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What are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?


Question: What are the Odds of Making a Double Eagle?
The double eagle, also known as the albatross, is a rare bird on the golf course - much rarer than the hole-in-one. To make a double-eagle requires acing a par-4 hole or scoring 2 on a par-5 hole. But are exact double-eagle odds known?
Answer: Double-eagle odds are not definitively known, and different sources give different numbers. The figure of 6-million-to-1 is commonly quoted on the Web 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 a little 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).

Regardless, it's clear that the double-eagle is a much rarer feat on the golf course than the ace: hole-in-one odds are in the neighborhood of 13,000-to-1 for the average golfer.

Among the facts about double-eagles and aces cited in the Golf World article are:

• Between 1983 to 2003, there were 631 aces on the PGA Tour but just 56 double-eagles - and never more than six albatrosses in one year.

• From 1971 to 2003, there were 24 double-eagles on the LPGA Tour.

• Approximately 40,000 aces a year are made in the United States, compared to just a couple hundred double-eagles.

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