What Is A Double Eagle In Golf?

A double eagle is a term primarily used in the United States to describe a score of 3-under par on a single hole. In most of the rest of the world, it would be called an albatross.

The use of the word albatross follows on quite nicely from the terms to describe 1-under (birdie) and 2-under (eagle).

Logically since an eagle is -2 then it follows that a double eagle should be -4, not -3!

Indeed condor tends to be used to describe a score of 4-under par on one hole. However, these are exceptionally rare.

What is a double eagle in golf

Albatrosses/Double Eagles in Major Championships

The Masters has had its fair share of albatrosses or double eagles. In 1935 Gene Sarazen played the “shot heard around the world” when he holed out his 2nd shot with a 4-wood on the par-5 5th on his way to winning the tournament that year. Apparently, he called it a dodo in the days following his win!

Each of the other par-5s at Augusta has seen someone achieve the feat of an albatross. In 1967 Bruce Devlin managed to hole a 4-wood shot on the 8th hole from 248 yards.

Jeff Maggert was next to achieve the near-impossible task of a double-eagle by canning his 3-iron from 222 yards on the dogleg 13th hole in the 1994 tournament.

The most recent man to achieve the feat was Louis Oosthuizen on the 2nd hole. He managed to get a 4-iron to drop from 253 yards in 2012.

The U.S. Open Championship has only had 3 albatrosses so far:

  • Chen Tze-Chung (1985) at Oakland Hills (South Course)
  • Shaun Micheel (2010) at Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • Nick Watney (2012) at The Olympic Club (Lake Course)

The oldest major championship, The Open Championship has had 8 albatrosses recorded up to 2021:

  • Young Tom Morris (1870) at Prestwick Golf Club
  • Johnny Miller (1972) at Muirfield Golf Club
  • Bill Rogers (1983) at Royal Birkdale
  • Manny Zerman (2000) at St Andrews (Old Course)
  • Jeff Maggert (2001) at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
  • Greg Owen (2001) at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
  • Gary Evans (2004) at Royal Troon Golf Club
  • Paul Lawrie (2009) at Trump Turnberry (Ailsa Course)

There have also been 3 double-eagles at the US PGA Championship:

  • Darrell Kestner (1993) at Inverness Club
  • Per-Ulrick Johansson (1995) at Riviera Country Club
  • Joey Sindelar (2006) at Medinah Country Club (No.3 Course)

How Rare Is An Albatross In Golf?

As you can see from the fact there have only been 18 in 458 major championships (85 Masters, 121 US Open, 103 US PGA, 149 Open Championships) they are pretty rare. Indeed it has been calculated that the odds of getting an albatross are about 6 million to 1. That’s about 12 times less likely than being struck by lightning.

Is Double Eagle Good In Golf?

Well, it is most definitely rare! The odds of an amateur golfer making a hole in one are around 12000/1 but the odds of getting a double eagle or albatross are in the region of 6 million to 1 so around 50 times less likely. This is because you generally need to hole a long shot either your tee shot on a par-4 or an approach on a par-5.

What Is Better Than A Double Eagle In Golf?

Having a score of 4-under on a single hole! That would entail scoring an ace on a par-5 or a 2 or 3 on a par-6 or par-7. Since there are very few par-6 or par-7 holes it means making a hole in one of at least 475 yards! Not many are capable of hitting the ball anywhere near that far even in the right conditions!

The most recent recorded condor was in fact scored on a par-6. Kevin Pon holed his 2nd shot on the 18th at Chabot Golf Course in Oakland, California.

Double Eagle vs Albatross

While players and commentators from the United States still refer to the feat as a double eagle I think the rest of the world is more than happy to keep using the term albatross for now.

For more golfing terms and phrases check out the list of useful golf phrases.

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