For anyone who's ever stepped foot on a golf course, the term "eagle" needs no explanation. Scoring an eagle is the Holy Grail of golf, and achieving one is an experience that's sure to get your heart pumping. But for those of us who are new to the game, the term can be a bit confusing. So what exactly is an eagle in golf?
For starters, an eagle is not an easy feat. In fact, according to statistical data from the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of an average golfer scoring an eagle is about 1 in 10,000. To put that into perspective, the odds of being struck by lightning in any given year are approximately 1 in 500,000. So if you're lucky enough to score an eagle, you can consider yourself quite fortunate!
An eagle is simply a score of two strokes under par on a hole. So if you're playing a par-5 hole and you card a three, you've just scored an eagle. If you're on a par-4 hole and you hit the ball into the hole in three shots, you've also made an eagle. Eagles are considered to be rare and challenging, which is why they are so highly coveted by golfers of all skill levels.
Easy enough, right? Not so fast. There's another term you need to be aware of in order to fully understand eagles in golf...
Aces: When It All Comes Together
The ace is the Holy Grail of golf—the best possible score on any given hole. Aces are incredibly rare, with the odds of recording one estimated at approximately 1 in 12,500 for the average golfer (according to the National Hole-In-One Registry). For pros, those odds decrease to one in 3,000.
But what's even rarer than an eagle? How about an albatross, also called a double eagle. This is when you score a 2 on a par 5 or an ace on a par 4. Talk about rare - how about 1 in 6 million? We can't confirm those statistics are 100% accurate but you get the point.
You may have noticed a theme with under-par scores on a hole. Birdie, eagle, and albatross - all bird-related. When birdie was first used in the 19th century the term symbolized excellence, very good, something that was wow. The term eagle seems to have followed that theme.
So there you have it! Now when someone asks you what is an eagle in golf, you'll be able to impress them with your knowledge. Just remember—an eagle is two strokes under par on a hole, and an ace is one stroke under par on a hole with your ball landing on the green and then rolling into the cup. And if you're lucky enough to accomplish either feat...well, consider yourself among elite company!
If you're a new golfer looking to improve your game, then there's one thing that you absolutely must have in your arsenal: the best golf balls for beginners. See below to start making more birdies and maybe an eagle or the coveted ace.