What Is The Golfing Term “Birdie”?

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Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

Everyone who has played a little golf has heard of the term “birdie”. Unlike a “bogey”, scoring a birdie sounds nice because it is, in fact, nice.

Whether you know what a birdie is or not, if you’re into your golf – you can always know more. 

That’s why we are here to deliver the facts and dispel the myths surrounding the birdie. We will also serve you a few hot tips on how to score a birdie and become the great golfer player you were always meant to be.

If you are yet to play the great game of golf, you may not be hitting a birdie hole any time soon. But, at least you will know what it is, where it came from, and the terminology that surrounds the fabled birdie will be yours to learn. 


What Is A Birdie In Golf?

Let’s not beat around the bush – let’s dive straight into the reason why you are here: What in the world is this “birdie” business? A birdie is a term that is given to scoring one less stroke than par on a golf hole. 

An example of this would be a golfer shooting par-3 in just two strokes. This same rule can be applied to a par-4 as well as a par-5 hole.

Playing a par-4, to score a birdie, you would need to complete the hole in exactly three strokes, and four strokes for the par-5. 

Where Did The Term Birdie Come From?

Unlike the golfing term “bogey” which has ties with Scotland and the Bogeyman, the term birdie is very much an American one. “Bird” was an American slang word that meant “cool” or “great”.

Bird, as a slang word, was used extensively across the country through the 19th century and into the 20th. This slang word is where golf historians believe the word stemmed from, but who brought it into the golfing arena?

Although there is no debate about the birdie originating in the U.S, there are varied accounts as to where the original seed was planted.

The most recognized of the accounts takes us back in time to the Atlantic City Country Club down in New Jersey. The club claims that they established the term after one of their members scored one-under-par on a hole in a particular game of golf in 1903. 

How To Score A Birdie?

We aren’t going to lie to you because that would be wrong – scoring a birdie is difficult. However, with a passion to play golf anything is possible.

Besides scoring a birdie by means of a downright fluke, most golfers will need a fair amount of skill and a fairer amount of experience before they score their first birdie.

To set you up for a long and prosperous golf game of scoring birdies, we have compiled a few basic tips to get the golf ball rolling (hopefully into the hole). They are listed below:

  • Practice: No professional golfer gets to where they are off natural talent alone. It takes thousands of hours of practice to get to the point where scoring a birdie on every round of golf that you play is an achievable prospect. Whether it is in your backyard, down at the driving range, putting green, or playing 18 holes every week – practice is everything in golf. 
  • Golf Clubs: Another age-old saying that relates to golf and scoring birdies is “you’re only as good as your tools”. In this instance, the tools in question, are, of course, your golf clubs. Sourcing golf clubs that suit your ability (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), will help you improve tenfold. Clubs that will help with your overall strike power won’t hurt either.
  • Stay Positive: There is nothing more detrimental to a golfer’s game than negative thoughts. If you let a bad shot or a worse hole affect your thoughts and energy, you will not be scoring a birdie on the next hole.

Staying positive through the good holes and the bad is the only way to play golf. The game requires a good deal of mental toughness, and this is an essential first step to becoming good enough to score a birdie.

What Is A Par In Golf?

Seeing as par and a birdie are inescapably linked to each other, we thought it was a good idea to highlight what “par” is as well. The term “par” in golf details the number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to make on a golf hole.

Every hole on every golf course in the world should have a par. Think of it as the course guide from which all players are judged. You will find that the vast majority of golf holes will be either par three, four, or five.

There is the exception of particularly long and challenging holes getting classified as par sixes, although this is considered rare at best. No par should be higher than six and less than three.

These are the rules of golf, so if your local course starts introducing anything different you let them know. 

What Is A Fore In Golf?

If you have ever watched the Adam Sandler classic golfing movie “Happy Gilmore” you may have heard the word “fore” used more than once. Fore is one of the most important terms in golf because it helps keep everyone safe. 

If you take a shot and your ball goes anywhere near to another player, it is your job to let them know. Instead of players yelling out the word that first comes to mind, if they yell fore, people know to think, act, and duck faster.

To avoid putting other players in a dangerous situation where yelling fore is necessary, always make sure that they are well out of the way before hitting your ball. 


As you can see, scoring a birdie is something that most golfers may only experience a few times in their life (if they are lucky).

However, even though scoring a birdie is out of reach when learning to play golf, that doesn’t mean that you can’t dream. We hope you score that birdie soon enough!

Luke Griffin

Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

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