What Is the Meaning of Albatross in Golf?
- An albatross is defined as three under par, one stroke fewer than an eagle and two fewer than a birdie. In the animal kingdom, an albatross is a rare bird to see, just as the albatross score is rare to achieve. The term double eagle is often used interchangeably for albatross despite the fact that a double eagle really should mean two times two under par.
- Par represents the number of swings a hypothetical perfect, or "scratch," golfer would score on any type of hole. The United States Golf Association has distance guidelines to help determine par. An albatross is only possible on holes with pars of four or higher; par fours have a minimum recommended distance of 251 yards for men and 211 yards for women, and par fives have a minimum of 471 yards for men and 401 yards for women.
- The distance to the hole is one factor that makes albatross scores rare; the accuracy required to execute is a second. In the April 2, 2004 issue of Golf World, Bill Fields reported that only a couple of hundred golfers make an albatross each year, as opposed to the 40,000 holes in one. Since 1970, there have only been 82 albatross scores on the PGA tour.
The Double Eagle Club
- Because of the rarity of albatross scores, the Double Eagle Club was established as a way for golfers to register their accomplishment. The registry is open to professionals and amateurs alike and accepts albatrosses hit in both casual and tournament play. The Society requires three witnesses to the feat in order to accept someone as a member.
- The first recorded albatross score was in 1868 by "young" Tom Morris in that year's British Open. The first recorded reference to a large bird on such a score was in 1935, when Gene Sarazen referred to his own three-under-par shot as a "dodo," a large, extinct bird. Albatrosses, while unusual, still exist. Albatrosses also fly for very long periods of time, similar to any ball used to make such a shot.