What Is An Eagle In Golf? Find the 5 Iconic Eagles

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One of the most common questions that golfers come across is what is an eagle in golf. The answer is quite simple but the execution is quite tough. An eagle in golf means a score that is two under par for the given hole.

For example, if a golfer completes a par 5 in three strokes, he has registered an eagle. Similarly, for a par 4, finishing it in just two strokes is an eagle. Whereas, for a par 3, making a hole-in-one in one stroke is also a single eagle shot.

Let’s learn more about what is an eagle in golf terms, its history, how to score an eagle in golf, how to mark an eagle on a scorecard, eagle statistics including the most eagles, and lastly some of the most famous eagles in the history of the sport.

2 under par is called an eagle in golf.

What Is An Eagle In Golf: Origin and History

We know that the term birdie was first coined in the late 1890s at the Atlantic City Country Club golf course by Ab Smith. One may say that an eagle in golf is an upgraded version of a birdie. It is said that an eagle was called a ‘Very Rare Bird’ or ‘Big Birdie’ in connection to its extremely rare occurrence.

However, the term ‘Eagle’ was followed shortly in the United States. Since the late 1890s, the term eagle has been used for two-strokes under par score. An eagle in golf is one of the most impactful scores. It hugely impacts the handicap and confidence of an average golfer.

The usage of bird-related terms like albatross, birdie, and eagle in golf has become a tradition because of the corresponding nature of a golf ball.

What is an Eagle in Golf

Rarer Sibling of Eagle: Double Eagle and Triple Eagle

Let’s talk about the pretty rare sibling of the eagle; double eagle. An albatross in golf is also known as the double eagle. People often confuse the two terms but they have the same connotation.

An albatross is a double eagle. This means that a hole is completed in three strokes or three shots under par.

Par 3For a par 3, there is practically no possibility of a double eagle.
Par 4If a golfer finishes a par 4 in one shot instead of two shots, this will be a double eagle. He can call it a hole-in-one or an ace.
Par 5If a golfer makes an albatross on a par 5, that will be a double eagle. However, if he holes the ball in one stroke (extremely rare), he is entitled to call it a triple eagle, condor shot, hole-in-one, or an ace.
Rarer Sibling of Eagle

There are thousands of golf courses in the world but the number of par 6 holes is not even in the hundreds. Par 6 is a rarer occurrence in golf. Making a double eagle on par 6 is somewhat of an achievable feat.


How to Score an Eagle

There are multiple scenarios where a golfer can score an eagle. The following are some of them.

Par 3For a par 3, there is only one possibility of making an eagle. A golfer’s tee shot has to go in the hole to register an eagle. The second shot will result in a birdie. As mentioned earlier, there is no possibility of a double eagle or triple eagle.
Par 4In par 4s, a golfer’s chances of an eagle are slim, especially for an average golfer. However, if the par 4 is short and driveable, there is a 20-30% chance for a PGA tour player to make an eagle. Whereas for average golfer, the odds become 7-12%.

If by any chance a golfer sinks the golf ball in the first stroke on a particular hole, that will be a double eagle.
Par 5Par 5s also hold slim chances of making eagles in golf. It is estimated that 15% of professional golfers can register an eagle on par 5. For amateurs, making eagles is a tough ask. This is the reason why eagles in golf are rare.
Par 6Ideally, a golfer has to complete a par 6 in four strokes. Whereas the average length of a par 6 is 600 yards. Though the yardage might change for any given hole, making an eagle on a par 6 remains a mountain to climb. There are no official records of eagle on a par 6.
How to Score an Eagle

How to Mark an Eagle on a Scorecard

An eagle is represented by a circle on the golf scorecard. For example, if you have made an eagle a par 5, you will write 3 as your score and put a square over it. This will represent an eagle. For double or triple eagles, you will increase the number of circles accordingly.

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Other Score Markings on the Scorecard

If you planning on playing golf, you should be well-versed with the golfing terms of the scorecard. If you use a hard copy scorecard, you will need these markings. However, if you are more into digital scorecards, the app will automatically use these marks.

You can visit our blog on the best golf apps to find the 18 best apps for golfers. These apps will not only record your score. They have golf lessons in them that could benefit you in making more eagles.

Eagle in Golf

Eagle Statistics in Golf

Eagles are rare in golf. It is considered a significant accomplishment. For an average player, it comes once every 50 rounds. Based on the golf course index, the frequency might change. For an expert golfer, it might come once in every 20 rounds. Let’s talk about the unique stats about eagles in golf.

Following is the list of Tour Average of Eagles in golf since 2010.

Tour Average of Eagles since 2010

Which PGA Tour Player Makes the Most Eagles?

According to Stat Muse, Justin Thomas has made the most eagles in golf. His current record for most eagles is 124. Following is the table of the top 16 professional golfers who have made the most number of Tour eagles in their golfing career.

Most Tour Eagles of All Time

Most Eagles Since 2010

The following is the list of the golfers who have hit the most eagles in a calendar year.

Most Eagles since 2010

The next time you play golf and your golf ball managed for an eagle on a golf hole, celebrate it with fellow golfers because it’s a hard feat to come by even for a golf legend. Golf eagle for average golfers is surely a big birdie.

Tips for An Average Golfer To Make More Eagles

The following are the most important factors that will increase your chances of making a few eagles on natural terrain now and then.

