May 9, 2023

What is A Condor In Golf?

What is A Condor In Golf?

As you know, golfers absolutely love their bird-themed references. It’s actually one of the few things that make sense in a game with a dictionary full of obscure jargon.

By relating the number of strokes as either a birdie, eagles, or albatross (aka double eagle), you get a sense of how good (and difficult) making each one of those shots is for a golfer.

One event though is next to impossible. Something that only happens maybe once in a lifetime.

When a player makes something known as a condor, he automatically goes down in the history books as something of a legend. It’s so rare that bookmakers don’t even offer odds on such a feat.

One of the rarest and most elusive of these bird-themed achievements is the condor, which we will explore in detail below.

Are you asking yourself what a condor is in the golf world? Ask no more because we’re about to break it down!

What is a condor in Golf?

In simple terms, a condor in golf happens when a player shoots 4 strokes below par on a single hole.

  • For example, a player who gets a hole in one at a par five has achieved a condor.

  • A player that takes two shots to finish at a par six hole would also count.

The former has only happened a few times in golf’s history while the latter has only been done once. It goes without saying that such an event is rare.

Skill alone won’t be enough, though a golfer certainly needs to think outside the box to achieve such a stunt. Luck plays a big part in it too.

To put it into perspective, imagine a golfer hitting a hole-in-one on a 456 yard par 5 hole with a single, incredibly long, and accurate drive, or completing a par 6 hole in just two strokes – that’s a condor shot!

Understanding Golf Terminology:

To better appreciate the rarity of a condor, it’s important to understand some basic golf terminology. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the bird-themed scores you may encounter in golf:

  • Birdie: 1 stroke below par

  • Eagle: 2 strokes below par

  • Albatross (Double Eagle): 3 strokes below par

  • Condor: 4 strokes below par”

How rare is it?

It’s hard to give odds though many have tried. With the other types of birds, it has been estimated a hole-in-one can reach up to 1 in 12,500 for an average golfer. A double eagle (aka an albatross) has been assigned odds that have ranged between 1 in 1 million and 1 in 16 million.

Many, including online bookmakers, have never even attempted to place odds on condors and it would be considered ludicrous to bet on it. Since record-keeping began for this sport, there have only been 5 instances where a recorded condor was achieved. 

How many condors are there in golf history?

Though almost impossible, it has been done at least 5 times in golf history.

A ‘golf world’ article from 2004 credits the first one in 1968 by Larry Bruce. Larry Bruce, by some miracle, drove the ball into the hole over a stand of trees on the 480-yard dogleg right par-5 fifth hole at Hope Country Club in Arkansas, USA.

The other extremely lucky individuals are:

  • Shaun Lynch at Teign Valley Golf Club in 1995

  • Mike Crean on the 517-yard, par-5 ninth hole at Green Valley Ranch Golf in 2002

  • 16-year-old Jack Bartlett at the Royal Wentworth Falls Country Club in New South Wales in in 2007

  • Kevin Pon, who made a 2 on a par 6 at Lake Chabot Golf Course on the 10th December 2020 (his second shot was from 120 yards out, and he could only see the top of the flag on the green)

  • Dick Hogan, who made one in 1973 on the eighth hole at Piedmont Crescent Golf Course in Burlington, N.C., BUT – that one’s uncertain as even he isn’t sure his condor is legitimate.

Getting a condor won’t only make you a local legend, it will immortalize your name in the golf history books (under rarest feats) as both one of the skilled (and luckiest) golfers ever.

Tips for Striving for a Condor:

While a condor hit is extremely rare and heavily reliant on luck, there are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re looking to improve your long game:

  1. Focus on your driving technique and consistency.

  2. Train on different types of courses to adapt to various conditions.

  3. Maintain a positive attitude and stay persistent.

  4. Don’t make chasing a condor your main goal; instead, focus on improving your overall golf skills.”

Bottom Line…

And that was our answer to the question: what is a condor in golf? Not an easy thing to achieve but it’s not supposed to be.

You’re better off improving your skills and experience than actively attempting this.

But if you ever become one of those who manage to pull a condor off, prepare to soar!

About the author 

Linda Parker

My name is Linda Parker, I’ve been around golf since I was born, and I’ve been golfing since I was four years old!

I’m here to share my love of the game with you, so please do let me know if you have any questions!

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