Friday, 28 November 2008

Hole-in-one with two balls!

Here’s a highly unlikely situation that nevertheless provides good material for testing your knowledge of the Rules. I have eight possible scenarios to the following question.

On a par 3 a player scores a hole-in-one with a ball other than the original ball that he played on that hole. How can this happen within the Rules of Golf?


1. In match play, player A plays his tee shot out of turn. When his opponent, B, sees that A’s ball has come to rest close to the flagstick he requires him to cancel his stroke and play again, in turn, under Rule 10-1c. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke.
2. Following player A’s stroke from the teeing ground his ball strikes a path, breaking into several pieces. Under Rule 5-3 he must play another ball from the teeing ground, without penalty. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke.
3. Player A’s stroke from the teeing ground is deflected by an overhead power line. A Local Rule requires that in these circumstances the player must play a ball from as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played, as in Decision 33-8/13. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke.
4. When players A and B arrive at the teeing ground they find that the blue markers are nearer the hole than the white markers. The competition is being played from the blue markers. They suspect that they may have been moved during the competition by some youths playing nearby. As they are unsure how to proceed they decide that each will play a second ball under Rule 3-3a. A announces that he wants his ball from the blue markers to count if the Rules permit. His first ball from the white tees is played onto the putting green and then he scores a hole-in-one with his ball played from the blue tees. Having interviewed other competitors the Committee ruled that A’s score from the blue markers should stand.
5. On a windy day player A thins his tee shot badly, but it still comes to rest a few inches from the hole. When he gets to his ball he sees that it is badly cut. He announces his intention to examine the ball to his fellow-competitor and asks him to observe the marking, lifting and replacement of his ball. They both agree that the ball is unfit for play and he replaces it with another ball. Before A addresses his ball for the short putt a sudden gust of wind blows it into the hole. He is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke for a hole-in-one (Rule 18-1/12).
6. On a windy day, after a well hit tee shot, player A’s ball lies at the top of a slope three feet from the hole. His fellow competitor’s ball lies close by. Without authorisation, his fellow competitor’s caddie marks both balls and lifts them from the putting green to clean mud of them. When he replaces A’s ball he mistakenly substitutes a different ball and picks up the marker. A few seconds later the wind blows the ball off its spot and it rolls down the slope and into the hole. A is not penalised and has scored a hole-in-one (Decision 20-1/5).
7. In match play, player A shanks his tee shot and it is deflected off his opponent’s golf trolley into a water hazard. Under Rule 19-3 player A opted to cancel the stroke and play another ball without penalty, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke.
8. In match play, player A plays his tee shot from in front of the tee markers and his ball comes to rest close to the hole. Under Rule 11-4a his opponent requires him to cancel the stroke and play again. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke.

I wonder if I missed any. I’ve never had a hole-in-one, but I have witnessed three.


© Barry Rhodes, 2008 –Please contact me if you would like to use this original content for any purposes.


knifeman2 said...

May I add another situation. My playing partner and I hit to a par 3. When we approached the green his ball was about 10 feet below the hole and mine 2 feet to right, nearly hole high. I asked him if he wanted me to mark my ball since it was not in putting line. He said No. When he putted, he knocked my ball in the hole. Not knowing the rule I removed my ball and placed on the original spot and sank it. When we got to the club house, I asked the pro how that hole should be scored. He said it should be scored as a 1.

Barry Rhodes said...


Unfortunately, the pro was wrong with his ruling. Rule 18-5 states, "If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced."

So, you acted correctly in putting out for a birdie. I hope that your fellow competitor correctly penalised himself two strokes for his putt striking your ball at rest on the putting green!


Charles said...

Dear Barry,
I have only discover and subscribed to your website lately. I must say that your website is very very interesting and informative and I learn a lot.
This comment is very much belated but I hope you will consider if this is also possible to be counted as a situation to have a hole in one with your second ball:
At a short par-3, you hit your tee shot high up in the sky and when the ball is just directly and vertically above or very close to the hole, a sea gull snatches you ball and fly away with it.
When the ball is snatched, it should be regarded as momentarily at rest and there4 according to Rule 19-1, a substituted ball should be dropped (and not placed, since it is not on the green). When dropped, it rolls in the hole or it rolls and overhangs at the hole. It then drops into the hole within 10 seconds after you walk up to the hole.

