Is A Hole-In-One An Eagle In Golf? Examining Golf Scoring Terminology

In golf, a hole-in-one occurs when a player sinks their tee shot directly into the cup on a par 3 hole. This impressive feat is understandably something that golfers aspire to accomplish. But in terms of golf scoring, does a hole-in-one actually count as an eagle?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: No, a hole-in-one is not considered an eagle in official golf scoring, even though the total number of strokes is the same as an eagle.

An eagle specifically refers to completing a par 4 or par 5 hole two strokes under par, not one stroke on a par 3.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll explain the definitions of common golf scoring terms like eagles, birdies, and holes-in-one. An overview of how scorecards work and how players document various achievements will be provided.

We’ll also look at some notable holes-in-one throughout golf history compared to famous eagle shots.

Defining Eagle, Birdie, and Hole-in-One

Eagle Definition

An eagle in golf refers to a score that is two strokes under par for a given hole. For example, if a golfer completes a par-4 hole in just two strokes, it is considered an eagle. It is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates exceptional skill and precision.

Eagles are relatively rare in golf, making them a cause for celebration among players and spectators alike. While not as elusive as a hole-in-one, eagles are still highly regarded and often lead to a surge of excitement on the golf course.

Birdie Definition

A birdie in golf signifies a score that is one stroke under par for a particular hole. If a golfer completes a par-4 hole in just three shots, it is considered a birdie. Birdies are more common than eagles but are still seen as a great accomplishment.

They require a combination of accuracy, skill, and strategy to achieve. Golfers often celebrate a birdie with a sense of satisfaction and pride, as it demonstrates their ability to outperform the expected score for a given hole.

Hole-in-One Definition

A hole-in-one, often referred to as an “ace,” is the pinnacle of golf achievement. It occurs when a golfer successfully hits the ball directly into the cup from the tee in a single stroke. This remarkable feat usually happens on par-3 holes, which are shorter in distance compared to par-4 or par-5 holes.

A hole-in-one is a rare occurrence, with statistics suggesting that the average golfer has a 1 in 12,500 chance of achieving this feat during a round of golf. It is a moment of pure joy and excitement for the golfer, often celebrated with cheers, high-fives, and sometimes even a round of drinks for fellow players.

Hole-in-ones are considered a highlight of a golfer’s career and can create lasting memories on the course.

For more information on golf scoring terminology, you can visit reputable golf websites such as or

Documenting Achievements on the Scorecard

When it comes to documenting achievements on a golf scorecard, understanding the terminology is crucial. Each shot, each stroke, and each score has its own unique terminology. One common question that arises is whether a hole-in-one is considered an eagle in golf.

Let’s delve into the scoring terminology to get a clear understanding.

Understanding Golf Scoring

In golf, players aim to complete each hole in as few strokes as possible. The score for each hole is determined by the number of strokes it takes for a player to complete it. The terminology used to describe the scores varies depending on the number of strokes.

Par: Par is the standard number of strokes that an accomplished golfer is expected to complete a hole in. It is the benchmark against which a player’s performance is measured. Par can vary from hole to hole, with par 3, par 4, and par 5 being the most common.Birdie: A birdie is a score that is one stroke under par. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and a player completes it in 3 strokes, they have achieved a birdie. It is considered a good accomplishment and is celebrated by golfers.Eagle: An eagle is a score that is two strokes under par. If a player completes a par 5 hole in 3 strokes, it is considered an eagle. It is a remarkable achievement and is often met with excitement and celebration on the golf course.Albatross: An albatross, also known as a double eagle, is a score that is three strokes under par. It is an extremely rare achievement and is considered the holy grail of golf scoring. Achieving an albatross is a cause for celebration and can be a career highlight for many golfers.

Is a Hole-in-One an Eagle?

Now, let’s address the question at hand: Is a hole-in-one considered an eagle in golf? The answer is no. A hole-in-one is a separate achievement that is not categorized as an eagle. A hole-in-one is when a golfer successfully hits the ball into the cup in just one shot from the tee.

It is an extraordinary feat and is celebrated as one of the most impressive accomplishments in golf.

While a hole-in-one is not classified as an eagle, it is still a remarkable achievement that is highly sought after by golfers. The thrill of seeing the ball land directly in the hole is unparalleled, and it is an experience that many golfers strive for throughout their golfing careers.

So, while a hole-in-one may not be an eagle, it is a feat that deserves its own special recognition on the scorecard. Golfers often mark their hole-in-ones with a circle or an asterisk to signify this exceptional accomplishment.

Understanding golf scoring terminology is essential for golfers and enthusiasts alike. It allows for a better appreciation of the game and the achievements of players. So, the next time you hear someone talking about eagles and hole-in-ones, you can confidently join the conversation knowing the difference between the two.

Rarity and Significance of Holes-in-One vs. Eagles

Holes-in-One Stats

A hole-in-one is a remarkable achievement in golf that every golfer dreams of. It occurs when a golfer hits the ball directly into the cup from the tee box in just one stroke. Holes-in-one are considered to be extremely rare and are often celebrated with great enthusiasm on the golf course.

According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one are approximately 12,500 to 1. This statistic gives us a sense of just how uncommon this feat is. In fact, some professional golfers can go their entire careers without ever achieving a hole-in-one.

