Sinking a hole-in-one is an achievement every golfer aspires to, whether they’re an amateur or a pro. Whilst pros obviously have the advantage of pinpoint accuracy, plenty of amateurs accomplish an ace – though many will go their whole golfing career without one. So, what are the odds of a ‘basic’ hole-in-one? Golf Digest and also the National Hole In One Association (which provides hole-in-one insurance for tournaments) calculated the odds of making an ace.
Amateur and Pro odds for a standard hole-in-one
Their calculations on the odds of an amateur golfer holing out from the tee on a par-3 (ie: a standard hole-in-one) are that there will be one ace out of every 12,750 attempts. Even more amazing are the tales of players achieving two holes-in-one in a single round. On a course with four par-3s, the chances of making two aces are an astronomical 1 in 162,562,500. Yet it has been done!
Of course, making that much-hoped-for ace depends not just on how good the golfer is, but how lucky too! Even those who participate in golf betting know it stands to reason that the more rounds you play, the more chances you have. According to the Golf Digest calculations:
- Odds of an amateur making a hole-in-one: 12,500 to 1
- Odds of a low-handicapper making a hole-in-one: 5,000 to 1
- Odds of a professional golfer making an ace: 2,500 to 1
- Odds for an average golfer on a 200-yard par-3: 150,000 to 1
What are the odds of making a hole-in-one at least once in your golfing lifetime? A low-handicapper who plays an average 25 rounds per year for 40 years – or 1,000 rounds – has a 20% chance of making at least one hole-in-one. To make the odds an even 1:1 a low-handicapper who plays 5,000 rounds in their golfing lifetime will be on evens to make at least one ace.
What about groups of golfers?
It’s rare enough for one golfer to get a hole-in-one during a round. So, what are the odds of two golfers in the same group making aces in the same round?
- Odds of two golfers in the same group of four making holes-in-one at any point during the round: 1.3 million to 1
- Odds of two golfers in the same group of four acing the same hole during the same round: 26 million to 1
Of course, the internet is jam-packed with videos of extraordinary holes-in-one. And for some of the more amazing stories, the odds are just as incredible. For example, in 1971 a European Tour pro hit back-to-back aces (one of them a par-4) at odds of 50 million to 1. And at the 1989 U.S. Open, four pros aced the same hole – number six – during the second round. Odds: 1.6 million to 1. Just do remember, when you get to the 19th hole, it’s golfing tradition that the first round of drinks is on the player who made the ace!