What Is the Meaning of an Eagle in Golf?

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Birdies, pars, bogeys, double bogeys and triple bogeys are all vital golf score terms in a game of golf, as they are used to indicate the number of strokes it took to put the golf ball in the hole. An eagle in golf is one that you don’t hear as much, but it is about as good of a score you can obtain out on the golf course.

While rare on the scorecard even for PGA Tour professional golfers, this score on a hole is quite the achievement, and does happen. The definition and understanding of the term eagle is simple enough to grasp for the average golfer.


Eagle, as defined in golf, is a score of two strokes under par on a hole. As a verb, to eagle means to shoot 2-under par on any given hole.


Eagles don't happen often, but most eagles tend to happen on par-5 holes. This is because, should a golfer hit two long shots down the fairway to start the hole, that player then can be faced with a long putt or chip on his third shot. Should the golfer hole that shot, he records an eagle. To do so on a par-4 hole is quite difficult, as it requires holing in on the second shot.

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Often, when a hole-in-one is recorded, that shot doubles as an eagle, and that is because most holes-in-one take place on par-3 holes.

Should a golfer hole in on the tee shot, that golfer would record a 1, recording 2-under par on the hole. Again, this is a rare occurrence, even for professionals, but it does happen.


According to Scottish golf history lore, the term eagle was coined as an extension of the term birdie. It was coined as a way of saying big birdie, since an eagle is such a large bird.

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Even rarer than an eagle is a double-eagle in golf , in which a player shoots 3 under par on a hole. Another golf term used for a double-eagle is “albatross.” This is only possible on par-4, par-5, par-6 hole, or longer holes.

On par-4s, it requires a golfer to hit a hole-in-one, which almost never happens. On par-5s, it requires a golfer to hole her second shot, which, again, is an extremely rare occurrence. These are not possible on par-3 holes since it's not possible to shoot 3-under par on such a hole.