What Is a Double Eagle (or Albatross) in Golf?

Two American bald eagles playing in evergreen tree branch. the bird on the right has its head upside down
Two eagles (double eagle) playing on tree branch (BBC)

A double eagle, also called an “albatross” is when a golfer completes a hole with a score of 3 under par (-3).  This equate to one fewer stroke than an eagle (-2). Of the many golfterms we’ve covered so far, this is the rarest. Not only does it require extreme precision and some serious skills but in many cases, it also requires a great deal of luck. There is some confusion about the correct name, and we’ll get into that a bit later. Here is all the information you need to know about a double eagle in golf.

Is it Double Eagle or Albatross?

It’s quite common for the terms “double bogey” and “albatross” to be used interchangeably in golf. Even though this naming is widely accepted, there some who believe that one is correct and the other isn’t. The truth is that both terms mean the exact same thing. One argument claims that applying logic would reveal that “double eagle” doesn’t make much sense, thus leaving “albatross” as the correct name. The logic used in that argument is that “if an eagle is two-under par (-2), then a double eagle should be twice that, four-under-par.” While that could make sense, the USGA acknowledges both as the correct term for a three-under par score.

What Are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?

As mentioned before, a double eagle, or albatross, is extremely rare. Experts have estimated that the odds of making a double eagle are 1 in 6 million. To give even better perspective, the average number of double eagles recorded each year is only 0.5% of the average number of eagles recorded.

How to Make a Double Eagle on the Golf Course

There are only a handful of ways a player can make a double eagle. One way is to make a 1 on a par 4. Being able to hole out from the tee box requires some serious strength and accuracy. Did I mention luck? Th other way to card an albatross is to score a 2 on a par 5. To do this you have to either hole out from you second shot or drive the green on a par 5 and make your first putt. Both cases require strength and precision. There are some rare case where a hole will have par of 6 and 7. The full list of scores that results in a double eagle, are as follows:a score of 1 on a par 4
  • A score of 1 on a par 4
  • A score of 2 on a par 5
  • A score of 3 on a par 6 (super rare)
  • A score of 4 on a par 7 (super rare)

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