What Is a 'Hole in One' in Golf?

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A "hole in one" occurs when the golfer gets his golf ball into the cup on the green with just one stroke. That means hitting the ball directly from the teeing ground into the hole. His or her score for the hole is 1.

And yes, that means a hole in one is one of the most exciting things that can happen to a golfer during a round of golf.

A hole in one is also known as an ace. The plural is "holes in one," and the term is often spelled with hyphens: hole-in-one.

Who Made the First Hole in One?

One of the earliest stars of professional golf, Young Tom Morris, scored the first-recorded hole-in-one in 1869. It happened during the 1869 British Open.

How Hard Is It to Make a Hole in One?

It's very hard.

But your chances of making a hole in one improve the better you are as a golfer, and the shorter the hole you are playing. After all, the first step in making an ace is reaching the green with your tee shot. So holes-in-one are far, far more likely to occur on par-3 holes. (Statistically, virtually all holes-in-one happen on par-3 holes; par-4 aces and especially par-5 aces are exceedingly rare, although they do happen - see below.)

Holes-in-one are scarce; they are not a common sight in golf, but they do happen for golfers of all skill levels. Luck plays a very big part in scoring an ace, too, and there are many stories of golfers who make holes-in-one right after learning how to swing a club.

As an example of how the unlikeliest of golfers sometimes get incredibly lucky, there's the story of the golfer who had never birdied before yet made two aces in the same round (with instructor Rick Smith looking on).

Most holes in one happen during recreational or practice rounds; some occur during tournament rounds.

But some also happen in events designed specifically to give golfers a chance to make an ace. For more on that, see hole-in-one contest and hole-in-one insurance for related info.

Fun/Amazing Hole in One Stories

Here are some of the amazing aces we've reported on over the years: