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In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one (also known as an ace, mostly in American English) is when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one shot. (It is not necessary that the ball go directly into the cup. It may hit other objects, or the ground, on its way.) This is most possible on a par 3 hole. Longer hitters have accomplished this feat on shorter par 4 holes. Nearly all par 4 and par 5 holes are too long for golfers to reach in a single shot; a hole in two on a par five (or a hole in one on a par 4) is known as an albatross or double eagle, and is significantly rarer than a hole in one on a par 3.
Hole in ones are extremely rare, and while it depends largely on the golfer's skill, there is often also a great element of luck involved, although skill definitely increases the probability.
Occasionally special events host a hole in one contest, where prizes as expensive as a new car, or cash awards sometimes reaching $4 million are offered if a contestant records a hole in one. Usually such expensive prizes are backed by an insurance company who offers prize indemnification services. Actuaries at such companies have calculated the chance of an average golfer making a hole in one at approximately 12,500 to 1, and the odds of a tour professional at 2,500 to 1.
Among the memorable holes in one, one occurred in the 1973 British Open when at age 71, Gene Sarazen made a hole in one. Earl Dietering of Memphis, Tennessee, 78 years old at the time, is believed to hold the record for the oldest person to make two holes in one during one round.
According to North Korean state media, Korean dictator Kim Jong-il scored 11 holes-in-one over 18 holes in his first and only round of golf. Many observers have challenged or dismissed the veracity of this report.
Hole-in-ones ("aces") are also recorded in the sport of disc golf, in which a round plastic disc is thrown toward a metal basket-shaped target.