shot in the cup with your irons or wedge. In some cases, the par 4 may be short enough to drive the green and have a putt for your second shot eagle attempt.
On Par 5 holes, an eagle is more common as golfers attempt to reach the green in their first two strokes, followed by one putt to complete the eagle.
An in the rare case of a par 3, an eagle would occur if you hit the tee shot into the hole, known as a hole in one, but also an eagle since you scored -2 taking just 1 shot on a par 3 hole.
How Did Eagle Become a Golf Term?
The golf term “Eagle” originated in America, just like the term birdie did.
Ab Smith claimed that his brother William Smith and friend George Crump were playing a par 4 hole and hit a shot a few inches from the cup. They would use the term “bird of a shot” and scored it 1 under par.
Soon after they coined the term birdie for 1 under par scores, and sticking with the bird theme, they decided to use eagle for scores of 2 under par.
This occurred back in the early 1900’s, while some claim it was late 1800’s. But we know for fact that by 1919 the term Eagle was being introduced to Britain by a man who had learned of the term while in Canada.
Soon after, golfers in other countries were spreading the term around saying “this is the American term for making two under par” and that is how Eagle eventually became standard worldwide as a golf term.
Usage Examples for the term “Eagle”
In golf, many players use terminology like birdie, par, bogey, albatross, hole-in-one, as well as eagle to define scores on a golf hole.
Here are some examples of how the term Eagle is used in golf:
“I reached the Par 5 green in two, now I have a putt for eagle”
“If I can chip this in for eagle, you buy me a drink”
“Johnny needs to hole this out from the fairway for eagle to tie Bobby or else Bobby wins the tournament”
Overall, anytime you are attempting a shot that could get the ball into the hole 2 strokes less than what par is for the hole, you will be attempting an eagle.
Successfully making eagle can give you momentum and mental confidence to continue playing well in your round of golf.
It truly is an exciting golf score to achieve and means a lot when it happens due to the scarcity of its occurrence. For more golf tips and drills, see the resources below!