Albatross in golf featured Image

What is an Albatross in Golf?

It’s every golfer’s dream to hit a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway, then sink a long putt for an eagle. But what if you can achieve even better? What if you can score an Albatross in golf?

Meaning of Albatross in Golf

You might have heard of the term birdie or eagle in golf, and Albatross is no different from them. Albatross is just a continuation of Bird themed terms that are an essential part of golf scoring. Where many golfers can easily make a birdie or eagle, Albatross is quite hard to make, and only pro golfers can make it.

So, You can define Albatross in Golf as 3 strokes under par on a single hole and is extremely difficult to achieve. Many professional golfers have scored an albatross in a tour event, but the list remains comparatively short compared to the number of holes collectively played by all the golfers in PGA Tour and LPGA Tour history. 

What is Double Eagle in Golf?

Usually, Albatross is also referred to as Double Eagle. There is another term used to refer to an Albatross which is “double eagle”. It’s slightly confusing hearing both terms used, but they are actually the same thing. So, when someone calls a double eagle and not an eagle, they are talking about an albatross.

But, officially albatross is a proper term to define a score of 3 under par. Double Eagle is technically the wrong term.

Golfer attempting to score a double eagle

How do you achieve an Albatross? 

To achieve an Albatross, you need to make an incredible drive and hit the ball long and straight off the tee. If you can do that you definitely have a high chance of setting up a shot that could turn into 3-under-par. And after this, it’s all about making an approach shot and sinking a long putt. So, just by doing this, you’ll find an Albatross on your scorecard.

After considering the regulations of the golf course’s par-4 holes are between 240 and 490 yards, and a par-5 is typically between 450 and 710 yards, so it’s technically very difficult to score an albatross. Only a few golfers can achieve this level and when they accomplish it they indeed become very famous. But there is absolutely no cost for trying an Albatross and who knows you might have the potential to make it. 

Origin of the Term Albatross

“Albatross” has different stories about its origin but two stories are more popular.

The first one dates back to 1929 when a Scottish Newspaper used this term in a match for the first time. This match was being played between Hartlepool and Durham but no Albatross was scored in this match. However, this term was said to be originated in that match.

The first Albatross was scored by E.E. Wooler in 1931 in South Africa. He scored an ace on a par-4 hole and it was published in a newspaper there. Two other Newspapers Straits Times Singapore and Western Press Daily also reported it in August 1931.

Another story states that John G Ridland completed a par-5 hole in 2 strokes and he suggested the term “Albatross” because albatross shots travel huge distances just like this bird.

How rare is an Albatross in Golf:

Being extremely rare to achieve there is no accurate record of how often they occur. But according to the data, the odds of making an Albatross exist are one in six million. This might be a high estimate as many golf experts say that the chances are even lower than this.

But this doesn’t mean that you should give up the dream to make an Albatross. Because it’s still very much possible to shoot an Albatross. Just combine incredibly fine-tuned skill with a bit of luck.

Golfer tring to score an Albatross

How Many Albatross in Golf:

Whenever you get the chance to mention the word albatross near any golfer. There are chances, they will remember how Gene Sarazen scored an Albatross in the final round of the 1935 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

It was indeed a legendary shot and one does not need to have witnessed the feat to be the recipient of goosebumps at the mention of this shot.

At the 485-yard par 5, 15th hole, he hit what was later dubbed the “shot heard around the world.” While standing 235 yds away from the spot and trailing the tournament leader by 3 strokes. Gene Sarazen hit a smooth 4-wood that found its way right onto the putting green and into the hole for a 3-under par albatross.

With this one stroke, Sarazen tied the lead and went on to win his first master’s championship in a 36-hole playoff.

Gene Sarazen after scoring an Albatross
Gene Sarazen scored an Albatross in the final round of the 1935 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

In 2009, Nicholas Thompson also scored an Albatross at Open on the 11th hole. He achieved this unique feat twice in the same match. Firstly he scored Albatross on par-5, 11th hole in two strokes. After that, he scored an ace on the par-4 14th hole. This is an extremely rare achievement.

What is better than Albatross?

If Albatross is a rare score then what is even rarer than that? Well, there is a score called condor which is 4-under par. Which means scoring 1 on a par 5 hole or 2 on a par 6.

What is Double Albatross in Golf?

“Double Albatross in Golf” refers to a score of 4 under par. This can only be achieved on a par-5 or par-6 hole. Double Albatross is not a popular term and it is not technically correct as well.

So the term “Condor” is used for a score of 4 under par instead of Double Albatross. Condor is a continuation of bird-themed scoring terms in golf.


So, that’s all of the detailed looks on an Albatross. This term simply means three strokes shots under par on a single hole. This is a vital achievement in golf. But unfortunately, many golfers will not be able to achieve it due to its difficulty level.

According to our observations, it involves a good blend of expertise and luck. Also, there are some specific practices that golfers give themselves a chance of achieving it. And we have those practices right here on our site so make sure to check them out as well!


No, Tiger Woods has not hit an albatross. However, he was extremely close to score an albatross in Phoenix Open in 2015. He played first shot of 329 yard on par-5 hole. The ball stopped 7 inches away from hole on second shot. He could have scored an Albatross if ball travelled extra 7 inches.

Both are considered as separate accomplishments. Albatross is 3 under par while a hole-in-one can vary depending on hole’s par. Hole-in-one is better than albatross if done on a par-5 or par-6 hole but that’s extremely difficult. However if Hole-in-one is done on a Par-2 or par-3 hole then albatross will be better. Hole-in-one on par-4 hole is equal to Albatross.

Usually both terms are used interchangeably but this is technically wrong because logically Double would mean 4 under par while Albatross is 3 under par.

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