What Is An Ace In Golf? Explained

Golf may not have the “razzmatazz” that other sports like soccer possess, but there is no doubt that it is one of the most intriguing, enjoyable, and frustrating games to play.

What Is An Ace In Golf? Explained

There is an art to playing golf that is not seen in other sports. Players must take into account weather conditions, such as wind direction and wind strength, as well as terrain, obstacles, and the types of clubs to use to get the right shot. 

Then, there are those exciting, rare moments that every player wants to experience but only a few ever will. 

One exciting feat is known as an ace.

Being able to hit the golf ball straight into the hole with just one shot requires skill and, of course, a great deal of luck. This feat is so uncommon that many professional golfers who have been playing for years have never hit an ace.

Meanwhile, a lot of amateur players have scored holes-in-one on numerous occasions. This is mainly down to the length of a golf course.

Aces tend to happen on par-three holes most often. Par four and par five holes tend to be too long to achieve this feat, but it has happened twice. In 2002, Michael Crean hit a 717-yard ace in Denver, Colorado, whilst Edward Morrison hit a 440-yard ace in Henderson, Nevada in 2007.

Today, we are going to discuss what an ace in golf is, how it’s achievable, and some famous aces you need to be aware of.

Let’s tee off!

What Is An Ace In Golf?

An ace is otherwise known as a “hole-in-one” in golf. This is when a golfer hits the golf ball into the hole with a single stroke from the tee. This equates to a score of 1 on any hole.

As you can imagine, this is very rare, but when it happens, the player, opponents, and spectators tend to go wild.

This kind of shot needs perfect direction and precise accuracy. Think about the wind direction and the bounce of a golf ball. In reality, most of the elements are going against you scoring an ace, but with the right precision, it can be done. 

Golf holes vary between par 3 and par 5. This means that it shouldn’t take a golfer any more than three shots on a par three hole and no more than five strokes on a par five to strike the ball into the hole. 

Where Does The Term “Ace” Come From? 

Better known as a hole-in-one, an ace shot is something that is exceptional, hence the name.

The “ace” term is derived from Latin. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, it literally means “A very skilled individual” or “someone who excels at something.” So, what better term is there for a shot that is highly skillful (albeit, somewhat lucky, too) and accurate? 

For a golfer to achieve an ace, they must have a certain amount of skill. When achieving this feat, it means the player has excelled in mastering that specific golf hole (see also:9 Holes Of Golf Take?).  

What Is An Ace In Golf? Explained

The Chances Of Getting An Ace 

As you can imagine, the odds of scoring a hole-in-one, or an ace, are exceptionally low. 

The United States Golf Register states that the chances of hitting an ace are just one in every 33,000 strokes. 

On average, a standard male golfer scores a little over 100 per 18-hole round. This equates to a golfer scoring an ace for every 330 rounds of golf he plays. 

So, the chance of getting an ace in golf is far more likely than winning the lottery (1 in 292 million). Therefore, keep swinging and you are more than likely to get an ace at some point during your golfing days.

Famous Examples Of Aces

Unfortunately, most aces are achieved by amateurs, so they are not caught on film for everyone to enjoy. But, on those rare occasions, we are rated with the best players in the world scoring a hole-in-one. 

One that sticks in our minds is David Toms ace during the 83rd GA Championship in 2001. Playing at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, GA, both Toms, and Phil Mickelson were paired together in the last group.

The battle was intensifying throughout the day and a win for either would have been their first major title. 254 yards from the hole, Toms lined up on hole 15 with a 5-wood. The stroke was drilled, and the ball bounced with elegance straight into the hole.  Check it out here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD8G-_PaWSM.

Sometimes, however, it’s the age of a player that makes an ace truly incredible. In 2001, Harold Stilson became the oldest person to achieve an ace at the age of 101 using his four-iron. Playing at Deerfield Country Club, Brockport, New York, on the 16th hole, Stilson’s 108-yard strike made history.

But, whilst aces are rare, for some, they are just part and parcel of playing golf. Norman Manley is believed to have hit 59 aces in his lifetime. We just hope he played the lottery, too!

Joel Ludvicek struck an ace on the 11th hole at Twin Pines Golf course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a range of 178 yards. What was amazing about this was that he was a blind man. 

When Is An Ace Achievable?

Many play golf thinking they’ll never strike an ace. But, it is more than possible in some situations. When playing with a par three-hole, it becomes more likely to hit a hole-in-one.

Par three holes can usually be completed with a single stroke. All you need is some precision, power to make it from tee to cup, and some luck. Avoid any obstacles and hazards, and there is every chance you can do this at your local par three hole.

In Summary 

The chances of hitting an ace (hole-in-one) are pretty low, but it is possible with accuracy, power, and luck.

Let us know if you’ve ever achieved an ace on the golf course!

Garratt Shmidt
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