How Many Birdies Do Golfers Make Per Round?

The fascinating data showing how many birdies golfers average each round...

Close up of a ball being putted into a hole
(Image credit: Future)

Every golfer has the ability to make a birdie, whether that be from a stunning iron shot, a holed chip or a long putt. But how many do golfers make in each round?

Thanks to data from Arccos Golf we can see these fascinating numbers, with data gleaned from more than 540 million shots from 11.5 million rounds worldwide.

Many golfers may overestimate how many birdies they make on average, with single figure handicappers perhaps estimating they make two per round and 18-handicappers thinking they might average one per round, but how accurate are those assumptions?

Golfers who average two birdies per round are in fact 1-handicappers, with 7-index players averaging one birdie per round. That means everyone with a handicap of 8-or-lower averages fewer than one birdie per round.

Golfer putts

1-handicappers average two birdies per round, with 7-index players making one birdie per round on average.

(Image credit: Future)

The elite +4 handicappers average a total of 3.4 birdies per round, with that number decreasing by 0.3 all the way until scratch - a huge gap that illustrates how the better golfer makes more birdies in their rounds.

As you go down the handicaps, the birdie average decreases in much smaller incriments, meaning that scores are made by way of avoiding double bogeys and blobs as opposed to simply making more birdies.

For example, 11-handicappers make just 0.1 more birdies on average than 15-handicappers, but 11-handicaps have just 3.2 doubles or worse compared to 4.5 for the 15-index players.

While there's a 0.3 gap in birdies made between +4 and +3 handicappers, there's the same 0.3 gap between 10-handicappers and golfers with a 19-index. The difference in double bogeys or worse made between +3 and +4 players is just 0.1 (0.2 vs 0.3), while the difference in doubles or worse between 10s and 19s is a whopping 3.2 (2.9 vs 6.1).

If you're a scratch-or-better player, the data shows you likely need to make more birdies to shoot lower scores, whereas if you're a single figure or mid-handicap player and want to shoot lower scores, work on avoiding doubles or worse.

What about tour pros? In the 2022 PGA Tour season, Cam Smith led the birdie average with 4.6 per round - on some of the world's toughest courses - with the usual leading tour number somewhere between 4-5 birdies per round. The tour average in 2022 was 3.64.

Cameron Smith takes a shot at LIV Golf's 2022 Team Championship in Florida

Cameron Smith averaged 4.63 birdies per round in the 2022 PGA Tour season

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How many birdies do golfers make per round?

  • +4: 3.4
  • +3: 3.1
  • +2: 2.8
  • +1: 2.5
  • 0: 2.2
  • 1: 2.0
  • 2: 1.8
  • 3: 1.6
  • 4: 1.4
  • 5: 1.2
  • 6: 1.1
  • 7: 1.0
  • 8: 0.9
  • 9: 0.8
  • 10: 0.7
  • 11: 0.6
  • 12: 0.6
  • 13: 0.5
  • 14: 0.5
  • 15: 0.5
  • 16: 0.4
  • 17: 0.4
  • 18: 0.4
  • 19: 0.4
  • 20: 0.3

For more fascinating statsistical looks at how golfers score, check out our articles on scratch handicap stats, scratch vs 18-handicappers and the stats on how to break 80.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5