What is an Albatross in Golf? The Scoring Term Most Golfers Dream of Achieving

Would you believe that more golfers would prefer to get an Albatross than a hole in one? What is an Albatross in golf and why do so many golfers dream of achieving it? Most people haven’t even heard of the scoring term before. 


What is an Albatross in Golf?


So, what is an albatross in golf? An albatross in golfing terms means three under par. As a reminder, par is what is considered normal on that hole. Some people call it a double eagle, though depending on where you’re living, this could be a point of contention. It’s extremely rare. 

 Golf’s Scoring Term Albatross’ Long History

Golfing score terms all have a surprising history to them, and the albatross is no different. It’s not as well-known as birdie or bogey, and that is due to its rarity. Even the best golfers in the world may not ever experience getting one.

 The Creation of the Scoring Term Albatross

A crucial aspect of the creation of this term is to keep with the theme of bird names for scores. You know of birdie and eagle, right? One of the first uses of albatross was in 1929 in a British newspaper. Though some people think it became more common in the 1930s. 


It’s guessed that the albatross was chosen due to how large the bird is and how massive its wingspan is. It’s a legendary bird and being able to get an albatross in golf is just as legendary.

 Double Eagle or Albatross?

golf ball

image source: Pexels

These terms are often used for the same score, though it’s up to debate whether they mean the same thing. 


A double eagle is used more often in the U.S. and albatross is used almost everywhere else. It is often the cause of frustration for golf fans because depending on what channel they’re watching, it can be one or another.


Double eagle became a common phrase in the U.S. around the 1935 Masters. Why? Because Gene Sarazen managed this rare shot. In fact, it’s one of the most famous in golf history. He managed to do this on a par five hole out from two hundred plus yards. This was on the fifteenth hole of the fourth round. 


The American papers called it a double eagle instead of an albatross. Due to the fact that the eagle is a symbol of the U.S., it gained more popularity than albatross.

woman holding the flag and the one playing golf

image source: Pexels

 How You Can Get Albatross in Depth

You can get an albatross by making a hole in one on a par four hole or scoring two on a par five hole. You can get one on a par six hole, but it’s rare. You need to make a score of three on a par six. 


How Rare is it to Score an Albatross?


In the entire history of The Masters, there has only been a record of four albatrosses. In the U.S. Open, only three have been scored. During the first sixty years of the LPGA Tour’s history, only thirty were achieved. 


It’s even rarer since the twentieth-century because of equipment limitations and golfers usually hit shorter distances.

 The Odds of Getting an Albatross

According to the PGA, getting a hole in one has odds of 12,000 to one. A tour player has the odds of 3,000 to one to make a hole in one. 


That already seems like slim odds, right? Well, achieving an albatross is six million to one.

 The Right Tools to Help You Get That Score

Since an albatross is already so difficult to get, you need to get some great tools to help you out. Proper tools and lots of practice could make it possible. Not to get too into products, there is only one of each major golf product. 

Callaway Supersoft Golf Balls, Prior Generation, (One Dozen), White
  • Improved core designed to promote faster ball speed and low spin for longer, straighter flight on full shots
  • New premium Hex aerodynamics with more refined surface contours reduces drag and enhances lift for increased carry and...
  • New tri-ionomer cover formulation increases softness for better feel and more shot-stopping wedge spin

If you don’t have good golf balls, then you won’t have a good game. These balls have a core that’s meant to make them go faster and have a low spin for a longer time. It should even be straighter when you take a shot. 


Hex aerodynamics with refined surface contours gets rid of drag and boosts life for longer-distance carrying. It also features a tri-ionomer cover that increases softness for a better feel and shot-stopping wedge spin.

There are four different color options to choose from.


This a popular choice among golfers because you get a lot of quality balls for a low price. Just because they feel soft doesn’t mean that they aren’t durable. They can survive many rounds of the game. It has even improved some players’ game. 

Fair warning, some colors are harder to spot on the fairway than others. Some people say they haven’t noticed a change in their game, but it hasn’t hurt it either.

A glove can protect your hand and stop any shots from going awry due to hand pain. It’s made of premium leather that will give you a fantastic grip. It’s designed with serious players in mind. 


The Lycra is placed perfectly for your fingers to have flexibility and breathability. It has a three-directional closure that is strategically positioned for a sharp fit and comfort. 


It can be worn on your right or left hand. The sizes match with USA regular and cadet sizes. 


Golfers like that these gloves are durable and can handle many games of golf. They are soft while still being strong enough for gripping a club. 


Some people say they don’t have the same long-lasting ability that premium gloves do. Some people also have had some sizing issues.

Callaway Men's Strata Complete Golf Set, Prior Generation (12-Piece,...
  • DRIVER & FAIRWAY WOOD
  • IRONS/WEDGES Perimeter weighting, progressive sole width technology for improved control
  • HYBRIDS Designed for versatility and forgiveness on shots where you would usually hit a difficult long iron (Headcovers...

If you already have a set clubs, maybe you should think about getting some new ones. This set includes a driver, fairway woods, hybrids, irons/wedges, putter, and a standing bag to put them all in. 


The driver has a large spot to give you more forgiveness to get the ball off the tee. This may make it easier to get an albatross. The three-wood has an aerodynamic head shape for long shots. Hybrids are a good option if you have trouble with long irons. Irons give you a combination of forgiveness and control.


The stand bag includes five pockets, a cooler pocket, a rain hood, and a backpack strap system. 


Golfers like this set because it’s a good deal and they are made of quality materials. If you are a newer player, the forgiveness they offer will up your game immensely. They also are easy to wash and maintain. 


Some golfers don’t like the feel of the grips. There also have been some complaints about the bag feeling like it’s made with cheap material.

History of Other Bird-Related Scoring Terms

man playing gold under blue sky during daytime

image source: Unsplash

There is a lot of different bird-related terms in golf, some more familiar than others. Did you know that these birds get bigger and bigger as the score gets higher?


The term birdie came from twentieth-century America. Bird was used as slang for something amazing or cool. Ab Smith said one of his shots was a “bird of a shot” and term caught on. 


Ab Smith also helped in creating the scoring term eagle. Smith and his friends used it as a way to be patriotic. 


Turkey is another scoring term, and it’s three birdies in a row in a single round of golf. It’s thought that the origin of the word is that golfers borrowed it from bowlers. Getting three strikes in a row is called a turkey.


There is also the term condor, which is even rarer to get than an albatross. It means using four strokes less than what is average for the hole. It can also be known as a triple eagle or a double albatross.


There is even an ostrich scoring term. It means using five fewer strokes than what is considered normal on the hole. This is thought to be impossible to do. Some people even wonder if it really exists or if it’s just a joke that was taken seriously for this long.


Impress Your Friends with Your Golf Knowledge

Because an albatross is somewhat rare, not many people know about it. You can impress people with your golf knowledge. You not only know what is an albatross in golf, but you know the history and the odds of getting it. 

To show off, you can even tell them about the other bird-related terms and their facts. People will think you are an expert. 

While it’s rare to get an albatross, it’s not entirely impossible. Having the right equipment, lots of practice, and a little bit of luck may let you get that rare bird title. If you do get one, make sure to tell everyone you know and if they don’t know what it is, teach them. 

That way everyone will know how amazing the feat actually is.

Adam Jenkins
 

I’m certainly no expert on the game of golf, but I am someone who knows what it’s like to start out completely overwhelmed. From one beginner to the next, here's to a better golf game!

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