The Golf Hole In One: Facts, Statistics, And Etiquette

A hole in one is quite possibly the most magical thing that can happen on the golf course. One swing and the ball ends up right where it’s supposed to.

You will never forget your hole in one. You will always remember the club you hit, the weather conditions, the pin placement, and the other players in your group.

Anytime you meet a golfer, it is only a matter of time before one of you will ask, “have you had a hole in one?”.

What is it about the hole in one that makes it special to all golfers?

Simply because it is so rare, taking a special mix of skill and luck. You will meet 30-handicappers with multiple holes in one and scratch golfers with none.

Let’s dig deeper into the golf hole in one. We used the National Hole In One Registry to pull together some facts and statistics. Enjoy!

The Golf Hole In One Facts Statistics

What Rules Apply To Making A Hole In One?

What conditions must be present to make a valid hole in one? The rules of golf don’t specifically cover this topic, but here are some recognized guidelines you can use:

  • Your hole in one should be made during a round of at least 9 holes
  • There should be a witness (i.e. someone else playing with you) – just between us, if you make a hole in one while playing by yourself, we would count it!
  • Practice shots don’t count – if you hit a second tee shot to practice and it goes in the hole it is good news, bad news situation. Great shot, but not a valid hole in one.
  • Length of the hole doesn’t matter – play a par 3 course and you will have more chances!

The vast majority of holes in one are made on par 3s, but it can happen some short par 4s. It is virtually impossible to make a hole in one on a par 5.

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The Golf Hole In One By The Numbers

We mentioned that holes in one are rare. So, what are your odds of making one?

  • Two players in the same foursome both making one: 17 million to 1
  • One player making 2 in one round: 67 million to 1

450 million rounds of golf are played every year and 128,000 holes in one are made each season. What else do we know about them?

  • Shorter holes are easier – 66% are made with 7-iron or less
  • The average length of the holes is just under 150 yards
  • A hole in one is made once every 3,500 rounds of golf
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Who Shoots holes in one? What we know about the type of player.

  • 1-2% of all golfers make a hole in one each year
  • 57% of holes in one are made by mid-handicappers (10-19)
  • 60% of holes in one are made by players who are 50 years old or older
  • On average, golfers that make a hole in one have 24 years of golf experience
  • 14% of holes in one are made by female golfers

Non-scientific opinion. You never make a hole in one when you are thinking about it. They always seem to happen when you least expect it.

Make a good swing, hit a nice shot, and one day, it will be your day!

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5 Things You Must Do When You Make A Hole In One

You never know when you are going to make a hole in one, but it is a good idea to be prepared. Here are 5 things you need to do when your ball disappears into the hole.

#1: Go Crazy

First and foremost – go crazy!

We’re being totally serious. As we’ve seen from the stats, these things don’t come often, so go nuts! You have just hit the perfect golf shot. Don’t play it cool.

Celebrate with the other golfers in your group. Toss your club in the air! High fives and fist bumps. Let out a scream, “Let’s Go!”.

There is no such thing as going too far with your hole in one celebration. The more, the better.

Did you read the odds above? You just hit the golf lottery, so make the most of it.

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#2: Save The Golf Ball

That golf ball has done its job. It should be stored safely in your home. Don’t even think about hitting it off the next tee.

There is magic in that ball, do you want to risk duck hooking it into the lake?

Pull it out of the hole, give it a kiss and place it in your golf bag. It has played its’ last hole. Your hole in one golf ball is now a trophy.

Display it proudly on your mantle and use it to start “hole in one” conversations when your buddies come over to your house.

Another nice added touch is to mark the ball with the date, time, or feelings of that special shot – write whatever you want on it to remember the occasion even more.

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#3: Buy The Drinks

It is a strange part of golf etiquette. The player that makes the hole in one buys drinks for everyone else at the course.

A bit counterintuitive, but it is the tradition, so don’t be cheap on your big day. Hang out in the 19th hole for a couple of hours and let other golfers celebrate with you.

The best part – you will get the chance to tell the story of your perfect shot over and over. Enjoy your moment.

#4: Get A Plaque

Yes, you saved the golf ball, but you need one more thing to commemorate your epic shot. Get a plaque to hang on your wall.

Plenty of options are available, but look for a plaque that includes the following:

  • A picture of the hole
  • Hole in one details (yardage, club, date)
  • Optional: a place for the ball

You beat the odds – you deserve a trophy to celebrate your accomplishment. Ask the pro shop, they may be able to place the order for you.

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#5: Register Your Historic Accomplishment

You need to take credit for your hole in one. There are several different places to register your shot.

First, share it with the National Hole in One Registry. Second, research local golf associations in your area.

Many county or state golf associations will recognize hole in ones with a bag tag and a certificate.

Finally, contact your local newspaper. Most of them publish holes in one at local courses – they will include your name, the hole, the club you used, and your playing partners (witnesses).

It’s ok to brag a little!

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Improve Your Odds With Perfect Swing Tempo!

Ray Dingledine

Ray Dingledine

Ray has played golf for over 30 years and competed at the collegiate level. He enjoys growing the game of golf through coaching PGA Jr. and High School golf teams. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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