What are your odds of hitting a hole-in-one?By Scott Dunford

It just so happens that I hit that elusive hole-in-one April 27 on the Oasis Palmer No. 2 par 3 with a 4 hybrid 197 yards! Yes, it was a splendid thing to watch. Especially when one of your best golf buddies is there to enjoy it with you and the 19th hole cocktail. Even more amazing is the second hole-in-one I witnessed within that same week! No, not me, but a buddy named Mike Garrett. He hit his at Coyote Springs No. 8 par 3, 196 yards with his 3 wood. How crazy is that? So how special is hitting a hole-in-one anyway? I did some checking, and here’s what I found.

If an amateur hits a hole-in-one it’s not only special but incredible, one out of 12,750. For a touring pro, it’s a bit less exciting, one out of 2,500. And if you make two hole-in-ones in your life, the odds are one in 167,000! I’ve made two in my life, so I guess I’m pretty special. But seriously, if you look at all the statistics, making a hole-in-one is something most golfers aspire to and get pretty excited about when they achieve it. Here are some stats from the National Hole-in-one Registry that I think you’ll enjoy.

There are 450 million rounds of golf played every year. A hole-in-one is scored once every 3,500 rounds. Over 128,000 hole-in-ones are scored each year. What’s even more interesting is that most golfers who make a hole-in-one have an average of 24 years playing golf. So don’t get discouraged if you just started playing the game. Unless your name is Mike Garrett, having only played for fewer than five years! How about the odds of a player making two hole-in-ones in a single round? That would be 67 million to one!

When you look at all the ways you might hit a hole-in-one, you need to know what actually constitutes a legal hole-in-one. If a player tees their first ball and needs to hit a provisional that goes in the hole, that’s a great par but not a legal hole-in-one. On the other hand, if a player hits some high wires or the ball breaks into pieces on the first shot and their second ball goes in the hole, that’s a legal hole-in-one.

How about one for the record books?

The longest hole-in-one ever recorded was 512 yards in, you guessed it, the high altitudes of Colorado. The most hole-in-ones ever recorded by a single play was made by professional golfer Marcel Davis with 51 aces. He also made his first ace at age 11. When it comes to kids making hole-in-ones, Tiger Woods made his first at age 6, and Michelle Wie made her first at age 12. Seems there’s a correlation to prodigies who ace shots at a young age and make it to the tour. The youngest golfer to ever make a hole-in-one was only 3 years old, hitting it 65 yards for their first ace. Us older guys are more likely to ace their first ace. Sixty percent of hole-in-ones are made by golfers age 50 or older.

Traditions that have been with us for over 100 years

It’s customary for the golfer who hit the ace to buy the first round of drinks at the 19th hole. That can get really expensive when you’re playing in a club format if that includes everyone who played in the tournament! Here at the Oasis, I’ve heard stories where that could be in excess of $900! Not something I’d be jumping up and down over. The player usually keeps that mystical ball in a safe place that they in turn place in a trophy for later bragging rights. A photo op is also something you’ll prize, picking the ball out of the hole with a big smile and thumbs up pose. (See photo of Mike Garrett.) All in all, it’s a rare and magical moment in a golfer’s life. They will always remember where, when, what club they used, the yardage, and who was there to witness it. So the next time you hear a roar in the field and see that player jumping for joy, tip your hat and congratulate them. It just might get you a drink at the bar on the 19th hole. See ya on the links.

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