Hole in one

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In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one (also known as an ace, mostly in American English) occurs when a ball hit from a tee to start a hole finishes in the cup. A ball hit from a tee following a lost ball, out-of-bounds, or water hazard is not a hole-in-one due to the application of a stroke penalty.

Holes-in-one most commonly occur on par 3 holes, the shortest distance holes on a standard size golf course. Longer hitters have also accomplished this feat on longer holes, though nearly all par 4 and par 5 holes are too long for golfers to reach in a single shot. While well known outside golf and often requiring a well hit shot and significant power, holes in one need also a significant element of luck.[1][2] As such, they are more common and considered less impressive than other hole accomplishments such as completing a par 5 in two shots (an albatross).[3] As of January 2021, a condor (four under par) hole-in-one on a par 5 hole had been recorded on five occasions, aided by thin air at high altitude, or by cutting the corner on a doglegged or horseshoe-shaped hole.[4][5][6]


Holes-in-one are rare and, although skill increases the probability, there is a great element of luck involved.[7] 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.[8]

Time magazine reported 1,200 holes in one were made by American golfers in 1922.[9]

An amateur golfer celebrates a hole in one.

A memorable hole-in-one was made in the 1973 Open Championship by Gene Sarazen at age 71. 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.[10]

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.[11][12]

Despite the relative rarity of holes-in-one, there have been a total of six in Ryder Cup matches. 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.[13]

On August 11, 2016, Justin Rose shot a hole-in-one during the first round of the golf tournament of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which is considered to be the first in Olympic history. For the 189 yards par-3 hole, he used a 7-iron.[14]


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.[15] 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.[7]

Holes-in-one on par 5 (or higher) holes[edit]

As of January 2021, a condor (four under par) hole-in-one on a par-5 hole had been recorded on five occasions.[4][5][16][6] A horseshoe-shaped par 5 hole once enabled a condor hole-in-one to be achieved with a 3-iron club.[4][5] Another may have been achieved at the former Piedmont Crescent Golf Course in 1973 after bouncing multiple times on a very firm fairway due to unseasonably dry weather.[17] The longest recorded straight drive hole-in-one is believed to be 517 yards or 473 metres, on 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.[4][5] None of the five par-5 holes-in-one were achieved during a professional tournament.[4] A condor is also known as a double albatross, or a triple eagle.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Halley, Jim. "With holes in one, no matter how you slice them luck is vital". USA Today. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  2. ^ Oscarson, Paul. "Top 10 Craziest Holes-in-One". The Bleacher Report. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  3. ^ 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. Archived from the original on March 5, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Condor", GolfToday.co.uk, 2010, webpage (dated October 2008): GT-condor.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kelley, Brent. "Has There Ever Been a Hole-in-One on a Par-5 Hole?". About.com Golf. Retrieved August 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.
  6. ^ a b "What is a condor in golf? We explain the rarest of birds in golf?". www.thegolfnewsnet.com. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "What Are The Odds of Making a Hole In One?". US Hole In One. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "Golfers Hit Hole-In-Ones Within Seconds of Each Other". ABC News. July 19, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  9. ^ "Miscellany". Time. New York City. March 3, 1923. p. 27. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  10. ^ Stukenborg, Phil (April 20, 2012). "It's a pair of aces for senior golfer". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Steel, Donald (1987). Golf: Records, Facts and Champions. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 222. ISBN 0-85112-847-5.
  12. ^ Alliss, Peter (1983). The Who's Who of Golf. Orbis Publishing. p. 250. ISBN 0-85613-520-8.
  13. ^ "6 Ryder Cup Hole In Ones". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Myers, Alex. "Justin Rose makes the first hole-in-one in Olympics golf history - Golf Digest". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  15. ^ Harris, Chris (February 26, 2006). "Hole-in-one insurance policies provide safety net for glitzy tournament contests". Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  16. ^ "Odds for hole in one, albatross, condor". www.pga.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  17. ^ "Longest hole-in-one in history? Well, maybe". www.thetimesnews.com. Retrieved August 25, 2021.

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