With around 450 million rounds played in the United States each year and most courses featuring three to six par-3 holes, it is understandable that plenty of golfers besides Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods will record a hole-in-one.
Bet the ranch that no one else will score their hole-in-one the way 36-year-old Allison Koehnke did.
Hole-in-one statistics at a glance
The National Hole-in-One Registry calculates the odds of a professional golfer acing a hole to be 3,000-to-1. Low-handicap golfers come in at 5,000-to-1, and those of us who alternate shots off the tee with swigs out of a beer bottle come in at 12,000-to-1.
PGA Tour players typically account for around a combined 30 holes-in-one a season, and the average U.S. course reports between 10 and 15 a year, with players’ average handicap a 14.
There is the occasional report of a hole-in-one being made on a par-4 hole, but the overwhelming majority are iron shots on the shorter par-3s. That wasn’t the case with Allison Koehnke at the Bandon Dunes Resort in Bandon, Oregon, on Aug. 14.
A high-end course in the Pacific Northwest
The Sheep Ranch course at Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon isn’t a likely choice for average weekend golfers. The resort officially opened the course on June 1 and charges its guests $295 for a round. The greens fee is $345 for everyone else.
Sheep Ranch’s 16th hole plays 102 yards with an unimpeded tee-to-green path and a closely cropped fairway. The resort’s own description of the hole offers no insight into the odds of a hole-in-one but suggests that the key to par “is making sure you can lag the first putt close.”
No one thus far had taken the suggestion as literally as Allison Koehnke did her first time playing the course. Nestled close to the Pacific Ocean, the courses at the resort are vulnerable to windy conditions at times. But being admittedly inconsistent with her shot-making is why Koehnke had pulled the putter out of her bag a few times rather than playing short irons.
According to Golf Digest, Koehnke, who was playing alongside her husband, saw a unique opportunity at No. 16. With a clear line to the green and the fairway in immaculate condition, she pulled the putter from her bag. After following a suggestion from her caddie on how to place the tee, she addressed the ball.
A hole-in-one with a putter
Allison Koehnke’s husband had hit first and reached the green. As she prepared to tee off with the putter, he had the presence of mind to record the moment just in case something unusual happened. As it turned out, there would be two unusual developments.
Koehnke took a few practice swings before settling on how hard she would hit the combination chip and putt. She drew the club back about waist-high and connected for a shot that outdid even the longest putt in PGA Tour history.
After what felt like an eternity, the ball reached the green and produced surprise result No. 1: it hit her husband’s ball. “It was scrappy,” she joked. “I’m a scrappy player.”
And then came the real payoff. Koehnke’s ball redirected and rolled into the cup for her first hole-in-one, prompting her to drop to her knees in joy.
“This is beyond unreal. I never thought this would happen to me. I never thought I could hope for a hole-in-one.”Allison Koehnke