How Difficult is Golf’s Hole-In-One?

Golf statisticians estimate the odds of a hole-in-one to be as high as 42,952 to 1. That’s for the average club golfer. The insurance companies? Haha. Of course they want to play safe—so they peg the odds at 15,000 to 1. Still, that’s difficult. This means that—if you follow the odds—you need 15,000 swings before you can hole that one shot. Difficult? No. Lucky.

Now, here’s an unbelievable story I read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, published last Friday (June 15). It’s entitled “One for Ripley’s: Fonacier aces same hole in 2 days.”

Just from the title alone, you understand the feat. One person. Two days. The same hole. Two hole-in-ones. How impossible is that? Would you believe, the odds to accomplish such a feat zooms to 225 million is to 1. Unbelievable! True enough, it’s an accomplishment worthy of induction into the Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Dakila Fonacier. That’s his name. Sounds familiar? Of course. He was the former BIR Commissioner. A 9-handicapper, he’s already 60 years old. His first hole-in-one was during the Quarterly Members event the other Saturday (June 9) when he used a 9-wood on the 167-yard par-3 17th hole. I quote the Inquirer’s interview of Fonacier: “The ball bounced once about 3 feet from the flag, then dropped,” he said. The next day, on the same hole, he swung with the same club. Same result. “This time, the ball went a bit higher and had a stronger right-to-left draw, but it landed almost on the same spot and bounced in. It was my turn to go crazy,” he said.

Were those his first aces? Nope. “There were 24 years between my second and third aces,” he said. “Who would believe that I only had to wait 24 hours between my third and fourth?”

IN CEBU. Closer to home, we know of a lot of friends who’ve scored that hole-in-one. I remember years back, Michael Go aced one and drove home with a brand-new BMW. That crazy week—when, if I’m not mistaken, several others shot aces—was especially painful for the insurance companies.

Just three months ago, Alan Larot (photo, below), my close buddy with the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), scored an ace.

Alan Larot scored his first hole-in-one in March. As expected, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He jumped. High-fived. Grinned from that minute on until nightfall. But the one bad experience that happens when you pocket an ace? You lose your pocket.

“We were in the last flight of a dozen weekend golfing friends,” said Alan. “Edwin Espina, Roy Damole, Peter Po and David Villono (first flight); Doli Cabahug, Koko Holganza, Eugene Tio and Jun Caoile (2nd flight). Following unwritten tradition, bets were deemed won with that stroke – more of luck than skill of a 16-handicapper.

“I won the P3,600 pot but that swiftly turned into a P7,000 bill for a lunch feast with Koko Holganza taking care of ordering (also known as recovery shot) the long table of crispy patas, tuna bellies, noodles, chopseuys… everything in the Alta Vista kitchen. For good celebratory measure, Edwin Espina made sure there was good red wine… enough for me to snore through the movie ‘300’ late afternoon with a terrific headache the day after.”

Alan Larot pocketed the ace but lost his pocket—an amazing day he’ll never forget.

Allan Lua, Mike Jo, Jojo Ong and Alan Larot (left to right) 

Want to hear more amazing feats? From

27 TRILLION-TO-1: That’s the odds of three holes-in-one in a 10-minute span on the SAME COURSE. It happened at Sandhurst Club in Melbourne last August 2004, when two golfers aced the 195-yard 15th hole and another golfer aced the 150-yard 13th hole.

HOW ABOUT THIS: 102-year-old Elsie McLean became the oldest golfer ever to score a hole-in-one when she aced the par-3, 100-yard fourth hole at Bidwell Park, California.

You never know. Nothing’s impossible. At 102 years old, that’s a lot of golf time. Maybe she swung 27 trillion times before scoring that ace.

Categorized as Golf
John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. I really like golf, but I dont really play much. I just play for enjoyment but the only thing in golf I really wanted to try is to get a hole in one, but 15000:1 really makes it difficult, and increases the need of luck. Please do tell if you ever get an ace, would like to know how you got it.

    PS Congrats new CCSC commissioner John Pages!

  2. Travin,

    Hi! Thanks for the greeting!

    I only play golf around once every three months so, given the odds, it should take me around 425 years to accomplish that feat. Beats the 102-year-old lady. Hehehe. Thanks again!

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