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The infamous eagle is very elusive in disc golf. It is not only a challenging feat reserved for a few lucky or expert players, but also difficult to achieve consistently.
However, many disc golfers hope to one day add the elusive eagle to their scorecards. If you have ever thrown an eagle, then you have a valid reason to pat yourself on the back.
In this article, we will answer the question “what is an eagle in disc golf”, look at how an eagle can help you, how to achieve it and provide a few tips to improve your game so you can hopefully throw an eagle one day.
What is an eagle in disc golf?
The word eagle is a basic scoring term in disc golf.
When a disc golfer scores an eagle, it means that they have thrown two strokes under par on an individual hole.
Remember, each hole on a disc golf course is assigned a par rating, i.e. the expected number of throws, and a player has to finish the hole in two strokes shy of the par rating to achieve an eagle.
Scoring an Eagle in disc golf
Similar to ball golf, the term par in disc golf refers to the expected number of throws/strokes for a single hole, e.g. a par-4 hole requires four strokes to complete it.
If you want to score a birdie on a par-4 hole, then you have to complete it in three throws only since the term birdie refers to finishing a hole with one stroke under par.
Scoring an eagle on a par-4 hole, however, would require you to finish the hole in two throws only or two strokes under par.
For a better understanding of how you can score an eagle, here are a few possible scores you would need to achieve an eagle in different holes:
- Scoring after one throw on a par-3 hole (this can also be called a hole-in-one or an ace)
- Scoring after two throws on a par-4 hole
- Scoring after three throws on a par-5 hole
How eagles can boost your game
Scoring a few eagles in several holes can help you establish a comfortable lead over your competitors in the consecutive holes.
Generally, the number of eagles or better scores made are what distinguish elite disc golfers from average disc golfers.
Here are several ways eagles can boost your game.
Eagles can make you win big. Many fantastic disc golfers manage to score birdies or finish most holes at par. Elite disc golfers, however, manage to score eagles every once in a while. If you can sprinkle in a few eagles on your scorecard, then you can successfully stretch your game to win big, particularly in tournaments and competitive rounds where it matters most.
- Eagles are motivating. If you have played disc golf before, then perhaps you know how difficult it can be to score an eagle. That said if you happen to score an eagle (even through sheer luck) you may suddenly feel motivated to play your best in hopes of replicating that excellent performance.
- Eagles can help you make a comeback. Following a couple of unimpressive throws, you may find yourself several strokes behind the round leader. However, scoring several eagles in the next round can turn your game around and put you on a path towards the lead. If you stay consistent and the leader slips up to your advantage, you can take the lead eventually.
- Tips to improve your game. While the following tips do not guarantee that you will begin to score eagles effortlessly, you can score your first few eagles by combining these tips and a solid practice routine.
- Increase your distance. Statistics from the PDGA suggest that most novice players have an average drive distance of 175 feet to 250 feet. While this is not such a bad range for a new player, consistently throwing over 250 feet can make a significant difference. Throwing distance is crucial in disc golf because the farther your average throw is, the better your chances of getting to the basket with the least throws possible for those special birdies or eagle. Eagle chances particularly, will require extraordinary drives. Therefore, practice different throwing styles and perform extensive research on the best discs for monster drives.
- Improve your accuracy. Disc golf is very diverse and requires different techniques for different situations. While monster drives have their place in disc golf, working on distance alone can only get you so far. Distance and accuracy go hand in hand since neither matters much on its own. Accuracy will not matter much if you cannot get your disc near the basket with as few throws as possible. Likewise, distance will not matter much if you cannot get the disc into the basket even after an impressive drive. Therefore, to shift the odds of scoring an eagle in your favor, you will have to work on both distance and accuracy.
- Use the appropriate discs. While this tip seems like a no-brainer, it may not be too apparent for new players. Study the different disc types and learn each of their purposes. Also, considering the discs available for different skill levels, i.e. beginner, amateur, intermediate, advanced and pro, select the discs that match your current skill level. Using the right discs for your skill level at the right situation can help shave a few strokes off your current performance.
- Improve your putting. Putting is arguably the most technical aspect of disc golf. Hence, it makes sense that many players struggle with the short game. Since your performance in the short game can make or break your score, improving your putting technique can help you consistently score fewer strokes.
- Watch professional disc golfers. If you are yet to attend a professional tournament, now might be the right time to do so. Besides the opportunity to meet your favorite professional players, you can learn a lot by simply watching the pros play, not to mention the electric atmosphere of a live tournament. Also, watch game highlights and tutorials online if attending a live tournament is not possible.