What Are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?

Scoring an albatross is one of golf's rarest achievements

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Kelley, Brent. "What Are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?" ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2016, thoughtco.com/odds-of-making-a-double-eagle-1563298. Kelley, Brent. (2016, December 6). What Are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/odds-of-making-a-double-eagle-1563298 Kelley, Brent. "What Are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/odds-of-making-a-double-eagle-1563298 (accessed September 22, 2017).
Golfer leaps into the air in celebration
You'll feel like jumping for joy if you defy the odds to make a double-eagle. Westend61/Getty Images

The double eagle, also known as the albatross, is a rare bird on the golf course. Just how hard is it to score a double eagle? Very, very difficult - a double eagle is much rarer than the hole-in-one.

To score an albatross, a golfer has to hole out in 2 strokes on a par-5 hole, or make a hole-in-one on a  par-4 hole. And neither of those things happens often, not even at the highest levels of professional golf.

So About Those Double Eagle Odds ...

Double-eagle odds are not definitively known, probably because it's difficult to run mathematical calculations on an event of such rarity. Different sources give different numbers for double-eagle odds.

We've seen the figure of 6-million-to-1 commonly quoted on various websites and in some print articles. The problem with this figure is that no source is given for it.

A 2004 article in Golf World magazine quoted Dean Knuth, inventor of the USGA's slope rating system for golf courses and handicaps, as saying the 6-million-to-1 figure was too high. Knuth put the odds at 1-million-to-1. Knuth is such a smart guy, we're inclined to go with his figure. But it should be noted that Knuth's figure is a guesstimate, and that it applies to recreational golfers (the figure for touring pros would naturally be lower).

So think of the albatross as a million-to-one shot for "regular" golfers.

Double Eagles Compared to Aces

So if we accept Knuth's estimate of double-eagle odds at 1-million-to-1 (and we do), how does that compare to hole-in-one odds? The odds of making an ace are in the neighborhood of 13,000-to-1 for the average golfer. So holes-in-one are, relatively speaking, easy compared to double eagles.

Here are a few relevant statistics to drive home the point:

  • Approximately 40,000 aces a year are made in the United States, compared to just a couple hundred double-eagles.
  • In the 21 years on the PGA Tour from 1983 through 2003, there were 631 holes-in-one made, but just 56 double eagles. And in none of those years were more than six albatrosses made.
  • From its inception in 1950 through 2016, a grand total of 36 doubles eagles were made on the LPGA Tour.
  • From its inception in 1934 through 2016, there were 27 aces in The Masters but only four albatrosses.
  • From 1895 through 2015 at the U.S. Open, there were 44 aces and three double eagles.

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