“Albatross” is a term in golf that is used to refer to a scoring made from a 3-under par on one given hole. In reality, it is a very rare kind of score that only a few players in the golfing history have been able to make. In fact, they are nearly non-existent and far much rare than the aces.
Mostly the score occurs on par-5’s scores using a holed approach and a strong drive. This is quite different from a hole-in-one which is rather accomplished if one is able to hole out three shots below par specifically on a par-4.
Origin of “Double Eagle”
The terms “double eagle” and “albatross” have the same meaning but the double eagle is the most preferred in the United States while the rest of the world uses albatross.
Eagle alone is a term in golfing that refers to scoring two below par-2 and occurs when a golfer hits the ball at a distance far enough to get to the green with the least number of strokes.
The origin of the double eagle is dated back during the 1935 Masters when Gene Sarazen made an impossible if not miraculous shot with regard to the golf history. It was a clean par-5 hole out made from over 200n yards to the 15thb hole during the fourth round using a 4-wood.
He went on to put on a 2 upon his card and made up a 3-shot deficit with only one swing then beat Craig Wood during a playoff in the day that followed. This was the first-ever successful double eagle or albatross attempt in golf and from this time on “double eagle” was adopted.
Scores that result in an Albatross
It should be noted that “par” is the exact count of strokes which a golfer requires in order to complete the play of a certain hole. Each and every hole found on an ideal golf course usually has a par rating assigned to it. Therefore, with this in mind then a golfer can only claim an albatross if any of the followings is achieved:
- Making a score of 2 on a par-5 hole.
- Making a hole-in-one on a par-4 hole.
- Scoring a 3 on a par-6.
Scoring an albatross on par-3 holes is virtually impossible and is yet to be achieved.
Odds of scoring an Albatross
There are some factors that make scoring an albatross much more difficult. One of such factors lies in the number of times and opportunities that golfers are allowed to attempt on a par-5 hole.
With regard to the rules of the game, a golfer is only entitled to up to five opportunities to successfully achieve an albatross and this limits the chances of ever making the feat on the golf course.
According to the National Hole in One Association that is responsible for tracking holes-in-one and setting odds in the US, it is estimated that an albatross is much less likely to be achieved than a hole-in-one.
The association further sets the odds of any regular golfer hitting the hole-in-one target at 1 to 12,700 while that of a professional at roughly 1 to 3,700. This means that a hole-in-one will be much easier to achieve compared to an albatross which is given the odds of 1 to 6 million.
However, this is a just estimation and does not make the albatross totally unattainable. Actually, there are several professional players who have gone against that odds and made successful shots.
Comparison between an albatross and a hole in one
From a technical point of view, a hole in one is one of the best scores anyone will achieve on a golf course considering the number of strokes that are necessary to complete one hole.
On the other hand, most golfers may regard an albatross as a greater achievement due to the magnitude of difficulty and rarity of making a successful score. This is very true with reference to a research recently conducted in the US showing that about 40,000 aces are made in the country every year in comparison to 200 albatross in the same time period.
The difference in odds between a hole in one and a double eagle is not really surprising considering that even a handicapper is capable of reaching at least a par-3 in a single shot if lucky.
This is quite the opposite of reaching a par-5 with one study estimating only 10 percent of golfers having the capability to reach a par-5 in two. Even Tiger Woods has not been able to attain the double eagle in his professional career which makes it the ultimate mission that most golfers aim to attain.
It is very unfortunate that most golfers will never be fortunate in making an albatross. This elusive term is extremely difficult to make only achieved by three successful strokes under par for a single hole.
In the golfing history, the list of golfers that have been able to make an albatross is relatively short consisting of only a few professional golfers who must have been either very lucky or very accurate.
One of the notable golfers to make an albatross is the PGA legend known as Gene Sarazen. He is actually the first professional golfer to ever earn the rare score on the 15th hole of the par-5 during the 1935 Masters.
The most recent occurrence of the rare score was in 2009 by a golfer named Nicholas Thompson during the Fry.com Open who made a successful back-to-back albatross which is deemed to be difficult. Here is the list of some of the golfers who have hit an albatross;
- Sarazen Gene – Masters Tournament
- Devlin Bruce – Maters Tournament
- Jeff Maggert – Masters Tournament
- Chen Tze-Chung – U.S Open
- Louis Oosthuizen – Masters Tournament
- Shaun Michael – U.s Open
- Nick Watney – U.s Open
- Young Tom Morris – The Open Championship
- Jonny Miller – The Open Championship
- Bill Rogers – The Open Championship
- Manny Zerman – The Open Championship
- Greg Owen – PGA championship
- Darrel Kastner – PGA championship
- Joey Sindelar – PGA championship
- Ernie Els – WGC-NEC Invitational