NCG's Golf Glossary: What is an eagle?

Don't know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG's Golf Glossary is here to help. This week: what is an eagle?

What is an eagle? Well, here at National Club Golfer we’re the publication for the everyday player and so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a step-by-step introduction to the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

What is an eagle?

A very special, and rare, bird. An eagle is a score of two under par on a hole. You can get an eagle on a par 3, a par 4 and a par 5 alike. The most common kind of eagle is a three on a par 5. Typically, this involves a skilled player reaching the green on a par 5 in two shots and then holing the putt.

Next is a two on a par 4. That’s most likely to occur after a skilled player drives the green and then holes the putt.

The least common is a one on a par 3. As we all know, however, this has its own name. It is called a hole-in-one. It is very rare that you would hear someone telling you all about their eagle on a par 3.

For the club player, the most likely way to make an eagle would be pitching in on a short par 5 or a short par 4.

What is an eagleHow would you use it in a sentence?

“Just when it seemed that Jordan Spieth was too far back to threaten for the title, he found the par-5 15th green in two with a pair of mighty hits then holed a 50-footer for eagle.”

What are its origins?

Well, the word ‘bird’ used to mean ‘cool’. That’s how the term birdie came to mean a score of one under in golf.

An eagle is a rare bird. And making an eagle is a rare feat indeed for most of us golfers. In fact, some of us play all our lives without ever making an eagle. So an eagle is a particular, special type of bird.

Any other business?

If you get an eagle in the Masters you are rewarded with a pair of crystal goblets. As well as a leap up the leaderboard of course. You get a lot of eagles in the Masters because both of the par 5s on the back nine (the 13th and 15th) are reachable in two for most of the players most of the time. It’s one of the things that makes the Masters so exciting.

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