In order to score a birdie in golf, a player must score one stroke under par on an individual golf hole. For example, on a par 3, a birdie is 2 strokes. On a par 4, 3 strokes, and so on. Scoring a birdie is rare for most golfers; therefore, it is a very much sought-after feat on the golf course. The term “birdie” is one of many popular terms used within golf to signify different types of scoring on an individual hole.
With golf being one of New Zealand’s most played sports, Kiwis are no strangers to the thrill and added motivation that comes with scoring a birdie. Over half a million Kiwis play golf each year, many of whom will be striving to achieve a birdie every time they step onto the golf course. This article will explore how the term “birdie” came to be and offer newer players some useful insight into its significance within the sport.
There are many different theories about how the golf term “birdie” came to be, but the most widely accepted one is that of the Atlantic City Country Club in New Jersey. In 19th century America, “bird” was a commonly used colloquial term that referred to anything that was considered “excellent” or “cool”. For example, during a game of golf that took place in the early part of the 20th century, golfer Ab Smith is said to have described a shot that he’d hit within a few inches of the hole as “a bird of a shot”. This particular game was a money wager, so following this shot, Ab Smith suggested that scoring one stroke under par should result in double the money. Subsequently, he and his friends adopted the name “birdie” to describe getting a score of one stroke under par.
There now stands a plaque which commemorates this event on the Atlantic City Country Club golf course. The plaque is inscribed with the year 1903, although some recollections of how the term “birdie” came to fruition suggest that this event may have occurred some years earlier. Nevertheless, the term has long since become synonymous with the sport, and its significance cannot be understated.
The “par” of any given hole on a golf course is a number that correlates to how many strokes a golfer is expected to take in order to successfully complete the hole. Unfortunately, this value is often misunderstood as being the average amount of strokes expected to complete a hole. In actuality, the par number is commonly much lower than what most average golfers will score. Therefore, it would be more accurate to say that the par number for any given hole correlates to the amount of strokes that an expert golfer would be expected to take in order to complete the hole. With this in mind, it becomes clear why scoring a stroke under par, a birdie, is so difficult.
As we’ve already established, scoring a birdie is no easy feat. It requires the culmination of both skill and experience. More often than not, it also requires some luck, too. Here are some useful pointers to help you score a birdie:
- Hitting long, straight and on-target shots will set you up favourably.
- Use the golf clubs that bring you the most control over your shots.
- Finally, use putters that ensure the utmost accuracy on the green.
- Practice, practice, practice. Scoring birdies consistently will only come with time and perseverance. However, the more you practice, the more success you will find on the golf course.