Do you think this can be counted as the 9th situation?

Warm regards,

Barry Rhodes said...


Regretfully your scenario cannot be counted as the 9th situation. Rule 19-1a states;

a. If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke other than on the putting green comes to rest in or on any moving or animate outside agency, the ball must through the green or in a hazard be dropped, or on the putting green be placed, as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where the ball came to rest in or on the outside agency, but not nearer the hole...

I disagree with you that the ball has momentarily stopped when taken by the gull. It was moving, as was the bird. The substituted ball obviously cannot be placed in the hole as it would be impossible to know that it was over the hole at the time. In fact, the player would be fortunate if his fellow competitors (marker) agreed the incident to have occurred anywhere over the putting green.


charles said...

Thank you Barry.
I did have some hesitations over the "momentarily at rest" in the air. So the ball was snatched and still moving and it was gone. Under the rules,how should the player deal with his next stroke, assuming that there is no penalty?

Thanks again,

Barry Rhodes said...


As in Rule 19-1a above, if the ball was snatched in the air over the putting green another ball is placed on the putting green beneath that spot. If it was through the green or over a hazard, the ball must be dropped beneath that spot.


John said...

I think I have a ninth case:
In stroke play, A & B both play shots which fly straight for the flag, which is partly hidden. A reaches the green first, sees a ball a foot to the right of the hole and, believing it to be his, putts at the hole. He makes a hash of it and it passes the hole and runs down the steeply sloping green, into the deep water hazard to the left of the green. B then arrives at the green and finds A's ball just over the green. It is virtually certain that A has played B's ball, so B is entitled to place another ball on the spot from which A putted. The ball then is blown by a gust of wind down into the hole.
Decision 15-3b/1

Barry Rhodes said...


Correct. Another 'wind blows ball at rest into the hole' solution.


John said...

Actually, there are a few variations on that, for circumstances when the player is entitled to substitute a ball, when it is lost or not immediately retrievable following actions by other agencies, opponents, caddies etc., or even some very unlikely ones to occur on a green, like lost or irretrievable in gur, movable obstructions etc.

gbgolfer71 said...

Not a "second ball" hole-in-one, but an interesting and supposedly true hole-in-one rules story.

Two competitors hit shots close to the flagstick whose hole itself is hidden from view. They arrive to see one ball six inches from the hole and the other in the hole. The rub is that they both were playing the same make, model, and number ball but NEITHER had marked their balls! As they could not identify which ball was which they both had to return to the tee, hitting THREE! (I'd read that this occurred somewhere in the UK many years ago).

Barry Rhodes said...

Thanks gbgolfer,

A seminal lesson in why we should put identification markings on our balls.

There is another possibility in your scenario that has Rules implications; the second ball may have struck the first ball, at rest on the lip, into the hole. The first ball should be replaced, but no-one saw it!


Mr. Bean said...

We found two more.

Rule 6-8: Committee orders discontinuation and at the resumption another ball (on the Putting Green) is substituted and rolls into the hole.

Rule 25-1: Ball is lost in any Abnormal Ground Condition on the Putting Green (or in the immediate vicinity) from where a ball replaced rolls into the hole.

Barry Rhodes said...

Thanks Mr. Bean.


Anonymous said...


In match play, player A hits his teeshot into the hole. So player A concedes player B's stroke before player B hits his tee shot. They both make 1 for the hole.

Barry Rhodes said...


But this does not meet the parameters of the question!


Steve said...

My scenario is that my buddy teed off on a par 3 and the ball went in the hole but we didn't see it and so when we got to the green we were looking around for his ball and couldn't find it thought it was a lost ball so he dropped and chipped another one on to the green and when I went to pull the flag his ball was in the hole is that still a hole-in-one

Barry Rhodes said...


As soon as the player's ball went in the hole it was out of play, so it was definitely a hole-in-one but does not qualify for my blog because it was the only ball that counted on that hole. The fact that they then played a second ball is not relevant, because the hole was already finished for that player.