What Is A Condor In Golf

What is a Condor in Golf? (Extremely Rare!)

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Golfing terms related to score-to-par ratio often use bird names. While eagles are impressive in golf, they aren’t as rare as condors, which happen to be the rarest recorded shots in golf.

A condor in golf is an unofficial term for completing a hole with a score of four under par. This is possible on par-5 holes with a score of 1 and requires both skill and luck. To get a condor on a par-7 hole, a golfer has to hole out with a score of 3. A condor on par-7 has yet to be achieved.

In this article, you will learn more about the bird-themed terms in golf. You will also find out how rare they are in amateur and professional golf. Finally, you will learn how to raise the odds of getting a condor. But before that, you need to start with realistic expectations.

How Rare Is A Condor?

How Rare Is A Condor

Before aiming for a condor, you have to be realistic. If you tie achieving a condor to your practice, then you might blame yourself for not practicing enough every time you fail to get one.

If you tie it to skill, then you might feel bad about your skills. In reality, condors come from a combination of luck, context, practice, and skill.

A condor is so rare that it has been recorded only five times in the sport’s history. Claims of condors have surfaced in amateur golf, but they are harder to verify.

Even when amateurs’ claims are considered and filtered for ones with unbiased witnesses, the total condor count in the sport’s history remains under seven. As of 2022, there are more than 66.6 million golfers in the world.

Your odds of getting a Condor are 6 in 66.6 million or 1 in 1.1 million.

Condors Documented In Golf History

Condors Documented In Golf

Not only is a condor rarer than one in a million, but it is also rare enough to evade some of the top golfers throughout their careers.

Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Phil Mickelson, and Tom Watson are considered some of the greatest golfers of all time, yet none of them have scored a condor. In fact, so many golfers have never scored a condor that it is easier to compile a list of those who have.

1. Mike Crean

Crean achieved a Condor in 2002 in the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. It wasn’t during competitive play, though.

He holed out from 517 years on the 9th hole of the course. Given the hole’s par-5 rating, this achievement created a lot of buzz around the event and the club. 

2. Prayad Marksaeng

In the Chiangmai Golf Classic in 2013, MarkSaeng completed the par-5 18th hole with the longest distance hole-out in history.

The 517-yard shot was miraculously precise, landing the ball into the hole and making the Thai golfer one of a handful to have a condor to their names.

3. Brittany Lincicome 

The first woman to get a hole-in-one on a par-5 hole, Brittany Lincicome is an inspiration for female golfers all over the world. In 2017, she got a condor on the fifth hole during the ANA Inspiration Tournament in California.

The achievement brought attention to the Mission Hills Country Club, where the event had occurred.

As you can see, condors are extremely rare. They have never been achieved on par-7 holes. Holing out with 2 shots on a par-5 hole is rare too. That’s why some golfers who take two shots to hole out are also considered to have got condors.

Shaun Lynch and Laurent-Olivier Fournier are often credited with condors even though their respective hole-outs required two shots on par-5 holes.

Can You Get A Condor With 2 Shots?

Can You Get A Condor With 2 Shots

You can get a condor with 2 shots in golf if you hole out with said shots on a par-6 hole. On a par-5 hole, you need to get a hole-in-one to get a legitimate condor. Sometimes, long shots that land in a hole are called condors more informally.

This happens most often with 2-shot hole-outs on par-5. Even though it is called a condor for its rareness, such an achievement is actually an albatross.

Why Is It Called A Condor?

Why Is It Called A Condor

A condor is a large vulture that is among the rarest birds of its kind. It is speculated that a condor in golf is named after the bird’s size and rareness.

Given that two under par is called a “birdie,” and two under par an eagle, the subsequent hole-outs under par are named after larger birds.

A condor is the rarest shot in golf and is named after the largest flying bird in America. This aligns with the “birdie” theme for naming hole-outs under par. The lower the home competition under par, the larger the name of the bird assigned to it.

Terms For Hole-Outs Under Par

Terms For Hole-Outs Under Par

Given that the highest par for a single hole in golf is 7, there are technically 6 under-par scores to finish a single hole.

Being one under par for a hole is tough but possible, while being five under par is almost impossible. This reflects in the bird names used for these events starting with a “Birdie.”

  • Birdie – The smallest bird-based term in golf is a Birdie, which refers to holing out with a single shot less than a hole’s par. A score of 2 on a par-3 hole is a birdie, as is a score of 4 on a par-5 hole. 
  • Eagle – The next bird is significantly larger and more challenging on the course. If you’re two under par when you complete a hole, you’ve got an eagle. Completing a par-3 hole with a single shot is an eagle as well as an ace. 
  • Albatross – The second largest flying bird in America is the inspiration for naming three under par. You get an Albatross when you hole out at a par-5 hole with two shots or a par-6 hole with three shots. 
  • Condor – The rarest documented event in golf is a four-under-par hole appropriately named after the largest flying bird in America. A condor is achieved with an ace on a par-5 hole. It has been documented less than six times in golf history and is a shot with lower than one in a million odds. 
  • Ostrich – A theoretical hole-out of five under par is named after the largest bird in the world: the ostrich. If you complete a par-6 hole in one shot or a par-7 hole in two shots, you’ll be the first golfer in the world to have an ostrich to your name. 
  • Phoenix – Finally, a physically impossible but mathematically possible event is an ace at a par-7 hole. Finishing a par-7 hole with a score of one is a superhuman feat that is yet to be achieved. And that’s why it is named after a mythological bird that doesn’t actually exist.

How To Get A Condor In Golf?

How To Get A Condor In Golf

The ceiling of what’s achievable for a standard golfer is the Albatross. Aiming for a three-under-par hole-out is better than a Condor because skill and practice play larger roles in birdies, eagles, and albatrosses. A condor is mostly a luck-driven event.

Still, if you want to get a condor, you can start practicing specifically for hole-in-one on par-5 holes, repeating swings from the tee box every time you overshoot or undershoot.

You can improve your odds of getting a condor by subtracting puts and follow-up shots and practicing specifically for aces on par-5 holes.

But given that your current odds relative to average at 1 in 1.1 million, you should know that hole-specific practice won’t guarantee you a condor.

Recap: Golf Condor Definition

Final Thoughts

A condor is the lowest score recorded for a single hole compared to its par rating. You’re considered to have achieved a Condor when you hole out with four shots fewer than the par. Currently, there are less than 6 recorded condors in golf.

Most of the household names in professional golf have never achieved a condor. Pros don’t aim for Condors in competitive play because the risk of overshooting isn’t worth the potential score advantage.