Hitting a hole-in-one is hard — no, really, really hard.
The odds of a PGA Tour professional golfer hitting an ace are about 1 in 2,500, according to data collected by Golf Digest. For the rest of us hackers? Try one in 12,500 — though for some of us, even that seems pretty kind.
So you're saying there's a chance!
On average, according to Golf Digest, there are approximately 150,000 holes-in-one hit per year in and estimated 490 million rounds of golf. Knowing that, would you be willing to "wager" $5 that you'd be able to sink one from the tee box during a single round of golf?
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Mark Zaslow, who splits his time living in Blaine and Southern California, "bet" on himself during an April 11 round at North Bellingham Golf Course, and when he sank it from 145 yards on the 16th hole using only one swing of his 7-iron, he became $10,000 richer.
With his ace, Zaslow became the first winner of Swing King's Hole-in-One contest at North Bellingham.
"We just started it a little over a month ago," said North Bellingham head pro Nathan Vickers, who was lucky enough to be in Zaslow's foursome. "I thought it was going to take at least two or three years until somebody won."
Swing King puts on the contest, allowing golfers to buy in for $5 for a chance to win $10,000 or $10 to win $20,000. The golf course gets to keep half of the entry fee, while Swing King gets the other half, Vickers said. Courses also pay $250 per month to be a part of the program, but that fee is waived if they sell 350 tickets to play. Swing King is responsible for purchasing insurance to cover pay outs.
Vickers said about 10 percent of the golfers who have played at North Bellingham in the past month have bought into the contest.
Not only will Zaslow get a check for $10,000, but also a video of his accomplishment from cameras Swing King set up on eligible holes on the course. And according to Vickers, it was quite a sight to behold.
"He was the last guy to hit on the white tees there," Vickers said. "We were already in the carts about to drive to the green, when we saw the shot land on the green. I thought, "That might have a chance." I saw it hop and disappear. It was pretty cool. What are the odds of it happening that quick? We only get a couple of hole-in-ones on that hole every year."