The eagle is infamous. A feat that is not only challenging, but also hard to consistently achieve. But many disc golfers, just like you, add eagles to their scorecard every day. If you’re able to throw an eagle, you should be proud of yourself. Because they are hard to get.
Today we’re going to be taking a look at what an eagle is, how it can help you on the course, how to get it, and how you can improve your game to throw more eagles on the course.
So what is an Eagle in disc golf?
An “Eagle” is one of the most basic scoring terms used by disc golfers, and it means a score of 2-under par on any individual disc golf hole. Every hole on the course is given a par rating, or an expected number of strokes, and a player must complete the hole in 2 less strokes than par (or 2 under par).
Check out Eagle McMahon’s awesome Eagle on hole 2 of the Idlewild Disc Golf Course in the video below. ⬇️
How to score an eagle
Now If you can remember what a par is, it is an expected number of strokes on a hole (let’s say a par 4 or four strokes/throws to complete the hole). If you wanted to birdie that hole, you would need to complete the hole in 3 strokes. Completing a hole with a birdie is just finishing the hole with 1 less throw than par. But if you wanted to score an eagle, you would need to complete the hole in just 2 strokes or 2 less throws than par.
So here’s a quick breakdown of possible scores you can get and what score you need to get an eagle on that hole:
• Score a 1 on a par-3 hole. (this is also called an ace or a hole-in-one)
• Score a 2 on a par-4 hole.
• Score a 3 on a par-5 hole.
• Score a 4 on a par-6 hole (you won’t find many of these).
How eagles can help you on the course
If you’re able to score an eagle or two in your round, this can help you immensely during your rounds. The scores you can achieve with a few eagles can make you an elite disc golfer. Here are 3 ways that eagles can help you on the course.
1. They can help you win big: a lot of really fantastic disc golfers grab birdies on most holes. But the Elite disc golfers sprinkle in a couple of eagles every now and then. And those who can stay consistent can take their scores and really stretch them to win big during competitive rounds and tournaments.
2. They can help you come back from behind: if you’re down a few strokes to the round leader, a couple of eagles in a round can start bringing you back toward the lead. If you keep everything consistent, and the leader makes a mistake, you will have the lead in no time.
3. They can motivate you: like we’ve said, eagles are really hard to get. So whenever you get one, it’s kind of like some extra motivation telling yourself that you are good enough to get eagles, and you know you can do better.
The eagle’s history
Just like the word birdie, the eagle has a history rooted in ball golf’s origins. The eagle has a relatively long history, with the word being made up in 1903. As the eagle is just an extension (in scoring) of the word birdie, which means 1 under par, it was made up by the same person.
Early one New Jersey day in 1903, a man named Abner Smith was playing with some friends, hit a great shot, and was quoted saying, “That was a bird of a shot…I suggest that when one of us plays a hole in one under par he receives double compensation.” First, he made up the birdie. He then referred to a score of 2 strokes less than par as an “eagle.” This caught on as well in America, especially with the national bird being the eagle.
Although it isn’t known when the term was converted over into disc golf play, it’s safe to assume that it started in 1926 when some boys from Canada started playing “Tin Lid Golf.” To this day, though, the eagle remains a staple part of the game and can help you crush your opponents on the course.
5 tips to improve on the course and get more eagles in your round
1. Distance – distance is important because the farther you can throw the disc, the better the chance for you to get closer to the basket for those eagle or birdie putts. Now obviously, for eagle chances, you’re going to need monster drives. The more distance you can get, the better chance you have to grab the infamous eagle. For a great post to help you improve your distance, check out, “The 27 Best Disc Golf Distance Tips for Beginners.”
2. Accuracy – I’ll keep this one short and sweet. You need to work on your distance and accuracy if you want to get more eagles on the course. Distance doesn’t matter if you can’t even get close to the basket. So work on it!
3. Use the right discs – this tip is simple. So make sure you use discs that apply to the skill level you currently possess. There are discs made for beginners, amateurs, intermediate players, advanced players, and pro players. Make sure you use those discs that are closest to your skill level. Just another thing to help you take strokes off of each hole.
4. 10X your putting – one part of the game that I really struggle with is the short game. My putting is definitely not up to where I want it to be. But I learned early that if you’re struggling to get better, a great way to take stroke off of your game is to get way better at putting. Your short game can really crush your score, so today I want you to think about 10Xing your putting game.
The 10X rule says that you should set goals that are 10 times greater than how good you believe you can be and take actions that are 10 times greater than what you believe you need to achieve those goals. I know that sounds kind of weird but seriously, if you want to get better at putting why not get ten times better at putting? Here’s how you do that:
• Read our post, “The 12 Best Disc Golf Putting Tips for Beginners.” Yeah, it says for beginners but it has excellent tips to get you started.
• Buy a disc golf basket. Check out our post on “11 Reasons Why You Need a Disc Golf Basket.”
• Have a regular practice routine and practice every day.
• Make up putting games and drills. This is the best way to competitively get better at putting.
If you do all of those things, your putting will improve dramatically and you will easily improve your score and start getting more eagles.
5. Read our post, “101 Disc Golf Tips to Take Your Game to the Next Level.” – this blog post is absolutely epic and is essentially the basis for our book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” In this post, we highlight 101 tips that can take you from beginner to intermediate to advanced player in a very short time frame. This post is fine tuned for you, so be sure to head over to it and take it all in. And if you do that, you will surely be able to improve your ability to possibly get a few eagles during your round.
Extra tip: Go to a professional disc golf tournament – If you’ve never been to a professional or semi-professional disc golf tournament, now is the time to go and check one out. Aside from the fact that you can meet some of the best professional players, the atmosphere at a live tournament is different. It’s just very oddly and undeniably electric. The players are always pumped up, which makes watching each hole more and more exciting. This all can spark a motivation to do better on the course and become an overall better disc golfer. And that can equal more eagles.
A final thought
Eagles, like birdies, are hard to get in disc golf. But if you’re able to score an eagle or two in your round, plus consistently grab a few birdies, you will dominate your competition on the course. You want the lowest score, and eagles will get you there. So do your best to learn the game as well as you can, practice up, and you will be a force to be reckoned with out on the course!
If you’ve gotten this far, you must really want to learn more about disc golf! If you’re interested in more frequently asked questions, you can check out the resources below. Or you can hit up our FAQ page here.
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You can also grab a copy of our book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks. This will help you immediately start improving on the course!