What is a Birdie in Golf?

Birdies are a fundamental part of golf lingo, generating excitement on the course. But what exactly is a birdie, and how did this term come about? Additionally, what's the difference between net and gross birdies? Here's all you need to know!



What is a Birdie in golf?

In golf, a birdie is a remarkable achievement where a player scores one stroke less than the declared par of the hole. In simpler terms, if you're playing a par-4 hole and complete it with just three strokes, congratulations, you've landed yourself a birdie!


The Origin of the Term 'Birdie' 


 The origin of the term "birdie" can be traced back to American slang. The word "bird" was used to describe anything excellent, and this notion inspired the golfing term we know today. The Atlantic City Country Club claims to be the birthplace of the term. In 1903, during a game between Ab Smith, William P Smith, and George A Crump, Ab Smith's second shot nearly holed in on the par-four second hole.

In awe, Smith remarked, "That was a bird of a shot," and playfully suggested that he should receive double money if he won with one under par. His companions agreed, and when he successfully holed his putt, they started referring to such a score as a "birdie." A plaque commemorating this event still graces the historic course.



Net Birdie vs. Gross Birdie

Now that we've explored what a birdie is, let's understand the distinction between net and gross birdies, which account for players' handicaps.

Net Birdie:

A net birdie is achieved when a player shoots one stroke under the par of a hole, taking into account the aid of their handicap. Handicaps are assigned to players based on their skill level, and they provide an equalising factor in competitions.

Here's an example: If you have a handicap of 24 and are playing a par-4 hole with a stroke index of 6, you receive 2 handicap strokes deducted from your total score. So, if you complete the hole in 5 shots, your net score becomes 3 (5 - 2 = 3). This 3 is one under the par of the hole, making it a net birdie.

Gross Birdie:

On the other hand, a gross birdie is achieved without considering handicap strokes. It represents the player's raw score before any handicap adjustments are applied.

For instance, if you're playing a par-5 hole and complete it in 4 shots, congratulations, you've scored a gross birdie.



See other popular articles on golf terminology

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What is an albatross in golf

What is a bogey in golf

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