The odds of hitting golf’s freaky fluke

2012-08-17 00:00

SHOOTING a hole in one is one of the greatest feats in sport. It’s freaky and a fluke. It’s every golfer’s dream to have one, but there are good golfers, even professionals, who play the game for a lifetime and never have one, while others of average ability have scored an ace more than once.

The odds of scoring a hole in one vary depending on the source.

Some insurance companies that sell hole in one insurance to tournament promoters say that from 140 metres, the odds of holing out is somewhere between 10 000:1 and 15 000:1.

However, Golf Digest carried out a statistical method of calculating the odds. The results showed the following — 3 000:1 for a touring professional, 5 000:1 for a low handicapper, and 12 000:1 for an average player. If a low handicap player plays 1 000 rounds of golf in his lifetime, he has a 20% chance of recording an ace. If he plays 5 000 rounds, his chances are 1:1.

Obviously, the longer the hole, the longer the odds become. For example, the chance of an ace on a long 180-metre hole for an average player is 150 000:1.

Dave Hawkins, who plays his golf at Richmond Country Club, contacted your scribe this week about his younger brother Keith, who scored his first hole in one at Richmond recently and in so doing completed a rare family triple. Keith’s achievement meant that the three brothers Dave, Derek and Keith have each achieved the perfect fluke.

Dave, with three aces, asked: “Can any other three brothers match the same feat?”

It is assumed that he refers to the KZN area. We know in golf there are some remarkable occurrences, feats and records, and some are hardly believable.

Your scribe made some enquiries and found that the four Horsley brothers can comfortably beat the Hawkins brothers’ achievement.

Mel Horsley, who is the eldest, had two holes in one, Jimmy had six, and twins Harold and Aubrey have had two each. Only Harold and Aubrey still play golf, at Maritzburg Golf Club and Sakabula respectively, which means that there is still a chance of adding to their tally.

Dave, you have been beaten by an extra brother, but your triple remains a great achievement. Now the question arises, can anyone match the Horsley brothers?

From the 19th hole:

An old doctor retired and a new doctor took over his practice. A 70-year-old lady went to see the new doctor. He asked her to make a list of all of the medicines that had been prescribed for her. He was shocked to see that there were birth control pills on the list. He said, “Mrs Smith, do you know there are birth control pills on this list?”

“Yes,” she said. “They help me sleep at night.”

“Mrs Smith I can assure you there is nothing in the pills that will help you sleep,” said the young doctor.

“Yes dear,” said the old lady very calmly, “I know that, but I grind one up every morning and mix it in a glass of orange juice that my 16-year-old granddaughter drinks and believe me, it helps me sleep at night.”

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