Condors in Golf: Discover History’s Rarest and Most Legendary Shots

Colin McCarthy

condors in golf

Golf enthusiasts are familiar with terms like birdie, eagle, and bogey, but there’s one term that even seasoned players might not recognize: the condor.

A condor represents a score of four under par, making it the rarest achievement in golf. To put this in perspective, a condor has only been recorded six times in the entire history of the sport.

Imagine hitting a hole-in-one on a par-5 or completing a par-6 in just two shots. That’s the extraordinary feat a condor signifies.

The rarity of this achievement means it’s often shrouded in mystery, even among avid followers of the game.

As we delve deeper into the world of golf, the condor stands out as a testament to the sport’s potential for astonishing, almost mythical accomplishments.

Condors in Golf

Condors in golf are incredibly rare and often considered legendary feats. A condor is a score of four strokes under par on a single hole.

This typically happens on a par 5 hole, where a golfer scores a hole-in-one. However, it can also occur on a par 6 hole with a hole-in-two or a par 4 hole with a hole-in-one on a shorter course.

Definition and Rarity

A condor in golf refers to a score of four under par on a single hole. This extraordinary feat is nearly mythical due to its extreme rarity.

There have been only five confirmed instances of condors in recorded golf history. For comparison, the odds of an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one stand at roughly 1 in 12,500.

The chances of scoring a double eagle are estimated between 1 in 1 million and 1 in 16 million. Although the precise odds of achieving a condor are not calculated, they are far higher than those for a double eagle.

Historical Overview

The first recorded condor occurred in 1962 when Larry Bruce drove over a stand of trees on the 480-yard par-5 fifth hole at Hope Country Club in Arkansas.

This drive cut the dogleg and found the cup directly. In 1973, Dick Hogan aced the 456-yard par-5 eighth hole at Piedmont Crescent in North Carolina.

Despite skepticism due to dry conditions and possible external interference, Hogan’s feat remains part of golfing lore.

More recently, on December 10, 2020, Kevin Pon achieved a condor on the 667-yard par-6 18th hole at Lake Chabot Golf Course.

Pon’s powerful 540-yard drive, aided by a zigzagging cart path, left him just 120 yards from the hole, where he completed the remarkable score.

Notable Achievements

Notable achievements in golf are numerous, ranging from historic wins to record-breaking performances.

Here are a few:

Early Records of Condors

The earliest recorded condor occurred in 1962. Larry Bruce managed to drive his ball over a stand of trees on a 480-yard par 5 at Hope Country Club, Arkansas.

The hole, which doglegged sharply to the right, presented a unique challenge that Bruce surpassed, marking the first ever documented condor. In 1973, another astonishing condor was recorded by Dick Hogan.

Playing a course with a favorable layout, Hogan’s ace added to the short but impressive list of condor achievements. These early records set a foundation for the ongoing fascination with extraordinary feats in golf.

Recent Achievements in the 21st Century

In December 2020, Kevin Pon achieved a remarkable condor at Lake Chabot Golf Course. Playing the 667-yard par 6 18th hole, which features a steep downhill slope and zigzagging cart paths, Pon’s drive covered 540 yards.

The ball likely hit the cart path multiple times, adding significant distance. Jerry Stewart of the California Golf Association acknowledged the legitimacy of Pon’s achievement, noting the steep hills and cart paths’ impact.

Pon, who usually hits around 280 yards, felt fortunate about the lucky bounces that aided his shot. His condor, verified despite unusual conditions, added a modern chapter to the legendary feats recorded in golf history.

Such recent achievements highlight the ongoing potential for extraordinary and rare accomplishments in the sport.

Analyzing the Difficulty of Scoring a Condor

Scoring a condor in golf is an extraordinary accomplishment due to its extreme rarity and the skill and luck required to achieve it.

Let’s break down the factors that contribute to the difficulty of scoring a condor:

Required Skill and Precision

Achieving a condor requires an exceptional level of skill and precision. Golfers need a combination of powerful drives, accurate targeting, and strategic thinking.

Perfecting each drive to cover significant distances while maintaining control demands years of practice. Players must also have a keen understanding of their equipment.

Neither a slight deviation nor a minor miscalculation can be afforded, as both could significantly affect the shot’s outcome.

For instance, Kevin Pon’s 540-yard drive on a par 6 hole demonstrates this requirement for incredible precision and control.

Environmental Factors Influencing Play

Several environmental factors influence the likelihood of scoring a condor. Course layout, weather conditions, and terrain play crucial roles.

Courses with steep downhill slopes or cart paths that offer additional roll can provide significant advantages. The Lake Chabot Golf Course, where Kevin Pon achieved his condor, showcases these features.

