In golf, birdie describes a score of one stroke under par on a given hole. It originated in the late 19th century in the United States when it was used to describe an Eagle, which is two strokes under par.

Over time, it has become more commonly used to refer to any score of one stroke under par, regardless of whether it is on a hole where an eagle is possible.

In this article, we will discuss why it is called birdie in golf. We’ll throw light on some other famous terms that are used while playing golf. Moreover, we will also discuss the history and origin of a birdie.

From Where The Word' Birdie' Came In Golf?

why is it called a birdie in golf

There are a few different theories about where the word "birdie" came from in golf. Every face has a story to tell. A few of them are given below:

Burdie, A Little Bird

One popular theory is that it comes from the Scottish word "burdie," which means "little bird." However, a course in Atlantic City, New Jersey, claims that the word was coined there in 1903. The meaning is a score of one below par.

Bird's Eye

Some believe it comes from the term "bird's eye," which describes a perfect shot. Whatever the origin of the word, there is no doubt that it's a key part of golf lingo. A birdie is achieved when a golfer shoots one stroke less than par on a hole. Therefore, if you play a par four and score a three, you have made a birdie.

Making a birdie is considered a good thing since it means you have scored better than average on that hole. Of course, sometimes, making a birdie can be tougher than it sounds. Even if you do not make one on every hole, hearing someone yell "birdie!" can make your day.

What Is Birdie in Golf Means?

There are a few theories about why golf uses bird names. While there is no definitive answer, there are a few theories.

  • The first theory is that early golfers often encounter birds while out on the course. It was normal for a golfer to hit a bird with their ball. As a result, they started using bird names as a way to describe their shots.
  • The second theory is that golfers often see birds flying overhead while playing. The sight of a bird in flight was considered good luck, so they started calling their good shots "birdies.

Whatever the origins of the term, "birdie" has become one of golf's most commonly used terms.

What Is The Origin Of Golf Terms Like Birdie, Eagle, And Bogey?

why is it called a birdie in golf

There are a few different theories about the origin of golf terms like birdie, eagle, and bogey.

Scottish Game

One theory is that they come from the Scottish game of curling, where each shot is given a point value.

English Game

Another theory is that they come from the old English game of bowls, where each bowl is worth a certain number of points.

The most likely explanation, however, is that these terms come from the early days of golf when players would use different words to keep track of their scores.

Some Other Golf Terminologies

According to this theory, birdie came from the word 'bird,' which describes a good shot.

Eagle comes from the word 'eagle,' which describes an excellent shot. In addition, bogey comes from the word 'bogie,' which was used to describe a bad/terrible shot. Whatever the reason, using bird names for golf shots has become a tradition that is not going anywhere anytime soon!

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

What exactly is a snowman in golf?

Snowman is something that you want to prevent in golf. That is because "snowman" is a golf phrase for an eight on any one hole. You built a "snowman" using eight shots to play a hole. A golf snowman will melt your scorecard.

Why do golf courses have 18 holes?

In 1764, the players at St Andrew's chose to split the initial four short holes into two, resulting in a round of 18 holes, but it was still only ten holes, with eight played twice. The 18-hole game was born, although it would be another hundred years before other courses did likewise.

In golf, how can you play wolf?

The 'Wolf' is always the final golfer to take the ball. Through each hole, the players change the tee-off order (on the first hole, one, two, three, four. On the second hole, two, three, four, one), ensuring that each player plays Wolf about once in four strokes.

Why do golfers use the term "check"?

Check Up (as in Getting the Ball Inspection), Golf Term: When a golf stroke stops unexpectedly on the green because of a high backhand, it is called to check up (or check).


So, why is it called birdie in golf? A few theories are floating around. One comes from the phrase, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." This means it is better to have a small gain than to risk losing everything by going for a bigger one.

Another theory comes from the Scottish word "burdie," which means a small child or young animal. This likely refers to how golfers sometimes refer to their scoring as "nesting" or "laying down some chicks." There is no doubt that birdie has become an essential part of golf lingo.

We hope this article will help you to understand different terminologies associated with golf. If you guys have any question regarding golf, feel free to ask in the comment section. We’ll love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!