What is an Albatross in golf (Detailed Explanation)

If you’re new at golf, getting confused by hearing birds’ names on the course is pretty common. Among such names come Albatross. You might be wondering, “What is an albatross in golf? Is it a bird? Is it a golf shot? Or is it something else entirely?” Well, worry not, because I’m here to clear this out for you.

In golf, an albatross, also known as the double eagle, is a rare and remarkable feat that occurs when a golfer scores three strokes under par on a single hole. It means three times better than usual. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment that showcases a player’s exceptional skill, strategy, and luck.

What is an Albatross in golf (Detailed Explanation)

While the albatross is an amazing achievement, it’s important to remember that it’s an extremely rare occurrence in the world of golf. Not many people have managed to score it. However, with consistent practice and good luck, you may have a chance at it.

Now that you have understood what the albatross is, let’s discuss its history, origin, and some notable examples in later sections. Hang on to get some amazing tips on understanding and scoring it.

What is an Albatross in Golf?

To fully understand the significance of an albatross, let’s break it down. Each hole on a golf course is assigned a specific par value, which represents the number of strokes a skilled golfer is expected to complete the hole in. Most commonly, par values range from 3 to 5, with par 3 being the shortest and par 5 the longest. Par 6 is a rare occurrence and so is Par 7.

Let’s start with Par 3.

Par-3 holes are designed to be shorter and less challenging, so scoring an albatross is not possible on them. The albatross achievement is reserved for longer holes.

The first way to score it is to make a hole-in-one on a par-4 hole. Though rare, it is not impossible. You can also score an albatross by completing a par-5 hole in two strokes under par. And at last, with that rare par-6 and par-7 holes, you will need to score three and four strokes respectively to make an albatross.

It’s important to note that an albatross isn’t something you see every day on the golf course. In fact, it’s an incredibly rare occurrence, a unicorn in the world of golf. Hence, it is of utmost value.

🚩 Related: The Double Eagle In Golf

Admiring the Magnificent Albatrosses of the Past

When talking about the albatross, it’s important to admire the notable players who have successfully achieved this remarkable feat.

First up, we have Gene Sarazen, who holds the title of being the first pro golfer to hit an albatross in a major event. It happened during the 1935 Masters on the 15th hole.

golf shot

Another golfer who scored an amazing albatross is Nicholas Thompson. He achieved an albatross not once, but twice during the 2009 Fry.com Open.

At The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in 2007, both Hunter Mahan and Peter Lonard made albatrosses. Mahan’s remarkable shot took place on the 11th hole during round 2, while Lonard accomplished his on the 2nd hole the following day.

Then come legends like Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, and Padraig Harrington have also added their names to the list of albatross achievers.

One of the most recent albatrosses in major championship history was made by Louis Oosthuizen at the Masters in 2012.

Can you score an albatross? If yes then How?

If you wish to be among these legends one day, consider the possibility of scoring an albatross and how you can work towards achieving it.

Imagine you’re playing a round of golf, and you come across a par-5 hole. To score an albatross on this hole, you need to complete it in just two strokes. That’s hard for obvious but at least something very good to push ourselves for the perfection in the game. Let’s check a few quick tips.

  • Consider your driving distance. The farther you can hit the ball, the closer you’ll be to reaching the green in just two strokes.
  • When you’re in position to reach the green in two shots on a par-5, you’ll need to execute two outstanding shots—one to get as close to the green as possible, and the other to set up a potential albatross.
  • Acquire precise iron play and a keen understanding of your own abilities.
  • Familiarize yourself with the layout of the course and strategize your shots accordingly.

Albatrosses are incredibly rare occurrences and there is no accurate record of how often they happen. Estimates suggest that the odds of shooting an albatross are around 6 million to 1, although some experts believe the chances may be even lower.

Decoding Albatross Scoring – How you can accurately identify?

The albatross sits between two other notable golfing achievements: the birdie and the eagle. Each of these terms represents a level of expertise.

A birdie is when a golfer completes a hole in one stroke under par. For example, if a hole is designated as a par-4, scoring a 3 would be considered a birdie.

Then we have the eagle. An eagle is achieved when a golfer finishes a hole in two strokes under par. So, if we go back to our par-4 example, scoring a 2 on that hole would result in an eagle.

Then comes the score which is even better than the albatross, i.e. the condor. It is achieved by finishing a hole in four strokes under par and can be hit on par 5 or over holes.

It’s harder than you think

golf ball

In conclusion, the albatross stands as the rarest yet incredible achievement in the world of golf. It’s a moment that is so obscure that even legendary players like Tiger Woods have never experienced it in their careers. The odds of achieving an albatross are extremely low, like spotting a unicorn on the course.

The difficulty of scoring an albatross reminds you of the extraordinary nature of the game of golf and motivates you to keep trying harder and harder to be the best version of yourself. In the end, it’s about the joy of the game, the friendship among players, and the personal growth that comes with the pursuit of excellence. So best of luck and May the odds be in your favor!


Q1) Is albatross better than hole-in-one?

A) The comparison between an albatross and a hole-in-one is subjective, as both are not equal in scoring. An albatross means scoring three strokes under par on a single hole while a hole-in-one is hitting the ball directly into the hole from the tee. Both moments are highly celebrated by golfers, each carrying its own level of rarity and prestige.

Q2) What is a condor and albatross in golf?

A) In golf, a condor and an albatross are extremely rare achievements. A condor is the term used when a golfer scores four strokes under par on a single hole, while an albatross is achieved by scoring three strokes under par. Condors are considered even rarer than albatrosses, with very few instances of this extraordinary score in the history of golf.

Q3) Has Tiger Woods ever had an albatross?

A) Although throughout his golf career, Tiger Woods has accomplished numerous incredible feats on the course, an albatross is not among them.

Q4) How do you get an albatross in golf?

A) To achieve an albatross in golf, you must score three strokes under par on a single hole. You can do this by completing a par-5 hole in just two strokes or scoring a hole-in-one on a par-4 hole. It requires a combination of skill, strategy, and luck on the course.

Q5) What is a double eagle in golf?

A) Double eagle is a term used to describe scoring three strokes under par on a single hole. It is also commonly referred to as an albatross.