Now that aim can be achieved through a whole range of means and tactics. Do you choose to lay-up and try to get down in two? Do you leave the ball short of the hole, or run it past to leave yourself a downhill putt? Do you aim to the left or right of the fairway in order to give yourself the best angle for an approach to the green? Of course, the simplest, and frankly the best way, of achieving that core aim is to sink the ball in the hole in just one shot – to take one mighty swing of the club and walk to the pin with the satisfaction and pride of hitting a hole-in-one.
Since the relaxation of rules concerning the earnings of amateurs, golfers can now take a bit more than pride home with them. Hole-in-one competitions have become a major part of golf days, with prizes on offer including cars, holidays and cash prizes. That can make these days pretty expensive for golf clubs if you happen to be playing host to a player whose luck is in. That, in turn, makes hole-in-one insurance a must-have item, just in case that player who hasn’t had an under-par round in the last 30 years manages to hit their tee shot off a tree, run down the bank of the bunker, crash into the pin and drop in the hole!
For those not in the know, the beauty of hole-in-one insurance from providers like Gauntlet Golf is that it will reinstate the value of the prize that you offer, so you can have the thrill of a hole-in-one prize hole, without being left with a hole in your budget.
The thrill of a hole-in-one isn’t limited to amateurs of course. Even the very best take delight in knocking one in off the tee. Down the years, there has been no shortage of players who have achieved the feat. In fact, in 2015 the European Tour set a new hole-in-one record with a total of 41 across the season. That would make for some very expensive golf days without hole-in-one insurance. Looking back through the history of the game, there are a few players who you definitely wouldn’t want to be hosting if you had a big prize on offer for a hole in one. So who has the most ‘expensive’ tee shots in golf?
Miguel Angel Jimenez
The charismatic Spaniard set a new European Tour record at the BMW Championship at Wentworth back in May, when he notched his 10th hole-in-one on tour. Jimenez, who hit a record-equalling ninth just two weeks earlier, celebrated breaking the record with a trademark dance before picking up his prize of 288 bottles of beer.
His odds-defying haul of three holes-in-one in the season means that he appears to be 75 times more likely to hit a hole-in-one than the average tour pro. The 51-year-old hit his first hole-in-one on tour over 25 years ago and is certainly one man who would make you nervous about your hole-in-one prize.
Jimenez nabbed the European Tour record from this famous Scot. Monty notched his ninth hole-in-one back in 2009 in Munich to extend his lead at the top of the European Tour list. Unfortunately for the Ryder Cup-winning captain, his effort on the eighth hole was rewarded with a bottle of champagne, whereas a car was on offer had he done one on hole 17. Perhaps we shouldn’t feel too sorry for him though, as he has picked up over €24,000,000 in his European Tour career!
Head stateside and US golfer Hal Sutton heads the list for the most hole-in-ones – matching Jimenez’s haul of 10. The 1983 PGA Championship winner bagged his last ace at the 2003 Bank of America Colonial before going on to captain the USA Ryder Cup team the following year. His PGA Tour career spanned 26 years before moving to the champions tour, and nobody has yet been able to match his hole-in-one haul.
The Australian heads the list of active players with most hole in ones on the PGA Tour with his Montgomerie-equalling tally of nine aces. Allenby, who turned pro in 1991, has a very simple explanation for why he has hit so many, saying ‘maybe I’m just lucky sometimes’ when asked about his feats back in 2014. The Melbourne-born star has four wins on both PGA and European Tours but has never placed higher than seventh at a major – arguably making his hole-in-one prowess his most famous attribute.
The Spaniard is nowhere near matching the other names in terms of number of aces, but in May this year proved that you’re never safe from someone grabbing a hole-in-one. The majority of aces come from a range of under 200 yards with strong iron players the biggest threat to those top prizes. Anything over that doesn’t need insuring against surely? Think again. Colomo hit the first ever albatross on the European Tour this year, when he holed his 322-yard tee shot at Heritage Golf Club, to sink an ace using his driver on the par-four ninth. Just goes to show that with an almighty swing, no distance is too far.
Obviously the chances of Jimenez or Sutton rocking up to your local club’s golf day are slim and so the odds of a hole-in-one being hit are dramatically reduced. It’s calculated that the odds of a professional golfer nailing a hole-in-one on a par-3 are around 2500-1. That figure increases substantially for an amateur golfer on par-3s, with the odds drifting to a massive 12,500-1. So do you really need to insure against amateurs taking home your big prize?
Well let’s just take the example of Ida Pieracci, a 102-year-old amateur golfer from San Jose. She holds the record for the most hole in ones at San Jose Country Club having hit 11 aces on the course. Or how about Norman Manley, an amateur from Long Beach, California, who is credited with having struck an incredible 59 aces during his time playing the sport. And, earlier this year, 59-year-old amateur Patrick Wills hit a remarkable three holes-in-one during a single round of 57 at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Virginia.
So it just goes to show that, if you want to offer a big prize for anybody who can strike a hole-in-one, it pays to be insured. Even amateur golfers can sink that little white ball into the cup in one lusty blow – far more regularly than you might think.
To discuss hole-in-one insurance for your tournaments, golf days and corporate events, please call the Gauntlet Golf team on 0113 244 8686 / firstname.lastname@example.org