Until last Friday, June 22, each had carded 16 holes in one during their amateur golf careers. But when the 69-year-old Maddox struck his ball with a pitching wedge from the 118-yard par 3 No. 12 hole, it only took a few moments to realize he had taken the lead with his 17th ace.
“It was exciting. Rex and I have been playing golf together for a long time and it was appropriate that the tie-breaker came when we were playing together,” says Maddox.
All but three of Maddox’s aces have come at Musgrove Country Club, where he has holed out his tee shot at least once on each of the club’s five signature par 3’s. He also carded an ace at Bay Point in Panama City, Fla., and had two more during a four-day tournament in the Dominican Republic.
Murray, on the other hand, will not give up easy. He claims that since two of Maddox’s aces occurred outside the United States, that he should be leading, 16-15. “They shouldn’t count outside the United States,” Murray said with a sheepish smile.
In all seriousness, the two golf buddies applaud one another’s golf accomplishments. While they both sport single-digit handicaps, they realize the primary ingredient to all those holes in one is not their ball-striking ability. In unison, they both exclaim, “Its luck!”
So what are the odds of carding a hole in one?
As close to an official source as exists on this topic is Golf Digest, which has provided “acer odds” since the 1950s. In the year 2000, the publication hired Francis Scheid, Ph.D., retired chairman of the math department at Boston University, to calculate the odds using the latest and best information available at that time.
According to Scheid, the odds are 5,000 to 1 for a “low-handicapper,” 12,000 to 1 for an “average player.”
If you are a low-handicapper and play 1,000 rounds in your life, according to Scheid, you have a 20-percent chance of recording an ace. If you play 5,000 rounds, your odds are 1:1, or basically guaranteed, he noted.
Other notable hole-in-one nuggets as presented by Scheid’s calculations:
• Tour player making an ace: 3,000 to 1
• Average player acing a 200-yard hole: 150,000 to 1
• Two players from the same foursome acing the same hole: 17 million to 1
• One player making two holes in one in the same round: 67 million to 1
Meanwhile, the hole-in-one saga will certainly continue between Bob Maddox and Rex Murray at Musgrove Country Club.