The hole-in-one is the most precise event that exists in all of professional sports.
No other sport can brag of such a technically challenging feat. On Feb. 6, 2012, Daniel Chopra performed this surgical maneuver twice in one round at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Two hole-in-one shots in one game (how do you even talk about multiple holes-in-one? Hole-in-ones? Two holes in two?). One of them was a 176-yard 7-iron shot.
I want to take a closer look at how crazy this is. The regulation golf ball is 1.68 inches (42.67 mm). This means its cross sectional area is less than 1 square inch--if you consider the range of a pro golfer's 7-iron to be, let's say, 180 yards or so.
Let's say that it is unlikely the ball will go sideways or backwards and that it will only go in front of the golfer (90 degrees). That is almost 10 million square inches. The size of the cut is just above 5 square inches. So the odds of randomly having the ball land in the hole would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million to 1--literally. This, of course, neglects the varying conditions that make real golf so hard. We also are neglecting the golfer's skill, but I just wanted to work a general figure. If you look at the actual numbers of how often players get a hole-in-one, it is even lower than this predicted number. The linked article claims that Golf Digests suggests scoring a hole-in-one twice comes in at a 1 in 64 million chance.
Consider the extreme difficulty in using your entire body to swing a giant stick in a circular motion to get the clubhead to strike the ball within a fraction of a inch of where in needs to be hit. The ball must be hit a distance of over 6,000 times its own length. It is exposed to the wind and other elements as it strikes the ground, hopefully rolling right into the tiny cup over 500 feet away.The most insane part about this story is that it happened again in the same round. The sad part for Chopra is that it was only a practice round.
Pro golfers are amazing. Its pretty silly that us normal folk get so irritated when things don't work out perfectly. I've said it before (in my article here): This is why I love this game so much. The pros are normal yet super human at the same time.
John Tacereus is an average golfer who loves the game. He loves reporting on the unpredictable things that happen on the tour.
- Sports & Recreation
- Daniel Chopra
- Pebble Beach Golf Links