Is there a minimum length? Are there circumstances where you might have to accept that your ace wasn’t the real deal?
How long must a hole-in-one be to count?
Standing on the tee on any given hole, the very best you can do is to hole your first shot. If you manage that rare feat, you have completed the hole perfectly – nobody on earth could have beaten you on that hole. If Jordan Spieth had just joined you and challenged you to a scratch match, you’d almost certainly be one-up.
To score an ace in a competition stirs a feeling that’s untouchable in golf. You can celebrate a truly tangible achievement – playing partners will slap your back in congratulation, people you barely know will chat about it in the clubhouse, you’ll be a legend in your own start time for at least a few days (particularly if you’ve put a bottle on the bar.)
If you’re playing in competition then there will no question of your ace: It will be marked on a card signed by a fellow competitor, entered into a computer, if your club uses howdidido, it will be there on the internet for all to see, you’ll even be able to apply for a prize to recognise your success.
You can also join Golf Monthly’s Hole In One Club
There’s no defined length a hole has to be for a hole-in-one to count. If you’re playing from a recognised teeing ground on a correctly measured hole with a definite yardage, it doesn’t matter if the hole is 430 or 65 yards. Obviously a hole-in-one at the former might impress your pals to a greater extent but still, a one will go down on the card either way.
How to compress the golf ball:
If you’re not playing in a competition, then a hole-in-one becomes a more personal thing. Only you, and those you’re playing with, will know for sure you’ve done it. And, in terms of hole length, it will be totally up to you whether you count it or not.
If you’re playing off a temporary tee from just 40 yards short of a winter green with an oversized hole, you might not feel it worthy of inclusion in your list of top golfing achievements; it might come as a footnote. “I’ve had two holes in one, and one on a shortened hole.” However, if you feel that the shot deserves credit – perhaps the green was viciously sloped, or you landed the ball straight into the cup, then you might opt to recognise it; it’s your choice.
Golf is an individual sport and many elements of the game are personal. Deep down each of us knows our true golfing limitations and potential. We also have a personal and internal list of achievements – for instance we know the fewest putts we’ve had in a round, the longest drive we’ve ever hit, our best ever score, and there’s no point being dishonest about these. It’s the same with a hole-in-one – if you truly feel you’ve had one, no matter what the hole length or playing surfaces, then you have had one. If you find yourself announcing your ace with hesitation or qualification, then perhaps you haven’t.