What Is An Eagle In Golf?

A birdie is one shot under par and an albatross, also sometimes called a double eagle, is three shots under par on a single hole.

Because there are four types of “birds,” each with its own name, what is an eagle in golf?


Getting an eagle in golf is when you get the ball into the hole in two shots fewer than par for that particular course.

If your score for a round is even after 18 holes, you have scored at least one birdie in that round.

While it’s not unheard of to get up-and-down eagles when playing golf, it’s still relatively rare. Still, it happens, and when it does it can be game-changing.

Here are some examples of eagles on golf courses that were either made by professionals or amateurs who just happened to get really lucky with their shots.


Famous Eagles in Golf

Long Drive Eagle On The Pro Worlds

At the 2013 Pro World Long Drive Championship, Derek Travis made eagle with a shot that just cleared the bottom of the cup. After watching the replay, it’s clear he didn’t actually know what had happened when his drive landed about 30 yards away from where he’d been standing.

Perfect Approach Eagle At Pebble Beach

In a U.S. Open warm-up event, amateur golfer James Lepp hit his approach shot on the par-5 7th hole at Pebble Beach to within 3 feet of the cup and went on to make eagle .

Eagle On The Ryder Cup

2008 Ryder Cup: Lee Westwood made eagle on the par-4 3rd hole during singles play at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY.

Eagle On The 11th Hole During Open Championship

During the 2005 British Open held at St. Andrews, Paul Lawrie made eagle on the iconic 11th hole (par 5) by hitting his second shot to within 2 feet of the cup.

Eagle On The 17th Hole At Muirfield

During the 2013 British Open in Scotland, Adam Scott made eagle by hitting his approach shot to within 3 feet of the cup on the par-5 17th hole at Muirfield.

Eagle During Final Round Of 2017 Olympics

During the final round of golf at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Justin Rose eagled the par-4 15th hole en route to winning gold.

A Two Hole “Eagle” During A Scramble Tournament

In a scramble tournament involving 13 amateurs and one professional golfer, each of the amateur teams had their best 2 scores on holes 14 and 17 tallied for the scorecard. An amateur golfer on one of the teams posted a 2 on both holes, giving him an eagle on those two holes and helping his team to win the tournament.

Alternatives To Calling It An Eagle In Golf

Calling it an eagle in golf would sound strange because you don’t hear it used that way any other time. Maybe that’s because it’s such a rare feat?

Also, the term “eagle” is associated with presidential seals and military insignia. It seems like you’d want to be more reserved when talking about the best shot of your golfing career .

So what do people say instead? Golfers might say they got an albatross, which describes the same thing as an eagle in golf, or they might say that shot was “the bomb.”

If you like playing games with your friends on the course, you can challenge them to guess how many shots it took you to get the ball into the hole. The closest guess without going over gets to take a prize (and doesn’t have to buy the next round of drinks).

Other Golf Terms

If you’re looking for more terms associated with golf, here are some others that all golfers should know:

  • Bogey : One stroke over par on a hole.
  • Double Bogey : Two strokes under par on a hole.
  • Par (or, On The Par-5 Hole, Birdie ): One stroke under par on a hole.
  • Par (or, On The Par-4 Hole, Eagle ): Two strokes under par on a hole.
  • Foursome : A group of four people playing together as one foursome . Each golfer in the group takes their turn to tee off until they have all teed off four times total.
  • Quadruple Bogey : Four strokes under par on a hole.
  • Mulligan (or, Mulligan Shot ): A do-over on a shot that was already played . If you hit the ball into the rough on your first shot and want to try again, you might say “I’m taking a mulligan,” or “I’m hitting a mulligan.” You can only declare one Mulligan per tee box.
  • Over Par (or, Above Par ): Being more than one stroke under par on a hole .
  • Under Par (or, Below Par ): Being less than one stroke over par on a hole .
  • Par-3 : A hole with a par of 3 strokes.
  • Par-4 : A hole with a par of 4 strokes.
  • Par-5 : A hole with a par of 5 strokes .
  • Birdie: Putt (or, Eagle Putt ): When you hit the ball into the cup on your first putt .
  • Chip Shot : When you hit the ball on the green but not into the hole.
  • Gimme (or, Give Me ): A shot where your opponent guesses how many strokes it will take you to get the ball in the hole and if they guess correctly, they don’t have to play their next turn . For example: “I’m putting my ball down on the green and I’m calling a gimme.”
  • Green (or, Putting Green ): The area with closely trimmed grass surrounding the hole . You’ll know where to aim for when you’re putting by looking at the “line” around the hole.
  • Tee Box : An area of closely-trimmed grass where you tee off from. The tee box is where you start on a lot of par-3 holes and it’s often elevated, which makes the ball travel higher in the air .
  • Tee (or, Teeing Ground ): The place on a hole where you tee your ball up before every shot.
  • Mulligan Hole : A hole dedicated to mulligans . You can only hit Mulligan Shots on this hole.
  • Handicap : A number assigned to golfers that allows some players with lower abilities to compete on a more-equal playing field against stronger players. To determine your handicap, calculate your gross score (the number of strokes you shot) for 18 holes and subtract it from the course par. The result is your handicap . For example, if your gross score was 63 and the course par is 72, your handicap would be 9. The lower your number, the better you are as a golfer.
  • Fore : A warning call that means “Watch out – there’s someone nearby with a golf club!”
  • Gimme Hole (or, Gimme Par-5 ): A hole on a golf course where you can take a free shot and it still counts as par for the hole .
  • Birdie : When you get the ball into the cup with one stroke under par.
  • Double Eagle (or, Albatross ): Three strokes under par .
  • Go Home Putt (or, Go Home Eagle ): A hole-in-one .
  • Playing Through: When some opponents let slower players play through while they wait for them to finish . This often happens if the players are waiting on the green for other groups to finish so they can putt.
  • Replay (or, Replay Shot ): A new shot played after the first one was already taken . For example: “I’m taking a mulligan and then I’m playing again.”
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