Distance and AccuracyTo increase the likelihood of making an eagle, golfers need to hit long tee shots and accurate approach shots. The ability to reach par-5 greens in two strokes sets the stage for potential eagles, so a combination of power and precision is crucial.
Short Game ProficiencyStrong chipping and putting skills are essential for eagles. Golfers must navigate challenging greens efficiently, converting birdie opportunities into eagles with excellent short gameplay.
Course ManagementSmart decision-making is key. Golfers must strategically plan their approach shots, avoiding hazards and positioning themselves for optimal angles to the green. Choosing the right clubs and shot types can significantly improve eagle chances.
Mental ToughnessA strong mental game is often the difference-maker for achieving eagles. Confidence, focus, and a positive mindset are vital in high-pressure situations, enabling golfers to seize opportunities when they arise and execute with composure.
Tips to Make More Eagles

When to Get Aggressive for Eagles

The best hole layout for making eagles in golf typically involves a combination of the following factors.:

Par-5 HolesPar-5 holes are the most favorable for making eagles because they are designed for golfers to reach the green in two shots, providing an opportunity for an eagle putt.
Generous FairwaysHoles with wide and forgiving fairways make it easier for golfers to hit accurate and long drives, setting them up for a better chance at reaching the green in regulation and making an eagle attempt.
Strategic BunkeringWell-placed bunkers that are strategically positioned around the green or along the fairway can add an element of challenge, making the hole layout more interesting while still allowing for eagle opportunities.
Accessible Pin PositionsHole layouts that feature pin positions on the green that are relatively accessible and not overly challenging can increase the chances of making eagles. Golfers are more likely to hole their approach shots or make shorter putts for eagles with easier pin placements.
Limited HazardsWhile some hazards can make a hole more interesting, layouts with fewer water hazards or thick rough can increase the likelihood of eagles, as golfers have a better chance of avoiding penalties and reaching the green in regulation.
Fair Green ContoursGreens with reasonable slopes and contours are more amenable to making eagle putts. Excessively undulating or tiered greens can make putting more challenging.
When To Attempt Eagles

It is important to note that the frequency of eagles on a specific hole is influenced by various factors, including course conditions, golfer skill levels, and the day’s pin placements.

Top 5 Iconic Eagles of All Time

Following is the list of some of the most iconic eagles in golf.

Iconic Eagles of All time
Jack Nicklaus – 1967 U.S. OpenJack Nicklaus made an eagle on the 72nd hole of the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club, securing his victory. His incredible 1-iron approach shot from 238 yards to within a few feet of the hole is legendary in the world of golf.
Phil Mickelson – 2010 MastersIn the final round of the 2010 Masters, Phil Mickelson hit an amazing shot from the pine straw on the 13th hole, landing it within a few feet of the hole. He converted the eagle putt, which played a crucial role in his victory.
Gene Sarazen – 1935 MastersGene Sarazen’s famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” at the 1935 Masters is one of the most iconic eagles in golf history. He holed out a 4-wood from 235 yards on the 15th hole for an albatross (double eagle), leading to a playoff victory.
Tom Watson – 1982 U.S. OpenAt the 1982 U.S. Open, Tom Watson made a memorable chip-in eagle on the 71st hole. His pitch from the rough on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach found the cup and propelled him to victory.
Tiger Woods – 2000 Canadian OpenTiger Woods made an incredible eagle on the 72nd hole at the 2000 Canadian Open, sinking a 6-iron from 218 yards for an eagle to force a playoff, which he ultimately won. This shot is often cited as one of his most impressive.
Iconic Eagles of All Time

People Also Ask

What is Better Than an Eagle in Golf?

A double eagle and a triple eagle are better than an eagle in golf. A double eagle is also known as an albatross whereas a triple eagle is known as a condor.

What is One Better Than an Eagle in Golf?

A double eagle (albatross) is one better than an eagle in golf.

What is an Eagle Putt in Golf?

A two-under stroke putt for a given hole is known as an eagle putt. On a par 4, if your second stroke is a putt, it is known as an eagle putt. Similarly, if your third stroke is a putt, it will be an eagle putt.

What is an Eagle Chip in Golf?

A two-under stroke for a chip shot on a given hole is known as an eagle chip. On a par 4, if your second stroke is a chip shot, it is known as an eagle chip. Similarly, if your third stroke is a chip shot, it will be an eagle chip.

What is Better in Golf a Birdie or an Eagle?

An eagle is better than a birdie because an eagle is two srkes under par whereas a birdie is one stroke under par.

What is the Mark to Show an Eagle in Golf?

A double circle on the strokes of a given hole on the golf scorecard is the mark to show an eagle in golf.

Eagle vs Birdie, Which is Better?

Birdie is one stroke under par and an eagle is two strokes under par. Therefore, eagle is a better score in golf.

Is a Hole in One An Eagle?

For a par 3, a hole in one is an eagle. Whereas for a par 4, it will be a double eagle/albatross and a condor for a par 5.

Final Words

An eagle represents a coveted moment of success in the game, often celebrated as a testament to a golfer’s talent and strategic prowess. We hope this informative article about ‘What is an eagle in golf’ depicts the rarity and importance of this extremely uncommon shot.

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Hasnain Ali Tarar is a passionate golfer with a journey in the sport that began in 2016. With a golf handicap of 15, he brings a unique perspective to the world of golf blogging. His deep love for the game has driven him to explore every facet of it, from perfecting his swing on the course to evaluating the latest golf products. As the Content Manager at CanYouGolf, Hasnain combines his writing skills with his golfing expertise to provide readers with valuable insights, tips, and reviews that enhance their golfing experience.

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