The goal of golf is to sink the ball into the hole within as few strokes as possible. But what if you could score a two on a par five hole? Believe it or not, this is possible. The golf community calls this “scoring an albatross.” 

If you’re new to golf, you may haven’t heard of the term “albatross,” or you’ve heard about it yet don’t know what it means. In either case, this post contains everything you need to know about this amazing feat in golf. 

So, read on and learn more about this elusive –– and extremely impressive –– golf shot!

What Is an Albatross in Golf?

An albatross in golf is a rare and impressive sight where a golfer scores three strokes under par on a single hole. In other words, if you want to achieve an albatross, you need to make a tee shot onto the green, followed by two putts.

Interestingly enough, the sport of cricket first used the term “albatross.” In cricket, an “albatross” refers to a rare event where a batsman scores three runs off of one delivery. In both sports, players who score an albatross are either highly skilled or lucky. 

Nevertheless, an albatross is always a cause for celebration.

What Is Better Than an Albatross?

An albatross is a great accomplishment, but the condor is an even more impressive shot in golf. A condor occurs when a golfer scores four strokes under par on a single hole. The condor is such a rare occurrence in golf that there have only been six condors in professional golf history.

Odds of Scoring Albatross in Golf

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is an albatross in golf?” it’s time to look at the odds of achieving this rare shot. 

The odds of an amateur golfer making an albatross are about six million to 1. To compare, a hole in one (sinking the golf ball into the cup in just one stroke) is always a sight to behold in the golf course, as it requires great skills and course familiarity. However, you have 1 in 12,500 odds of scoring a hole in one, making it relatively easier than an albatross.

The type of course, weather condition, and your skill level are crucial factors that can affect your chance of scoring an albatross. 

Familiarity With the Golf Course

Being familiar with a golf course greatly influences how likely you are to sink an albatross. This is because you know where the obstacles are, the right type of clubs to use, and even develop muscle memory. 

Weather Conditions

You’ll find it hard to swing the ball over long distances if it’s windy. However, if the conditions are just right, you have more chances of sinking an albatross.

Skill Level

Amateurs will find it more challenging to achieve this shot because they don’t hit the ball like professionals. Consistent practice will bring you closer to achieving an albatross.

Professional Golfers Who Scored an Albatross in a Major Tournament

Even though the odds of scoring an albatross are slim, there are professional golfers who’ve achieved this difficult shot in major tournaments (The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and The PGA Championship). Here are some of the most notable albatrosses in both classic and modern major events in golf. 

The Masters

The Masters has seen four albatrosses, all scored in the last forty years. The first professional golfer who scored an albatross was Gene Sarazen (1935), followed by:

  • Bruce Devlin (1967)
  • Jeff Maggert (1994)
  • Louis Oosthuizen (2012)

U.S. Open

U.S. Open has seen three golfers make an albatross:

  • Chen Tze-Chung (1985)
  • Shaun Micheel (2010)
  • Nick Watney (2012)

British Open

The British Open is the oldest of the four major golf tournaments and has seen the most albatrosses scored. Some of the more notable albatrosses in the British Open include:

  • Young Tom Morris (1870)
  • Johnny Miller (1972)
  • Bill Rogers (1983)
  • Manny Zerman (2000)
  • Jeff Maggert and Greg Owen (2001)
  • Gary Evans (2004)
  • Paul Lawrie (2009)

The PGA Championship

The PGA Tour and Championship is no stranger to albatrosses, with three having occurred since its conception –– Darrell Kestner (1993), Per-Ulrick Johansson (1995), and Joey Sindelar (2006).

Practice Tips To Improve Your Chances of Scoring an Albatross

As mentioned above, there are factors that can make or break your chances of scoring an albatross. With these practice tips and the right favorable conditions, you’ll significantly increase the odds of scoring an albatross: 

  • Practice regularly: This will help you develop the skill and accuracy needed to hit the ball over long distances.
  • Play on short golf courses: Short golf courses give you more birdie opportunities, which increases your chances of scoring an albatross.
  • Play on challenging golf courses: A long golf course is more challenging because you must hit the ball further to make an eagle or albatross.
  • Use the right club for the shot: You need to use the right club for the shot to score an albatross. Experiment with different clubs until you find one that gives you the best chance of making this difficult shot.
  • Aim for the green: Always aim for the green and avoid hazards and other obstacles. 
  • Practice visualization: Before you take your shot, close your eyes and visualize yourself making an albatross. Doing so will help increase your confidence and improve your chances of scoring this difficult shot.

FAQs

Has Tiger Woods Scored an Albatross?

No, Tiger Woods has never scored an albatross in any major tournament. However, he has come close on several occasions.

Albatross vs. Double Eagle

You may not know this, but a double eagle and an albatross actually mean the same thing: a score of 3-under-par on a hole. 

So, if you’re playing a par-5 and finish in two strokes, that’s considered a double eagle or albatross. Also, getting a hole in one on a par-4 e would be classified as a double eagle/albatross.

Double eagle is typically used in the United States, while the albatross gained popularity in the United Kingdom. However, given America’s cultural dominance worldwide and the PGA Tour’s stronghold on golf, the use of “double eagle” is gradually becoming more widespread.

What’s the Longest Hole an Albatross Has Been Scored On?

The longest-known albatross was achieved in 1982 by Kevin Murray on the 647-yard second golf hole at Guam Navy Golf Club.

What’s the Shortest Hole an Albatross Has Been Scored On?

The shortest albatross is the par-4 16th hole at the Masters. It measures 455 yards, and Bruce Devlin achieved it in 1967.

How Many Albatrosses Does Augusta National Golf Club Have?

Augusta National Golf Club has had four albatrosses in its history –– Gene Sarazen (1935), Bruce Devlin (1967), Jeff Maggert (1994), and Louis Oosthuizen (2012).

Conclusion: What is a Golf Albatross?

A golf albatross is a score of three under par on a single hole. It’s an extremely rare shot that only a handful of professional golfers have accomplished scoring one. 

Every golf enthusiast wants to score an albatross. To have any chance of making an albatross, you need to have a combination of skill, accuracy, and luck. Although it’s not easy to score one, following the practice tips above and being consistent on the golf course will give you more chances of achieving this impressive feat.

About the Author

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley is an accomplished golfer with over 8 years of experience, both in competitive play during his high school years and as a standout member of Kutztown University’s club team. His deep understanding of the game extends beyond the course; as a certified club fitter at Golf Galaxy, Gavin excels in pairing players with clubs that perfectly suit their swing while providing insightful tips to improve their overall game.

Passionate about the sport, his primary goal is to promote golf’s growth and accessibility. He is particularly focused on mentoring beginners and intermediate players, sharing his knowledge and techniques to help them advance their skills and deepen their enjoyment of the game. His blend of on-course experience and off-course expertise makes him a valuable guide for anyone looking to enhance their golf journey.