What Is a Double Eagle in Golf?

Pro golfer Marcel Siem celebrates making a double eagle
Pro golfer Marcel Siem holds up two fingers to show us he just holed out for a 2 on a par-5 - and that's a double eagle. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

"Double eagle" is a term golfers use for a score of 3-under par on any individual golf hole.

Each hole on a golf course is rated as a par 3, par 4 or par 5, where "par" is the expected number of strokes an expert golfer will need to finish that hole. A great golfer should need four strokes to play a par-4 hole, on average. But when a golfer completes a hole in three strokes fewer than par, he is said to have made a "double eagle."

The Scores That Result In A Double Eagle

Here are a couple examples of the specific number of strokes it takes to make a double eagle. You have made a double eagle when you:

  • Score a 1 on a par-4 hole; or
  • Score a 2 on a par-5 hole

(Or score on a 3 on a par-6 hole, but par-6s are rare.)

Double eagles on par-3 holes are not possible. And note that although scoring a 1 on a par-4 is a double eagle, no golfer would ever call it such - why call it a double eagle when you can call it a hole-in-one?

Are Double Eagles and Albatrosses the Same Thing?

Yes - "double eagle" and "albatross" are two different words that describe the exact same thing. A double eagle is a more common term used in the United States; albatross is more commonly used in many other parts of the world, especially in the U.K.

How Common Are Double Eagles?

Double eagles are not common at all - in fact, they are rare, even among the best golfers in the world.

Double eagles are much rarer than holes-in-one.

Why? Because making a double eagle usually requires holing a longer shot - a tee shot on a par-4 or a fairway wood or long iron approach on a par-5. In the first 50 years of the LPGA Tour's existence, only 25 double eagles were recorded. In 2012 on the PGA Tour, there were 37 holes-in-one but only four double eagles.

FAQs on the topic of Double Eagles:

What are the odds of making a double-eagle?

What are the odds of making a hole-in-one?

Why Double Eagle?

How did a score of 3-under on a hole come to be called a double eagle? For starters, "eagle" entered the golf lexicon after "birdie," and golfers just stuck with the avian theme. (Which also explains "albatross.") An eagle is a score of 2-under on a hole; a double eagle is a score of 3-under on a hole. In theory, a triple eagle - 4-under on a hole - is possible: It would be a hole-in-one on a par-5 (also called a "condor") or a score of 2 on a par-6.

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Kelley, Brent. "What Is a Double Eagle in Golf?" ThoughtCo, Mar. 31, 2017, thoughtco.com/double-eagle-definition-1560828. Kelley, Brent. (2017, March 31). What Is a Double Eagle in Golf? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/double-eagle-definition-1560828 Kelley, Brent. "What Is a Double Eagle in Golf?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/double-eagle-definition-1560828 (accessed December 13, 2017).