albatross in golf

What is an Albatross in Golf?

Albatross in Golf means Scoring 3 under Par.

In golf, an albatross is something that most golfers will never be fortunate enough to hit. This scoring term, which represents three strokes under par in a given hole is extremely difficult and rare to achieve.

Quite a few professional golfers have scored albatross in tour events, but the list remains relatively short compared to the number of holes collectively played by all the golfers in the PGA and LPGA Tour history.


Scoring an albatross on a given hole generally means that you are playing on a par-5 hole. Not that it’s not possible on a par-4 hole but if you managed to get three shots below par on a par-4 hole, then this would technically be called a hole-in-one rather than an albatross.

On a par-5 hole, you will need to sink your second shot to achieve an albatross. This feat would require precision and luck with a second shot that most likely will be 200 or more yards from the green.

Notable Albatrosses

The first professional golfer to record an albatross in golf’s four modern major events was PGA Tour legend Gene Sarazen, and he did this when the stakes were quite high. Sarazen earned this rare score on the 15th hole in the 1935 Masters, which forced a tie for the lead. He then went on to win the subsequent playoff hole.

Other pro golfers, including Jack Nicklaus, Shaun Micheel and Joe Sindelar, have scored albatrosses in their careers. A notable, recent albatross was recorded by Nicholas Thompson, who achieved the feat at the 2009 Open. Not only did he make an albatross on the par-5 11th hole but he also made a hole-in-one on the 13th hole. This back-to-back albatross and hole-in-one is an extremely unique occurrence in the game.


The National Hole in One Association, which records holes-in-one and sets odds for the feat, states that achieving the elusive hole-in-one is actually more likely than getting an albatross. The association sets a golfer’s odds of managing a hole-in-one at 12,700:1 or, for a professional, 3,700:1. The odds of achieving an albatross, meanwhile, are set at 6million:1.


One of the factors that makes scoring an albatross difficult is that most golf courses only provide golfers with two to five chances to achieve the feat. This is because it’s only possible on a par-5 hole, which therefore limits your chances of an albatross to the number of par-5 holes that are available on the course.

Although you have a chance to get a birdie (1 under par) or even an eagle (2 under par) on any hole on any given course, the albatross remains highly elusive.