what is an albatross in golf

In golf, most players will never have the opportunity to make an albatross. This scoring term, which represents three strokes under par on a single hole, is extremely difficult to achieve. Several professional golfers have scored an albatross in a tour event, but the list remains relatively short compared with the number of holes collectively played by all the golfers in PGA Tour and LPGA Tour history.


To score an albatross on a particular hole, you must be playing on a par-5 hole. If you were to hole out three shots below par on a par-4, this accomplishment would technically be called a hole-in-one rather than an albatross.

To accomplish an albatross on a par-5 hole, you must sink your second shot. This feat likely would require precision and luck with a second shot that most likely is 200 or more yards from the green.

Notable Albatrosses

PGA Tour legend Gene Sarazen was the first professional golfer to record an albatross in one of golf’s four modern major events, and he did so when the stakes were high. Sarazen’s unusual score on the par-5 15th hole at the 1935 Masters caused a tie for the lead and a playoff, which he won.

Other professional golfers with albatrosses include Jack Nicklaus, Shaun Micheel, and Joey Sindelar. A notable, recent albatross and belongs to Nicholas Thompson, who achieved the feat at the 2009 Open. After making an albatross on the par-5 11th hole, he made a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th hole. Back-to-back albatross and hole-in-ones are incredibly unusual in the game.


According to the National Hole in One Association, which records and sets chances for holes-in-one, an albatross is less probable than an elusive hole-in-one.

The association sets a golfer’s odds of making a hole-in-one at 12,700 to 1 or, for a professional, 3,700 to 1. Meanwhile, the chances of seeing an albatross are set at 6 million to 1.


One reason that makes scoring an albatross even more difficult is that most golf courses only give players two to five chances to accomplish the accomplishment.

Because it is only feasible on a par-5 hole, your chances of seeing an albatross are limited to the number of par-5 holes on the course. Although you have a chance to make a 1-under-par birdie or even a 2-under-par eagle on any hole on any given course, the albatross remains highly elusive.

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