An albatross, or double eagle, is a rare score in golf consisting of three strokes under par on the same hole.
It’s incredibly rare since you’d need to hit a hole-in-one on a Par 4, or your second shot in on a Par 5.
How rare is an Albatross in golf?
An albatross is one of the rarest scores in all of golf; only a condor is rarer.
Considering the odds of an amateur golfer scoring a hole-in-one, or an ace, is 12,500 to 1, the odds of an amateur scoring an albatross is closer to 6,000,000 to 1.
To put it in perspective, golfers are ten times more likely to get struck by lightning (1 in 555,000) than they are to score an albatross.
Since you’d need to reach a Par 5 in two shots, or a Par 4 in one shot, something about 90% golfers aren’t able to do, most golfers will never have an opportunity to score an albatross.
Is there a difference between an Albatross and a Double Eagle?
An albatross and a double eagle are the same score: three strokes under par on any particular hole.
The only difference is double eagle is the term used in America while an albatross is used more commonly around the world.
Are there any notable Albatross’s?
Most known Albatross
The most famous albatross was Gene Sarazen’s “shot heard around the world,” which he achieved at Augusta National’s 485-yard Par 5 15th in the final round of the Masters in 1935.
Sarazen was three off the lead when his 4-wood, from 235 yards, made up his entire deficit in one stroke and allowed him to tie Craig Wood after regulation play. The two would compete in a 36-hole playoff the next day, which Sarazen won by five shots.
It turned out that Sarazen’s caddie, nicknamed “Stovepipe” because of his beanie, didn’t want him to attempt the carry over the pond. His lie was considered to have been, “not too good”. “He wanted me to play it safe,” said Sarazen.
Despite being a seven-time major champion, it was Sarazen’s only Masters win and his final major title. It was also his first appearance in the Masters, as he had been unable to participate in 1934 due to an obligation to play in South Africa.
Youngest player to score an Albatross
Since you need to hit the ball extremely far to have a chance at an albatross, young golfers don’t have the best odds of scoring an albatross.
The youngest we’ve heard of is 16 year old Tadd Fujikawa from Hawaii, who sank his second on a long 628 yard par 5 at Crans-sur-Sierre golf course in Switzerland during the 2007 Omega European Masters.
Is an Albatross the best score you can achieve in golf?
While an albatross is impressive, it isn’t the best score you can achieve in golf.
A condor is a score of 4 under par on a hole and there are only two opportunities to do so; a hole in one on a Par 5, or a two on a Par 6.
To this date, there are only 6 known instances of a condor in golf history:
- Larry Bruce (1962): 480-yard Hole 5 at Hope Country Club in Hope, Arkansas.
- Dick Hogan (1973): 456-yard Hole 8 at Piedmont Crescent Golf Course in Burlington, North Carolina.
- Shaun Lynch (1995): 496-yard Hole 17 at Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England.
- Mike Crean (2002): 517-yard Hole 9 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, Colorado.
- Jack Bartlett (2007): 513-yard Hole 17 at Royal Wentworth Falls Country Club in New South Wales, Australia.
- Kevin Pon (2020): 667-yard Hole 18 at Lake Chabot Golf Course in Oakland, California.