What Is a Condor in Golf?
“Condor” is the name of an American golf manufacturer, but most notably it’s the label given to the extremely rare, almost impossible score of 4-under-par for a single hole. As of 2012, four generally accepted condors have been recorded, all involving aces on par-5 holes. Some courses have par-6 holes, so it’s also possible for a golfer to score a condor by completing a par-6 in two strokes, but the feat has never been reported.
A 2004 “Golf World” article credits Larry Bruce with the first known condor in golf history. Playing the par-5, 480-yard fifth hole at the Hope Country Club in Arkansas in 1962, Bruce drove over some pine trees that stood in the rough to the right of the dogleg fairway. Bruce’s drive cleared the trees and rolled into the cup. Because he cut the corner on the dogleg, Bruce’s drive didn’t have to travel the full 480 yards.
In 1995, Shaun Lynch used a strategy similar to that of Bruce on a par-5, 496-yard hole at the Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England. Normally a slicer, Lynch hit a draw to cut the corner of the dogleg 17th hole that angled to the left. According the 2004 “Golf World” article, Lynch hit a 3-iron over a 20-foot-tall hedge. The ball landed on a down slope, rolled from the fairway onto the green and dropped into the hole. Lynch said the ball “must have bounced on the hard ground and run and run.”
The longest hole-in-one in golf history -- according to the United States Golf Register -- was reported on July 4, 2002, when Mike Crean drove the ball 517 yards straight into hole No. 9 of Denver’s Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. The drive was aided by the thinner air of the “Mile High City” as well as a 30 mph tailwind. Neither Crean nor his three playing partners saw the ball drop into the cup. They lost sight of his drive, so he played another ball. It wasn’t until the players walked onto the green that they found Crean’s original ball in the hole.
An Australian 16-year-old, Jack Bartlett, is credited with the fourth condor, which took place at the par-5 17th hole at the Royal Wentworth Falls Country Club in New South Wales in 2007. The hole officially measures 467 meters, or about 511 yards.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.