In golf, what is a condor?

In golf, what is a condor? In the natural world, a condor is a huge, but increasingly rare, New World vulture. In golf, a condor is also a ‘rare bird’; in fact, the rarest of them all. The term ‘condor’ refers to a score of four-under-par on a single hole. The odds against achieving a score of three-under-par on a single hole, known in golfing parlance, as an ‘albatross’ or ‘double eagle’, are apparently 6,000,000/1, but despite astronomical odds, albatrosses have been scored in numerous important golf tournaments, including major championships, down the years.

By contrast, the elusive condor has never been scored in professional golf, or on a professionally accredited golf course. That should come as no surprise, because a condor equates to scoring a hole-in-one on a par-five, a two on a par-six or three on a par-seven, although par-six and par-seven golf holes are few and far between worldwide.

A condor is nigh on impossible but, even so, in the entire history of golf four condors, all on par-five holes, have been reliably recorded. Three of them occurred on holes with a sharp bend, or dogleg, in the fairway, allowing players to diminish the total yardage tee-to-green by ‘cutting the corner’, or going for the green as the crow flies. The other, recorded by Professor Mike Crean, of the University of Denver, on the 517-yard, par-5 ninth hole at Green Valley Ranch Golf in 2002, was aided by high altitude, hard ground and a 30 mph tailwind, but nonetheless represented the longest hole-in-one ever recorded.