What Is An Eagle In Golf?

Golf is full of idiosyncratic terms that often make very little sense unless you’ve followed the sport religiously. One common term that you’ll hear around the golf course and on television is the word Eagle.

What Is An Eagle In Golf?

Most commonly known as a large bird of prey, the word eagle has a very different meaning in golf. Instead of being a word used to describe a wide range of birds of prey, the term eagle refers to a golf scoring term.

But what exactly does an eagle mean in golf? That’s what we will tell you today.

In this post, we’ll explain exactly what an eagle is in golf, how rare they are, where the term comes from, and what it would take for you to make one.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight in!

What Is An Eagle?

Let’s get straight to the point by telling you exactly what an eagle is in golf. In golf, an eagle is a score of 2-under par on a single hole. 

For example, if you score 2 on a par 4, your score will be known as an eagle. Essentially, all you need to remember is that if you score 2 under par on any hole, your score will be recorded as an eagle.

When a golfer scores an eagle, it is a good sign that they have advanced gameplay attributes. Having said that, this achievement also requires a lot of luck. Despite being a widely used term in the sport, an eagle isn’t a regular occurrence in the game. Even professional PGA players don’t score eagles often.

How Many Strokes Would You Need To Make An Eagle?

Now you know what an eagle is in golf, let’s transfer the definition to different holes. Golf courses are made up of holes that have different pars. Therefore, the requirements to hit an eagle will change depending on the hole you’re playing.

Below are the scores you would have to make to score an eagle on different holes.

  • Par-3 – On a par-3, you would have to hit a hole-in-one to score an eagle.
  • Par-4 – It takes 2 strokes on a par-4 to hit an eagle.
  • Par-5 – You would have to complete a par-5 in 3 strokes to score an eagle.
  • Par-6 – A score of 4 on a par-6 will be recorded as an eagle.

Why Is It Called An Eagle?

The reason this score is called an eagle is because of another term in golf. Another scoring term is called a “birdie”. As you can probably already tell, both terms follow a very avian theme. In fact, there are even other terms in golf named after birds. Some of the most common include albatross and condor. 

So, why is the term called eagle though? Well, it is widely believed that this bird was chosen because of its American heritage. The eagle is the national bird of America, therefore, it was an obvious choice. 

How Rare Are Eagles In Golf?

What Is An Eagle In Golf?

As you can imagine, an eagle shot in golf isn’t very common. It takes great skill and an element of luck to land an eagle. It is seen in the professional game more than other shots but still isn’t a common occurrence. 

To put it into numbers, professional golfers have a 3,000 to 1 chance of landing an eagle. To put that into context, professional golfers have a better chance of hitting a hole-in-one. Professional golfers have a 2,500 to 1 chance of landing a hole-in-one.

Interestingly, despite the slim chances, an eagle isn’t anywhere near the hardest golfing achievement to make. Both an albatross and a condor are harder to make than this shot. In fact, golfers have more chance of being struck by lightning on the course than scoring an albatross or a condor.

Don’t let this dishearten you too much though, there’s always that small chance that luck could be on your side.

Who Has The Most Eagles In Golf History?

Whilst the odds may be against them, the odds haven’t stopped the very best golfers from scoring multiple eagles during their careers. In fact, the golfers that have hit eagles the most have a very impressive record. 

The golfer that sits at the top of the leaderboard is Jack Nicklaus. During his career, Jack Nicklaus recorded 24 eagles. This may seem like a lot, which it is, but the golfer in second place is Raymond Floyd with 22. 

Another impressive record is held by Dustin Johnson, Bruce Crampton, and Tiger Woods. All three of these golfers hit 4 eagles in one competition.

Can You Hit An Eagle?

It may seem completely out of reach for you now, but there’s nothing to say you won’t one day hit an eagle of your own. If you work on your game and develop your skills, there’s no reason you can’t put yourself in a position that will help you land this epic shot one day.

Admittedly, luck will have to be on your side too. Here are some of the things it would take for you to score an eagle.

  • Solid Drive – To give yourself the best chance of landing an eagle, you need a consistently good and powerful drive.
  • Good Short Game – A good short game can get you out of tricky situations and get you on the green in fewer shots.
  • Obstacles – Obstacles can give you that extra bit of luck you need. For example, a man-made path could make your ball bounce further. 
  • Luck – You’re going to need all the luck in the world if you’re going to land this shot.
  • Mother Nature – Sometimes, it can take favorable winds to carry your initial drive closer to the hole. 

Final Thoughts

It may be easier to hit than other shots but an eagle is still no easy feat. Requiring great levels of skill and a lot of luck, an eagle is a great achievement that can only be topped by an albatross or a condor.

In today’s post, we’ve shown you exactly what an eagle is (scoring 2 shots under par), how rare they are, which professional golfers have hit them the most, and what it might take for you to one day hit one.

Now you know what an eagle is, why don’t you pick up your clubs and see if you can achieve the feat? It may seem impossible now but with practice who knows what could happen.

Garratt Shmidt
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