How Rare Is an Albatross in Golf?

You probably haven’t witnessed many albatrosses in your life of playing or even watching golf. Scoring those big birds isn’t that common, which makes you wonder, how rare is an albatross in golf?

An albatross is so rare that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than score one. The odds of scoring an albatross in golf are nearly 1,000,000 to 1.

Keep reading to know more about albatrosses in golf and their odds of occurring.

How Rare Is an Albatross in Golf?

An albatross, or a double eagle, is when a golfer scores a 3-under-par on only one hole. That means scoring a “2” on par 5 or completely nailing a par 4.

There’s no doubt that an albatross in golf is so rare; a lot rarer than a hole-in-one, even!

Additionally, it’s only possible to score an albatross on par 4 or par 5 holes. However, it’s even rarer to score it on par 6 and par 7 holes. That’s not because it’s harder to achieve, but because par 6 and par 7 holes are rare to find.

To further comprehend the rarity of the situation, imagine this:

There are about 450 million rounds of golf played in the U.S. yearly. That number translates to a little less than 30,000 rounds per course.

The number of scored albatrosses per year doesn’t exceed a couple of hundred! In reality, only 10% of golfers hit the green in two shots on a par 5 hole!

The Origin of the Name “Albatross”

So, what’s with all the bird names, you ask? You see, back in the 19th century, the slang word for something cool or wonderful was “bird.” So, when golf started getting popular among people, the term “birdie” was given to the one under par score.

Similarly, the bird theme carried on with naming better scores with more prestigious bird names. Consequently, now we call the two shots under par score an eagle, and the three shots under par score an albatross (or a double eagle).

Aside from bird names, the score of one over par also has a name, which is a bogey. Similarly, a double and a triple bogey are the names for two and three shots over par.

Albatrosses in Major Tournaments

Throughout the history of golf, there have been only 18 albatrosses scored in championships, with the last one being recorded at the 2012 US Open.

Albatrosses are rare in those championships because they often feature long and complicated courses.

Here’s a table of all albatrosses scored in major tournaments:

Player Name Tournament Course Hole Date
Nick Watney U.S. Open Olympic Club 17 Jun 14, 2012
Louis Oosthuizen Masters Tournament Augusta National 2 Apr 8, 2012
Shaun Micheel U.S. Open Pebble Beach 6 Jun 20, 2010
Paul Lawrie The Open Championship Turnberry, Ailsa 7 Jul 19, 2009
Joey Sindelar PGA Championship Medinah CC 5 Aug 19, 2006
Gary Evans The Open Championship Royal Troon 4 Jul 15, 2004
Greg Owen The Open Championship Royal Lytham 11 Jul 21, 2001
Jeff Maggert The Open Championship Royal Lytham 6 Jul 19, 2001
Manny Zerman The Open Championship St Andrews 5 Jul 21, 2000
Per-Ulrik Johansson PGA Championship Riviera CC 11 Aug 11, 1995
Jeff Maggert Masters Tournament Augusta National 13 Apr 10, 1994
Darrell Kestner PGA Championship Inverness Club 13 Aug 12, 1993
Chen Tze-chung U.S. Open Oakland Hills 2 Jun 13, 1985
Bill Rogers The Open Championship Royal Birkdale 17 Jul 14, 1983
Johnny Miller The Open Championship Muirfield 5 Jul 9, 1972
Bruce Devlin Masters Tournament Augusta National 8 Apr 6, 1967
Gene Sarazen Masters Tournament Augusta National 15 Apr 18, 1935
Young Tom Morris The Open Championship Prestwick 1 Sep 15, 1870

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

The “shot heard ‘round the world” refers to Gene Sarazen’s albatross shot that he scored more than 85 years ago at the Augusta National court during the Masters Tournament.

In the final round, Gene Sarazen scored the double eagle when he took the 4-wood shot from 235 yards away.

Two Albatrosses in the Same Tournament

The latest two albatrosses recorded happening in the same tournament were in 2015. This happened at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida.

Zach Johnson scored his albatross in round 4 on the 16th hole, following Daniel Berger, who scored his albatross in round 3 on the 6th hole.

Has Tiger Woods Ever Scored an Albatross?

Being one of the greatest golfers of all time, you’d think that Tiger woods has scored at least one albatross. Surprisingly, he never did!

Tiger Woods has never scored an albatross on the PGA Tour, but he almost did in 2015. Back then, he ended up scoring an eagle finishing second behind Brooks Koepka. That’s when the ball landed only 7 inches away from the pin at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

What Is Rarer Than an Albatross?

The absolute rarest shot in golf is called a condor. It’s the score of four under par, which happens when a golfer scores a hole-in-one on a par 5 or 2 on a par 6.

Unbelievably, it happened six times in the history of golf, five of which were aces on a par 5. The sixth one was scored by Kevin Pon, a 10-handicapper who is now the first and only golfer to achieve a condor on a par 6.


When you play golf, you compete with yourself before competing with others. The sport is all about upping your previous scores and stepping up the game.

Albatross is one of the rarest shots to achieve in golf, but it isn’t impossible. When it occurs, it always gets a lot of attention from the people watching as well as the fellow players. Not to mention the huge thrill and sense of achievement that one gets after scoring such a rare shot.

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