What is an Albatross?

What is an Albatross?

The term "albatross", in this instance, refers to a scoring term in golf that most players will never actually achieve. This term refers to getting three strokes under par on a hole, and while there have been a handful of recorded instances of this shot, it isn't something that happens frequently. Since this is a three-under shot, you would have to hit it on a par-5 hole at the minimum. You could technically get an Albatross on a par-4, but then it would just be called a hole-in-one.

If you are on a par-5 hole, you would be required to make it on the second shot, which requires a lot of precision and probably even some luck. Your second shot could be 200 yards or more and could be quite tricky unless your first shot set you up well.

Is This Different Than a Double Eagle?

The U.S. prefers the term "Double Eagle" for this specific shot, but the rest of the world knows it as the Albatross. It is, however, the same thing, regardless of what it is called. It is believed that the Double Eagle was used first at the 1935 Masters when Gene Sarazan made the legendary shot that went down in golf history. Most of the newspapers that published the article the following day, probably largely unfamiliar with golf lingo, dubbed this shot a double eagle, rather than an albatross, and it stuck for U.S. golfers and golf fans.

Outside of the United States, the term is albatross. The only time people from other areas of the world hear the term "double eagle" is if they are listening to an American broadcast or they are playing with American golfers. You might think that it doesn't really matter what it is called, but the die-hard fans that are living to pull off a shot like this have plenty of say about what it is named.

How Rare is an Albatross?

This shot is not something that happens every day. According to the National Hole in One Association, or NHOA, reports that this shot is less common than the hole-in-one, which has different odds for amateur and professional golfers. Although luck does factor into it, the odds don't lie. The odds of getting a hole in one are about one in 12,700 for amateurs and odds of 3,700 to 1 are set for professional golfers.

Hitting an albatross? The odds currently sit at 6 million to 1.

That's pretty rare, to say the least. As a matter of fact, it's so rare that there are only a handful of noteworthy instances where this shot was recorded and made. The problem with making a shot like this is the sheer logistics of the idea. First of all, you only have about five par-5 holes on any golf course, and often less. Therefore, you can't even pull an albatross in a lot of conditions, which is why it is so rare. Combined with other statistics and odds, the fact that the albatross is rare enough that it happens one in six million times is quite impressive.

The U.S. open has only ever recorded three albatross shots in its history. In the LPGA tour, over the course of 60 years, there have been only 30 albatross shots recorded. This is not a lot compared to the number of shots that take place in these games, so remember that these numbers are based on the full size of the course, not just a single hole.

Of course, half of the beauty in the shot is being able to understand how to make it and watching it soar through the air. It's a beautiful shot and it can be very rewarding to make, but it isn't going to be an easy one by any means. Keep reading to learn more about those who have actually pulled this off.

Noteworthy Instances

In all of history, there are a handful of the most noteworthy instances on record of golfers hitting an Albatross, including the first recorded instance. Interestingly enough, they all happened along the Masters' tour circuit, dating all the way back to the 1930s.

  • 1935 Masters: Gene Sarazen hits first-recorded Albatross
  • 1967 Masters: Bruce Devlin
  • 1994 Masters: Jeff Maggert
  • 2012 Masters: Louis Oosthuizen

Other professional golfers have earned an Albatross in their career, including Shaun Micheel, Jack Nicklaus, and Joey Sindelar. Perhaps one of the most notable albatross shots of recent years was performed by Nicholas Thompson in 2009 at the Fry.com Open. He made an albatross on the 11th hole, which was a par-5 hole. What's more is that on the 13th hole, a par-3, he shot a hole-in-one, which is a really rare occurrence.  Of course, if you consider that there have been millions of shots since the inception of golf milestones like the albatross, it would be really hard to keep up with everyone who had done it successfully, even when it is this much of a challenge.

Improve Your Score, Aiming for any Low Score

The elusive Albatross can be a great shot to add to your lineup. It offers a unique chance to shine in your golf game and do something that almost no one you know will ever do in their lifetime. Now that you know just how rare it is, it might be a challenge worth pursuing. Be sure to practice your swings carefully and create the optimal practice conditions so that you can master this shot with ease. It might take some time, but it can be done by those who are lucky and very, very skilled.

When you are looking to improve your golf game, you're probably investing in lessons, clubs, and other premium equipment and services. What you might not realize is that the odds of hitting a shot like this could be increased instantly just by changing the golf balls that you are using. If you want to get more out of your golf game, check out Rawhide Golf Ball Company and see what kind of top-quality balls you can find to change your game.


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