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.
Holes-in-one 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. 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). 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 disc golf. The current world record for disc golf's longest hole in one is held by Brent Bell, who set the record at the 2002 Big Sky State Games at the Diamond X Disc Golf Course in Billings, Montana.
Holes-in-one are rare, and, although skill definitely increases the probability, there is a great element of luck involved. 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.
A memorable hole-in-one was made in the 1973 British Open 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 eldest 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. 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.
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 3-par hole, he used a 7-iron.
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.
This section needs to be updated.March 2019)(
As of 2018, a condor (four under par) hole-in-one on a par 5 hole had been recorded on four occasions. A horseshoe-shaped par 5 hole once enabled a condor hole-in-one to be achieved with a 3-iron club. 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. 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 triple eagle.
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.