The zigzagging cart path and steep slope contributed to the ball’s extraordinary distance. Weather conditions, such as wind direction and speed, can also enhance or hinder a golfer’s performance.

Favorable winds can add yards to a drive, while adverse winds can reduce distance and control. Together, mastering these elements and understanding how they interact is pivotal in achieving the rare and remarkable feat of scoring a condor in golf.

When was the first condor scored in golf?

The first known condor in golf occurred in 1962. Larry Bruce achieved this rare feat at the 5th hole of Hope Country Club in Arkansas.

The original hole measured 480 yards, but as a dogleg, the drive had a shorter route to the green. The scorecard now shows 452 yards, and the carry to the green is around 250 yards.

This event remains a historic milestone in golf, marking the birth of the term “condor.” Bruce’s achievement came under specific conditions. The dogleg layout allowed him to cut directly toward the green, significantly reducing the distance.

This strategic approach combined with his powerful drive resulted in a condor. Bruce’s condor set the stage for future golfers to attempt this nearly unattainable score.

List of all six golfers with condor

Here’s a list of the six golfers known to have scored a condor in the history of golf:

1. Larry Bruce (1962)

Larry Bruce achieved the first condor in 1962. He made history on the 480-yard dogleg-right par-5 fifth hole at the Hope Country Club in Arkansas. His strategic shot over a stand of trees significantly reduced the distance to the green.

This remarkable feat showcased Bruce’s skill and precision, setting a high benchmark in the annals of golf history. Few have matched this achievement, making condors a rare and celebrated occurrence.

2. Dick Hogan (1973)

Dick Hogan scored the second known condor in 1973. He accomplished this rare feat on the 456-yard par-5 eighth hole at Piedmont Crescent Golf Course in North Carolina. His play showcased the importance of precision and environmental factors.

Such accomplishments highlight rare moments in golf history, underscoring the sport’s unpredictability and excitement. Achieving a condor requires not only skill but also a bit of luck and ideal conditions.

3. Shane Lynch (1995)

Shane Lynch achieved a condor in 1995. He was playing on the 496-yard par-5 17th hole at Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England.

Lynch’s remarkable drive and the course layout played critical roles in this achievement. Such feats are extremely rare, considering the difficulty of scoring four under par on a single hole.

Lynch’s condor stands as a testament to both skill and favorable conditions aligning perfectly that day.

4. Mike Crean (2002)

Mike Crean made history with his condor in 2002. He achieved it on the 517-yard straight par-5 ninth hole at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. Crean’s long drive was notable for its accuracy and distance.

Achieving a condor, defined as four under par on a single hole, is exceptionally rare in golf. Crean’s legendary shot remains one of the few documented instances, cementing his place in golf history.

5. Jack Bartlett (2007)

Jack Bartlett scored a condor in 2007. He played the 18th hole at Royal Wentworth Falls Country Club in Australia.

His achievement on this challenging course added to the list of golfers who have reached this extraordinary milestone.

Such feats are exceedingly rare, making Bartlett’s accomplishment a memorable highlight in golf history. Achieving a condor typically involves a combination of skill, favorable conditions, and a bit of luck.

6. Kevin Pon (2020)

Kevin Pon achieved the most recent condor in 2020. He accomplished it on the 667-yard par-6 18th hole at Lake Chabot Golf Course.

Pon’s 540-yard drive, aided by the downhill fairway and cart path, left him 120 yards from the hole. His strategic play on this unique hole earned him a place in golf history.

Such remarkable achievements put into perspective the rarity of condors in golf. Understanding the mechanics and conditions that contribute to these extraordinary feats can inspire golfers to innovate their strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has anyone ever got 4 under par on a single hole?

Yes, scoring four under par on a single hole is known as a condor. It is the rarest score in golf, with only six documented instances worldwide.

How many condors have there been in golf history?

To date, there have been six confirmed instances of golfers achieving a condor. These extraordinary moments occurred between 1962 and 2020, spread across the USA, the UK, and Australia.

What is the longest hole in golf?

The longest hole in golf is often a par-6, one example being “The Devil” which is a 725-yard hole in the UK. Par-6 holes are uncommon and present a significant challenge for golfers.

What is a turkey in golf?

A turkey in golf refers to scoring three consecutive birdies. This term highlights a golfer’s exceptional skill and hot streak during play.


Condors represent one of the rarest and most remarkable feats in golf. With only six confirmed instances, these extraordinary achievements highlight the perfect blend of skill, strategy, and favorable conditions.

Each golfer who has accomplished this milestone has etched their name into golf history, inspiring others to strive for greatness on the course.

As the sport continues to evolve, the quest for condors will undoubtedly remain one of its most thrilling challenges.

Achieving a condor, a score of four under par on a single hole, requires precision and a bit of luck. Golfers often find themselves strategizing every shot, hoping to make golf history.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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