What Is a Birdie in Golf?

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It seems that, sooner or later, everyone gets into golf. It's a great way to stay competitive, social and active through every stage of life. But getting into the game can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to its quirky language. Birdie is just an example of slang that you'll quickly get used to.

Birds Are Good

  • Birdie is a term used to denote what type of score you shot on a specific hole during a round of golf. The course determines an expected number of strokes to hole the ball at each tee, usually 3 through 5, called par. Birdie simply means that you used one stroke less than par to get the ball into the hole, giving you minus-1 on your total score. The term is believed to be derived from 19th century American slang, when "bird" meant cool, good or excellent. In fact, good single-hole scores keep with the bird theme. Eagle denotes 2 under par; and albatross, a rare bird, is the term for an equally rare event: 3 under par.

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