Hole-In-One Shot: Easier in Disc Golf or Ball Golf?

If you’ve been playing disc golf for any amount of time, you’ve probably often dreamed of throwing a hole-in-one. What is rarer though, a hole-in-one in disc golf or regular ball golf?

Here is why a hole-in-one is so difficult and if disc golf or ball golf is harder to nab that elusive ace.

Is It Easier to Get a Hole-In-One in Golf or Disc Golf?

It is far easier to get a hole-in-one in disc golf than it is in traditional ball golf. Statistically, the odds of shooting a hole-in-one is ball golf is 12,500 to 1, according to AHNO. A person is much more likely to throw an ace in disc golf. In 2018, 44.2% of all disc golf players reported throwing at least one hole-in-one.

In this post, I’ll explain in detail why a hole-in-one or an ace is so much harder in ball golf than disc golf.

hole-in-one for golf

What Are the Odds of a Hole-In-One in Ball Golf?

According to American Hole ‘n One, the odds of a typical golfer shooting a hole-in-one is 12,500 to 1. However, for higher-skilled professional golfers the odd increase they will shoot a hole-in-one to around 2,500 to 1.

Given the popularity of ball golf, it’s easy to see from these odds hitting a hole-in-one is a rare event.

There is one interesting statistical fact about professional golfers and a hole-in-one. During a professional tournament, there are on average about 144 participants. So, what are the odds of one of these 144 players making a hole-in-one?

The odds that one of those professional players making a hole-in-one is 1 in 4.5.

So, what this means is that during a four-day professional tournament with an average number of golfers, the chances of at least one player making a hole-in-one is nearly 100 percent!

What is it Called When You Get a Hole-In-One in Disc Golf?

In disc golf, the term used to describe a hole-in-one throw is an “ace”.

An ace means the same thing as a hole-in-one in ball golf. It means that it took only one throw to complete the hole.

This is why an ace in disc golf or a hole-in-one in ball golf is so difficult. Throwing the disc from the tee into the basket with a single throw takes an incredible amount of accuracy and in some instances, quite a bit of distance to how the chains for an ace.

It doesn’t matter what the par for the hole is, it could be a par 3, par 4, or even a par 5 hole. If you throw a disc from the tee and hit it in the basket, it’s an ace on the scorecard.

How Common or Rare is a Hole-In-One (Ace) in Disc Golf?

While throwing an ace in disc golf is much more common than hitting a hole-in-one in golf, throwing an ace is still fairly rare. But other factors can increase the odds that I’ll talk about in just a minute.

So, what are the odds of getting a hole-in-one in disc golf?

In a 2018 survey of disc golf players, 55.8% of all respondents reported that they didn’t throw a single ace the entire year.

But, what this also means is that 44.2% of respondents recorded at least one ace in a year of playing disc golf. That’s pretty good odds then, right?

While it looks like anybody will have about 50-50 odds of throwing an ace in a given year of playing disc golf, this still doesn’t tell the whole story.

Not surprisingly, most of the aces recorded in disc golf were thrown by predominately advanced and professional level players. While 80.9% of beginners and 58.8% of intermediate players recorded 0 aces.

So, it’s much rarer for a beginner or intermediate-level player to throw an ace. It’s much more common for higher-level players to record a hole-in-one.

Is a Hole-In-One Luck or Skill in Disc Golf?

Is throwing an ace in disc golf and hitting a hole-in-one in golf the result of pure skill or pure luck?

Well, while it’s hard to measure luck, it’s easy to see that the more skilled a person is at either disc golf or traditional ball golf, the more likely they are to record a hole-in-one.

The truth of the matter is that there is probably a mixture of quite a bit of skill and a little bit of luck.

The more you play, the more you practice, the more likely you’ll be to get that ace or hole-in-one.

Why Is An Ace in Disc Golf More Common Than Ball Golf?

We know that throwing an Ace in disc golf is much more common than in ball golf. But why? Three main reasons make a hole-in-one much more common for disc golf than ball golf.

Hole Distance and Par

One obvious difference between disc golf and ball golf is that a ball golf course has many more long-distance holes that are par 4’s and par 5’s.

The average golf course will have 3 or 4 out of 18 holes that are a par 3, and as a result, reachable from the tee by a golfer to be able to hit a hole-in-one. The average par 3 will be 250 yards or less.

Contrast this with a disc golf course, and the number of the shorter par 3 holes jumps to an average of 10 or 12 per 18 holes on a course.

This means that the number of holes that are reachable from the tee box is significantly higher on a disc golf course, making a hole-in-one much more likely.

Disc Golf Basket vs. Ball Golf Hole

The goal of disc golf and ball golf is the same. Hit the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes, or throw the disc into the basket in the least amount of strokes.

However, for a disc golf player, that task is made a little easier by the size of the basket, compared to the size of a hole for a golf ball.

For example, the hole on a golf course is about 4.25″ in diameter, whereas the basket is 57″ in diameter. the disc compared to the basket has a much greater chance of hitting the chains than a golf ball does of rolling into a 4.25″ diameter cup in the ground.

Round Duration

More holes played in a shorter amount of time will mean more chances to hit that ace or hole-in-one. A round of disc golf can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2.5 hours. Ball golf can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to play a round.

Disc golfers are going to play more rounds, more frequently than normal ball golf. More shots mean more opportunities to throw that ace.

Disc Golf Ace Etiquette

When a player throws an ace playing disc golf, it’s common and understandable to want to capture the moment.

After all, it doesn’t happen often and you’re probably going to want to remember it. Especially if it was your first ace.

First, I’ll start with what you shouldn’t do. Don’t sign the tee or the target on that hole. You might have noticed that other players have marked the hole too after throwing an ace, but this is poor etiquette.

Best practice if you want to commemorate the moment is to write directly on the disc. Sign the disc with the date, distance, hole, and course right there on the disc.

A lot of players will go ahead and retire the disc, and some will continue to play with that disc. It’s up to you.

Final Thoughts | Disc Golf Hole-In-One

Nothing quite compares to throwing that very first ace on the disc golf course. I’ve never personally shot a hole-in-one playing ball golf. But, I know for sure that it would be a truly exciting achievement.

For disc golf players, it’s good to know that throwing an ace is way more achievable than you think. Plus, it’s also much easier to do too.


Hi, my name is Marty. Sporting Disc is dedicated to delivering actionable tips and information when it comes to enjoying any disc sport. Whether it's disc golf, ultimate frisbee, or any other disc sport, I want to help anyone get out there and take their game further.

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