Hole in one
In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one (also known as an ace, mostly in American English) is when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one shot. (It is not necessary that the ball go directly into the cup. It may hit other objects, or the ground, on its way.) This is most possible on a par 3 hole. Longer hitters have accomplished this feat on shorter par 4 holes. Nearly all par 4 and par 5 holes are too long for golfers to reach in a single shot; a hole in two on a par five (or a hole in one on a par 4) is known as an albatross or double eagle, and is significantly rarer than a hole in one on a par 3. As of October 2008, a condor (four under par) hole-in-one on a par 5 hole had been recorded on four occasions, aided by thin air at high altitude, or by cutting the corner on a doglegged or horseshoe-shaped hole.
Holes-in-one ("aces") are also recorded in the sport of disc golf, in which a round plastic disc is thrown toward a metal basket-shaped target.
Holes in one are extremely rare, and while it depends largely on the golfer's skill, there is a great element of luck involved, although skill definitely increases the probability. It is traditional for a player who has scored a hole in one to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the clubhouse bar.
Among the memorable holes in one, one occurred in the 1973 British Open when at age 71, Gene Sarazen made a hole in one. Earl Dietering of Memphis, Tennessee, 78 years old at the time, is believed to hold the record for the oldest person to make a hole-in-one twice during one round.
During the second round of the 1971 Martini International tournament, held at the Royal Norwich Golf Club in England, John Hudson had two consecutive holes in one. Teeing off, using a 4-iron, at the par-three, 195-yard 11th hole, Hudson holed his tee shot for a hole-in-one. At the next hole, the downhill 311-yard, par-four 12th, and this time using a driver, he once again holed his tee shot, for another ace. This is believed to be the only time a player has scored holes-in-one at consecutive holes in a major professional tournament.
Despite the relative rarity of holes in one, there have been a total of six in Ryder Cup matches - only one of which has been scored by an American golfer. Peter Butler scored the first in 1973 at Muirfield followed by a 20-year gap before Nick Faldo scored a hole in one in 1993. Two years later, Costantino Rocca and Howard Clark both scored holes in one before an 11-year gap to 2006 saw Paul Casey and Scott Verplank both hole out in one on the 14th hole.
Occasionally special events host a hole in one contest, where prizes as expensive as a new car, or cash awards sometimes reaching $4 million are offered if a contestant records a hole in one. Usually such expensive prizes are backed by an insurance company who offers prize indemnification services. Actuaries at such companies have calculated the chance of an average golfer making a hole in one at approximately 12,500 to 1, and the odds of a tour professional at 2,500 to 1.
Holes-in-one on Par 5 and Par 6 holes
As of October 2008, a condor (four under par) hole-in-one on a par 5 hole had been recorded on four occasions, aided by thin air at high altitude, or by cutting the corner on a doglegged or horseshoe-shaped hole. A horseshoe-shaped par 5 hole once enabled a condor hole in one to be achieved with a 3-iron club, and in theory a hole-in-one could be scored on a horseshoe-shaped par 6 hole, but par 6 holes are exceptionally rare, and so far (as of October 2008) there hasn't even been any hole-in-two recorded on a par 6. The longest recorded straight drive hole-in-one is believed to be 517 yards or 473 metres, by Mike Crean at the par 5 No. 9 hole at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver in 2002, aided by the thin air due to the high altitude. None of these four par 5 holes-in-one were achieved during a professional tournament.
A condor is also known as a double albatross, or a treble eagle, and this convention can in principle be extended to name a hypothetical five under par score (such as a hole-in-one by cutting the corner on a doglegged or horseshoe-shaped par 6), which under the convention would be a double condor, a treble albatross, or a quadruple eagle (though it might also be given the name of some larger bird, either real or mythical).
Over a period of several years, many U.S. and European media outlets - including ESPN and the New York Times - have reported that Kim Jong-il once claimed to have shot five holes in one during his first attempt at playing golf (an alternate version of the story claims North Korean media once reported Kim had shot 18 holes in one). The underlying implication of the claim is that the North Korean government assigns supernatural feats of heroism to its leaders as part of an effort to perpetuate a cult of personality. Despite the wide propagation of the story, no original source for the report has ever been offered, with Western media outlets most frequently citing each other as proof of the claim. NK News reports that "informal surveys of North Koreans themselves revealed that no one in Pyongyang was aware of this legendary feat, unless told it by a tourist." Richard Seers, a British journalist who played at the Pyongyang Golf Club asked officials there, who revealed it was nothing more than an urban myth.
- Fields, Bill (April 2, 2004). "The Rarest Bird: The albatross took flight at the 1935 Masters, but golf's most unlikely shot isn't easy to find". Golf World. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- "Condor", GolfToday.co.uk, 2010, webpage (dated October 2008): GT-condor.
- Brent Kelley. "Has There Ever Been a Hole-in-One on a Par-5 Hole?". About.com Golf. Retrieved Aug 24, 2014. "One was even recorded with a 3-iron! That one was made by Shaun Lynch, playing at Teign Valley Golf Club in Christow, England, in 1995, on the 496-yard No. 17. According to a 2004 article in Golf World magazine, Lynch aimed straight toward the green on a horseshoe par-5, clearing a 20-foot-high hedge, then hitting a downslope on the other side. The downslope carried his ball to the green and into the cup."
- "What Are The Odds of Making a Hole In One?". US Hole In One. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- "Golfers Hit Hole-In-Ones Within Seconds of Each Other". ABC News. July 19, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Stukenborg, Phil (April 20, 2012). "It's a pair of aces for senior golfer". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Steel, Donald (1987). Golf: Records, Facts and Champions. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 222. ISBN 0-85112-847-5.
- Alliss, Peter (1983). The Who's Who of Golf. Orbis Publishing. p. 250. ISBN 0-85613-520-8.
- "6 Ryder Cup Hole In Ones". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- Harris, Chris (February 26, 2006). "Hole-in-one insurance policies provide safety net for glitzy tournament contests". Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Brent Kelley. "Par 6 (Par-6 Hole)". About.com Golf. Retrieved Aug 24, 2014. "As noted, par-6 holes are rare, with most golf courses having only par-3, par-4 and par-5 holes. Most recreational golfers go their entire golfing careers without ever seeing a par 6."
- "Farmstead Golf Links, Calabash - North Carolina Course Reviews". Worldgolf.com. January 29, 2002. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
- Longman, Jere (20 December 2011). "Kim Jong-il, the Sportsman". New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Abrahamian, Andray (6 December 2012). "The top ten most bizarre rumours to spread about North Korea". nknews.org. NK News. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Dunsmuir, Alistair (December 20, 2011). "Kim Jong Il’s golf feat an 'urban myth'". Golf Club Management. Retrieved October 26, 2012.