What is a Double Eagle in Golf (term explained)

In my early days as a golfer, I was easily confused by the “bird” terms used in the sport.

When I started playing, I learned that a “birdie” meant scoring one stroke under par on a hole. It made sense to me because birdies are seen as something positive. Then I came across the term “eagle,” which meant scoring two strokes under par. I thought I was getting the hang of it. But one day, I heard someone mention a “double eagle” – and I was like, Oops :\

Since an eagle was two under par, I assumed a double eagle would be four under par. It seemed simple mathematics. However, my logic went down the drain when a friend explained that a four-under-par score on a single hole wasn’t called a double eagle—it was actually called a “condor.”

It was very confusing at that time, however, later on, when I came to know of the controversial history behind the term “What is a Double Eagle in Golf”, it started settling in.

What is a Double Eagle in Golf (term explained)

So, if you’ve ever found yourself puzzled by the complexities of golf terminologies, especially the mysterious double eagle, don’t worry—you’re not alone.

In this guide, I will explain the term “double eagle” to you. So stick around to get the answers of what it exactly means, why is it called that, why is it such a rare achievement, and how you can achieve it.

What is a Double Eagle in Golf?

So, what exactly is a double eagle in golf?

In most parts of the world, scoring three-under par on a single hole is known as an albatross. However, when you come to America, this rare achievement is called a “double eagle.” And that’s where things start to get confusing.

Critics argue that the name “double eagle” doesn’t make much sense. After all, two eagles side by side are simply two eagles, not a double eagle. Instead, they propose that the correct term for this extraordinary feat should be “albatross,” aligning with the international golfing community.

But despite the controversy and logical arguments, “double eagle” remains a prominent term within American golfing circles.

No matter what you call it, it is important to note that scoring a double eagle is a rare occurrence. The difficulty level of achieving it is quite high, making it a highly sought-after achievement.

One of the most memorable Double Eagles in golf history was Gene Sarazen’s incredible shot at Augusta National in 1935. He nailed a 4-wood from a whopping 235 yards away to score a Double Eagle on the 15th hole during the Masters Tournament. This legendary shot is often referred to as “the shot heard ’round the world.”

Why do they call it a double eagle?

After naming Birdie and Eagle, when golfers needed a new avian term for the rarely achieved score of 3-under par, they decided to name it an “Albatross” after the majestic seabird.

It all began when the South African golfer E. E. Wooler hit a hole-in-one on the par 4, 18th hole at Durban Country Club in 1931. This achievement marked the first instance of an albatross in golf and was recorded in the press.

However, when Gene Sarazen in 1935 made the ‘shot heard round the world’ some American newspaper articles referred to it as a “double eagle,” deviating from the established use of “albatross.” This shift in terminology caught on, and the term “Double Eagle” became the prevalent expression used by the American golfing community.

Decoding Double Eagle Scoring – How you can accurately identify?

When it comes to scoring a Double Eagle in golf, there are specific combinations of strokes that can lead to it. Let’s break it down for you.

  • Scoring a 1 on a par-4 hole: This means hitting the ball into the hole in just one stroke on a hole that is designated as a par-4. It is often celebrated as a hole-in-one rather than as a Double Eagle.
  • Scoring a 2 on a par-5 hole: This is another way to achieve a Double Eagle. It involves completing a par-5 hole with just two strokes. This is the most common scenario for a Double Eagle.
  • Scoring a 3 on a par-6 hole: Although par-6 holes are rare, they do exist on some golf courses. Achieving a score of 3-under par on a par-6 hole would also be considered a Double Eagle.

It’s worth mentioning that since par-3 holes already have a par value of 3, scoring 3-under par on a par-3 would mean a score of zero, which is not possible.

Double Eagle vs Albatross: is there any difference between these two terms?

When it comes to scoring, a Double Eagle and an Albatross both refer to achieving a score of three strokes under par on a single hole. So, in terms of numerical value, they are exactly the same.

double eagle

The difference lies in the regional usage and preference of the terms. In the United States, the term “Double Eagle” is more commonly used. So, if you find yourself on an American golf course or engaging in golf conversations with American players, you’re more likely to hear the term “Double Eagle” being used.

On the other hand, in many other parts of the world, particularly in Europe, Asia, and other continents, the preferred term for a score of three strokes under par is “Albatross.” No matter where you are and what you call it, the odds of scoring it are still 6,000,000 to 1.

What is better than a double eagle in golf

While a Double Eagle in golf is quite an impressive accomplishment, it is extremely rare and difficult to achieve. Scoring three strokes under par on a single hole requires exceptional skill, precision, and a touch of luck.

Due to its rarity, many golfers set their sights on more attainable goals such as an Eagle or a Birdie, which are more feasible. It’s important to practice persistently, focus on improving your skills, and set realistic expectations while enjoying the game.

Remember, golf is a journey, and every step forward is worth celebrating.

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Q1) What is the difference between an eagle and a double eagle?

A) The difference between an eagle and a double eagle lies in the number of strokes under par they represent on a single hole in golf. An eagle is achieved when a golfer completes a hole two strokes under par. On the other hand, a double eagle occurs when a golfer finishes a hole three strokes under par. It’s a rarer and more remarkable accomplishment.

Q2) Has anyone got a double eagle golf?

A) Although it is a rare occurrence, it has been accomplished by skilled players in various professional tournaments. Notable examples include Gene Sarazen’s famous double eagle on the 15th hole during the final round of the 1935 Masters Tournament. There have been numerous more documented instances of double eagles throughout the history of golf.

Q3) Who is the top 2 strongest eagle?

A) It is difficult to determine the top two golfers with the strongest eagle records, as rankings can vary based on different criteria and time periods. However, golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are renowned for their impressive number of eagles throughout their careers.