hole in one golf

Hole in One: What to Do, its History, and Odds of Getting One

What is a hole in one in golf? A hole-in-one is simply taking only 1 stroke to get the golf ball into the hole. It’s one of the rare moments in golf but quite exciting when it happens. In this guide we will break down the history of the hole-in-one, the odds of making one, some notable professional golfers who’ve done it during tournaments, and more so stay tuned.

How to Score a Hole-in-One?

To score a hole-in-one you will need to make an accurate golf swing that lands the ball on the green on a par 3. It would be very rare for a golfer to drive the green on a par-4 and make it into the hole. This would be known as a 3-under par Albatross, which is a different golf term worth reading about.

Therefore, the par 3 is your best chance at making a hole-in-one. However, golf courses usually only have 4 to 5 holes designated as par 3 during your 18 hole round of golf so this is only going to give you 4 to 5 chances to make a hole-in-one.

You can either fly the ball directly into the cup (which requires a super accurate golf shot) or take the more common approach of landing the ball on the green first, and watching it roll into the hole.

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To increase your chances of making a hole in one, you’ll need to practice with your irons quite often on the driving range to improve your golf swing accuracy to hit straighter at the target.

Research the distances of the par 3 holes at your golf course and practice those yardages on the driving range. Most par 3 yardages range from 120 yards to 160 yards but some par 3 holes play longer in the 180-220 yard range.

What Are the Odds of Making a Hole-in-One?

The National Hole-in-One Association lists the odds of making a hole-in-one for the average golfer at 12,700 to 1.

For a professional golfer the odds are 3,000 to 1.

To put things into perspective, you would have to play a par 3 nearly 13,000 times to make a hole-in-one.

Every year there are estimates of 450 million rounds of golf being played. The average golf course is played 25,000 to 30,000 times during the year and each golf course reports an average of 10-15 hole-in-ones per year. This translates to a hole-in-one every 3,000 rounds of golf.

Hole-in-ones that get reported to the Hole In One Registry help us to be able to see these types of fun statistics. A few more facts include:

  • The average handicap of players making hole-in-ones is 14
  • The most played golf ball that achieves a hole-in-one is Titleist (45%)
  • Average years of playing golf is 24 years before a hole-in-one occurs
  • Golfers in their 50’s have the highest percentage of hole-in-ones

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Professional Golfers Who’ve Made Hole-in-Ones During Tournaments

There have been plenty of hole in ones made at professional golf tournaments. It would be an exciting feat to watch live at the tournament from the crowd and be part of the roar when that ball goes into the cup.

The Masters, for example, is the most prestigious golf tournament of them all and it has had less than 40 hole in ones in its tournament history. Recent names to achieve a hole-in-one at the Masters include Justin Thomas (2019), Bryson DeChambeau (2019), Tommy Fleetwood (2021), and Stewart Cink (2022).

Robert Allenby and Hal Sutton have the most hole-in-ones in PGA Tour history with 10 each. Stewart Cink is also on that list at 6 hole-in-ones and Phil Mickelson has 5.

Jack Nicklaus has done it 3 times and Tiger Woods has 2 hole-in-ones himself.

The 1994 golf season had the most hole-in-ones in history with 44 of them happening. The 2015 season is the second most ever with 41 total.

What to Do If You Make a Hole in One

When you make a hole-in-one, you should of course start off by celebrating your hole-in-one at the time it happens with your fellow playing partners and witnesses. High five everyone and look happy with a big smile on your face.

But be prepared for your wallet taking a hit.

The proper etiquette in golf to follow for a hole-in-one is buying everyone a round of drinks at the bar. Yes, it’s true. You’re the one buying drinks for everyone else even though it was your hole in one.

Seems counterintuitive as you’d expect everyone else to celebrate you by buying you a drink, but truth be told, you’re on the hook for the bar tab for all the rounds of drinks.

You should also save your golf ball and frame it as a memento as well as your scorecard. Be sure to have your playing partners who witnessed the hole-in-one sign off on the scorecard to make it official.

Ask the pro shop if they give out any special gift or reward for the hole-in-one. Usually the golf course will have a replica flag for the par 3 that you scored the hole in one and they’ll offer it to you along with a photo.

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