It requires a combination of skill, precision, and a bit of luck to accomplish this remarkable feat.

When a golfer achieves a hole-in-one, it is often commemorated with special recognition, such as a plaque or a certificate, and the golfer may even receive prizes or accolades from the golf club or tournament organizers.

The rarity of holes-in-one adds to their significance and makes them an exciting moment in a golfer’s career.

Eagle Frequency

An eagle in golf refers to a score that is two strokes under par on a hole. It is an impressive achievement that showcases a golfer’s skill and strategic play. While not as rare as a hole-in-one, eagles are still considered a noteworthy accomplishment.

The frequency of eagles varies depending on the skill level of the golfer and the difficulty of the course. Professional golfers may achieve eagles more frequently due to their exceptional skills and familiarity with the game.

On the other hand, amateur golfers may have fewer opportunities to score eagles due to their lower skill level.

Statistics from the PGA Tour show that the average number of eagles per round for professional golfers is around 0.2. This means that, on average, a professional golfer will achieve an eagle once every five rounds.

However, it’s important to note that these statistics can vary greatly depending on the specific player and course conditions.

While eagles are not as rare as holes-in-one, they are still celebrated and acknowledged as a significant accomplishment in golf. Golfers who achieve eagles often receive recognition from their fellow players and may even be mentioned in golf publications or websites.

Famous Historic Feats

Notable Holes-in-One

Throughout the history of golf, there have been numerous notable holes-in-one that have left spectators and players alike in awe. One such remarkable feat occurred in 1971, when the legendary Jack Nicklaus achieved a hole-in-one during the 16th hole of the Masters Tournament.

This remarkable shot propelled him to victory and solidified his status as one of the greatest golfers of all time. Another notable hole-in-one was made by Tiger Woods during the 1997 Phoenix Open. The crowd erupted in jubilation as his ball found the bottom of the cup from 170 yards away.

These memorable moments remind us of the rare and spectacular nature of achieving a hole-in-one, a feat that many golfers strive for throughout their careers.

Legendary Eagles

In golf, an eagle is a score that is two strokes under par on a hole. While holes-in-one receive a great deal of attention, eagles are also highly sought after by golfers. Over the years, there have been several legendary eagles that have become etched in golf history.

One such example is the famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” by Gene Sarazen during the 1935 Masters Tournament. Sarazen’s incredible double eagle on the 15th hole helped him secure a tie for first place and ultimately win the tournament in a playoff.

Another memorable eagle was achieved by Phil Mickelson during the 2010 Masters Tournament. Mickelson’s remarkable shot from the pine straw on the 13th hole showcased his skill and creativity, earning him a well-deserved place in golf lore.

These notable holes-in-one and legendary eagles serve as reminders of the incredible talent and precision required to achieve such feats in golf. They also add to the excitement and allure of the sport, captivating spectators and inspiring golfers around the world to aim for greatness on the green.

Impacts on Scoring Average and Handicap

Holes-in-One Score Calculations

Scoring a hole-in-one in golf is a rare and exhilarating achievement for any golfer. But what impact does it have on a golfer’s scoring average and handicap? Let’s delve into the calculations.

When a golfer scores a hole-in-one, it means they have hit the ball directly into the hole from the tee box. According to the official rules of golf, a hole-in-one is scored as a 1 on the scorecard for that particular hole.

This exceptional feat significantly lowers the golfer’s scoring average as it is the best possible score on a hole.

For example, if a golfer scores a hole-in-one on a par 3 hole, their score for that hole would be 1. If they score par on all other holes, their total score for the round would be 72 (assuming it is a par 72 course). However, with a hole-in-one, their scoring average for that round would be 71.

This can have a positive impact on their overall scoring average, which is calculated by averaging the scores of multiple rounds.

Additionally, a hole-in-one can also have a positive impact on a golfer’s handicap. The handicap system in golf is designed to level the playing field and allow golfers of different skill levels to compete against each other. The lower a golfer’s handicap, the better they are considered to be.

Scoring a hole-in-one can lead to a reduction in a golfer’s handicap, reflecting their exceptional skill and ability to score lower than expected.

Eagle Score Calculations

Another scoring term commonly used in golf is an eagle. An eagle is achieved when a golfer completes a hole in two strokes under par. For example, if a hole is a par 4 and a golfer scores a 2, they have made an eagle.

Scoring an eagle can have a significant impact on a golfer’s scoring average and handicap. By scoring two strokes under par on a hole, the golfer is lowering their average score and demonstrating a higher level of skill. This can positively affect their overall scoring average and handicap.

Just like a hole-in-one, scoring an eagle can be a rare and exciting accomplishment for golfers. It showcases their ability to make exceptional shots and navigate the course with precision. Golfers often strive to achieve eagles as they can significantly improve their scores and contribute to their overall success on the course.

Understanding the impacts of hole-in-ones and eagle scores on scoring average and handicap can provide golfers with motivation and a sense of achievement. These exceptional moments in golf can have a lasting impact on a golfer’s reputation and serve as memorable highlights in their golfing journey.


While a hole-in-one and an eagle may share the same final score on a given hole, they are separate accomplishments in golf terminology and scoring. Understanding the specific definitions helps players properly document these achievements.

Both are certainly rare milestones worthy of celebration that can raise a golfer’s confidence and lower their handicap average when they happen.

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