Those of us still waiting to score a hole-in-one aren’t cheered by the odds.


The National Hole-in-One Registry (yes, that’s a thing) rates the odds of a recreational golfer scoring a hole-in-one at 12,500-to-1.


But, hey, look on the bright side. The odds of making an albatross (for example, a 2 on a par 5) are 6 million-to-1. This is because a player needs to make two really good shots, as opposed to “only” one in making a hole-in-one on a par 3.


So rest easy with the knowledge that you’re much more likely to make a hole-in-one than an albatross. Isn’t that encouraging?


Generally speaking, even with pro golfers, a bunch of luck is necessary for a hole-in-one. The pros can rocket 9 irons all around the pin, but it takes the right bounce and/or roll for the ace. I have a friend who says he would never celebrate a hole-in-one because it’s mostly about luck. Step aside, brother, if I happen to make one.


The odds of a pro making a hole-in-one on any given par 3 are 3,000-to-1.


I’ve been playing for decades and haven’t recorded an ace (closest was about a foot away), so take this advice with as much skepticism as you need.


With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s how you do it:


  • For a solid week, go to a local par 3 course and play two rounds per day. This will aid in grooving your swing for the short shots and take your mind off the driver and how much you enjoy smashing balls with it. By the way, if you happen to make a hole-in-one on a par 3 course, don’t get too excited. Those don’t really count. We’re talking real golf here on real courses.
  • If your backyard is big enough, practice lofting balls with a pitching wedge and try to hit the base of that big maple tree. If your backyard is not big enough, go ahead and fire shots into the neighbors’ yard. I called. They’re good with it.
  • There’s a bonus to short-shot practice in the yard. If you do wind up using the adjacent yard for a landing area, it’s possible to seriously aggravate that family’s obnoxious dog. Fire a shot left, then right, then left, then right. The dog will chase the balls like a very confused retriever and steadily go bonkers. Don’t use your Pro V1s for this.
  • Worried about getting close on a par 3 that’s surrounded by bunkers? This strategy always works for me. Pick out the biggest bunker. Aim for it. You’ll land on the green. It’s kind of magical.
  • Watch golf tournaments on TV. Pay attention to the par 3s. Then weep. Let it all out. You’re not going to get as close as they do.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.