What Is A Condor In Golf: 5 Things To Know About The Rarest Bird In Golf

Scoring a Condor in golf is undoubtedly one of the rarest things you can do!

To celebrate the rarest of rare birds, we’ll enlighten you with:

  • What Is A Condor In Golf, And Why The Name
  • Is A Condor In Golf Better Than An Albatross
  • Why Is It So Hard To Record A Condor?
  • How You Could Make A Condor
  • Has Any Golfer Ever Recorded A Condor In Golf?

Let’s explore the Condor!

what is a condor in golf?

What is A Condor In Golf, And Why The Name?

Have you ever got to the golf course and felt so good about your game that you thought, “Today, I could get a Condor!”

If the answer is no, why not?

Is it because you think the term “Condor” doesn’t exist in golf parlance?

It does make a great trivia question – “What is a Condor in golf?”

The reason you are unlikely to have heard of it is that it is the rarest of feats that any golfer could achieve, and yes, even for the very best players in the world.

You see, a Condor in golf is scored when you make a hole-in-one on a par 5.

condor bird

Keeping the avian theme running after birdies, eagles, and albatrosses, the school of thought relates to the fact that, like the golf shot, the Condor, in golf terms, is an extremely rare bird.

When considering that the terms birdie and eagle were concocted by American golfers, this would also ring true for the term condor, the largest flying bird native to North America.

Is a Condor in golf better than an Albatross?

An Albatross on a par 5 would be recorded when a player holes their second shot.

One of the most famous albatrosses recorded took place at the Masters Tournament in 1935 when Gene Sarazen’s 4-wood second shot found the bottom of the hole on the par 5 15th.

In Europe, Graeme McDowell (2010) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (1994) both made an Albatross on the par 5 17th  at Valderrama.

As mentioned, a Condor would be a case of a player holing their tee shot on a par 5, which makes it a much tougher proposition and, therefore, better than an albatross.

wood club and ball

Why is it so hard to record a Condor?

The difficulty comes in the type of hole a Condor in golf can be recorded on.

Given that we now know a Condor is a hole-in-one on a par 5, the problem is that these holes don’t lend themselves to holes-in-one since they are the longest you’ll play on any golf course.

They are designed to be played in three shots to reach the putting surface for most players.

With the power of the modern professional golfer, they will hopefully be looking to attack the green in 2 shots to set up an eagle opportunity.

The combination of the average drive for an amateur being 214 yards and the fact that to be designated a par 5, the hole must measure at least 475 yards creates a significant challenge to a golfer in making a Condor.

Indeed, the chances of making a Condor are so rare that bookmakers won’t offer any odds on a player making one!

This is not surprising when the odds of making a hole-in-one on a par 3 is 12,500 to 1 for the average golfer.

golfer celebrating

How could you potentially make a Condor?

The logistics behind making a Condor fall into two categories:

  • Extreme Power
  • Extreme Luck

Extreme power

You could create the possibility of getting a Condor in golf if you face a par 5 with an extreme dogleg to it.

If you have a lot of power and can carry the ball a long way in the air, you might try and take on the carry with an attempt at hitting the green.

A tee-shot like this was witnessed in the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Bryson DeChambeau came to the wicked dog leg par 5, 6th hole, facing a decision.

Playing the hole conventionally meant taking on a carry over water, which, depending on how brave you were, could result in going for the green in 2. 

The danger here was the same body of water covered the entire left side of the hole, so anything pulled or hooked would end up wet.

DeChambeau had other ideas.

With his well-documented gain in muscle and power, he decided to carry everything and go for the green in one.

He made the carry with ease and ended up close to a green-side bunker.

Although he hadn’t recorded a Condor, it was one of the rare occasions where a player could use their strength and take advantage of the opportunity to drive a par 5 hole.

Extreme luck

To score a Condor on a par 5, you may also require a healthy dose of lady luck.

Luck can manifest itself in:

  • The hole playing extremely downhill
  • Not only is the hole a steep downhiller, but you also have a strong wind behind you
  • Your ball might take a huge kick down a cart path 

But, as we know of our beloved game, strange things can happen, and believe it or not, there have been Condors in golf recorded.

golfer swinging club

Has any golfer ever recorded a Condor in golf?

To date, only 5 Condors have ever been recorded.

The first ever known condor was scored by Larry Bruce on the 480-yard 5th hole at Hope Country Club in Arkansas in 1962.

Bruce decided to take on the tight dogleg par 5 and saw an opportunity to cut a lot off the corner.

Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined his ball ending up in the bottom of the cup from his drive.

Similar to the DeChambeau attempt, amateur golfer Shaun Lynch took on all the trouble on the 496-yard par 5 17th at Teign Valley Golf Club in England.

golfer on the green

The result was that fortune favored the brave – and with the help of a big downslope to the green, Lynch joined an incredibly rare club of golfers who have scored a Condor in golf.

Lynch’s achievement is unique even within this small group of golfers, as he didn’t even hit a driver off the tee, opting to hit a 3-iron instead.

Golf balls fly further if you play courses at altitude, and this was a helping factor in Mike Crean scoring a Condor on the 9th hole of Green Valley Ranch in Denver.

Special mention should also go to Jack Bartlett, the youngest golfer who made a Condor by acing the 511-yard 17th hole at Wentworth Falls Country Club in New South Wales, Australia.

Jack was only 16 years old.

Condor In Golf: Key Takeaways

In conclusion, scoring a Condor in Golf isn’t impossible, but it certainly isn’t far off.

By nature of the lengths of par 5s and how they are designed to be played, you must have Bryson DeChambeau-like power to take advantage of cutting any angles to help you.

Alternatively, you may get a large slice of luck to record, arguably, the rarest bird in golf.

The Condor Club is very exclusive, but it is always ready to accept new members!

If you are fortunate enough to join the club, we recommend purchasing a lottery ticket that day to see if you can continue your lucky streak!

Up Next: The Tee Shot In Golf: 6 Tips To Hit Straight Every Time

Photo of author
Golf has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. It has brought me many special moments including being able to turn professional. Helping people learn to play this great game was a real highlight especially when they made solid contact with the ball and they saw it fly far and straight! Injury meant I couldn't continue with my professional training but once fully fit I was able to work on and keep my handicap in low single figures representing my golf club in local and regional events. Being able to combine golf with writing is something I truly enjoy. Helping other people learn more about golf or be inspired to take up the game is something very special.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.