You can probably tell where this one is going...
It happens every time I get the picture or see it from a stranger on Twitter. At first, I smile thinking about the reaction right before the picture was snapped. I think about all the fun that person is going to have the rest of the day. I think about how one shot will create a life-time memory for everyone who witnessed it. I downplay what it probably cost them in drinks... It has to be worth it.
And I can’t help it, let’s call it one of my many personality flaws, but those feelings of joy for them turn to jealousy pretty quickly. I wish that would happen to me. Or at least someone I’m playing with that day. I’ve never even witnessed it happening unless it was on a video game.
Of course, I’m talking about the thing we all chase; the swing where we put it all together and catch all the right breaks; the quest for the lowest score on a hole you can get: the hole-in-one.
I was a little busy I got the text message so I didn’t have a chance to open it and see what it was for thirty or forty minutes. But when I did and saw the picture of a friend, standing by the pin, holding the flag in one hand with the ball in his palm and one finger pointed to the sky. I knew what it meant. And the range of emotions flowed from there: amazement, joy, excitement, for him; jealousy and melancholy for myself.
I know what the stats say. According to a recent data review of over one million par-three shots on the handicap app TheGrint (coincidentally, that’s the handicap app we use for ourselves so check it out and connect with us there!), there was only a 0.015% of a hole-in-one. That’s only 154 aces in over a million data points. They estimate it would take 6,493 swings from the tee of a par-three to can one. If there were the typical four short holes on a regulation eighteen-hole course, that would equate out to 1,623 rounds.
Stats from TheGrint don't look too promising. For most of us at least.
TheGrint was using their own data, so maybe their numbers got skewed. That’s what I told myself at least. I was wrong. According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds really aren’t any better. Yikes... Not looking good for your boy over here unless I start playing a lot more golf.
I love a good infographic.
I guess there is still hope. According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, 60% of aces are hit by folks over 50 years old. Here’s hoping my odds increase in about eighteen years.
And there is a little comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one out there without an ace, especially after seeing the stats on how rare it is. Even I, the historian who hates math, knows the odds aren’t any good. But neither are the odds for the PowerBall and I still think I’m going to win that one day too.
Brett's post on FB says it all... He should probably retire that ball.
It isn’t like I haven’t been close before. Seems like every year there are a couple kick in birdies that should have gone in. They just haven’t... At least, not yet. That’s what makes it all the more frustrating for those of us who haven’t felt that ultimate exuberance yet.
As part of all this, and considering I don’t have a story of my own ace to tell, I decided to reach out to a few golfers and get their story to share. It went about as you could expect with the friends who had hit one more than willing to share while those who hadn’t responded with a mixture of dejection and disgust.
There were more “haves” that I thought. Brent thought he needed more than a paragraph to describe his hole-in-one from a couple years ago. Rob had three to his credit but didn’t have any pictures he could share. He told me all his came in the 1990s so maybe that was before cameras on cell phones were a thing. Brett, the culprit who triggered me into writing this with an ace from last week, hit his with a standard seven iron but the real story was about the ball he used. Roger got one his first few years playing the game and hasn't hit one since. Dustin had one too. He was playing golf when I text him but sent me his picture.
The course is no longer there but the memory will last a lifetime.
You could almost feel the pain in the text messages of those that responded who hadn’t. “Nope. Never even seen one,” Kevin replied. “I wish,” Andrew said, “Bent over and blew one in before as close as it was.” Axline didn’t have one. Neither did Josh. Or Jason. Or Brian. Or Jeffrey. Or Sean. Or my old man. Or Craig. Or Judd. Or Bryant. It was a fairly small sample size, but you get the point.
I really am happy for all my friends who have one. Really. There’s no sarcasm there at all. That’s the truth. I’m sure everyone else on the “have not” list is pumped for them too. And I’ll be equally as jacked for the “have nots” when they hit one too. Seriously. You can count on me.
One day, hopefully, it will happen. Maybe it won’t. Guess I have to be alright with that outcome too. But it certainly won’t be through a lack of trying.
Until it happens, and especially after posting this story, I know I’m going to get roasted on the internet by all of you reading this when you join the "haves" list. I fully expect my mentions to be full of pics of you smiling by the pin flag with your finger pointed to the sky. Bring it on. I’ll celebrate with you in the moment. And I promise to be genuinely happy for you.
Just know that when you do that, your name goes on the list and I’ll be coming for you if, and more accurately, when, it happens to me...
Until then, we’re glad you’re here.