When you score an ace on the green, it’s generally a nice gesture to share the luck with everyone else.
After a stellar hole-in-one shot, a lucky (or skilled) golfer is traditionally expected to buy the next round of drinks at the clubhouse. Depending on the size of the crowd at the bar, that might amount to a tab with hundreds of dollars. Say, what?
But not every golfer wants to risk shelling out such funds every time they’re on their game. Enter: hole-in-one insurance policies.
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Prize indemnity insurance — a broad category of protections that includes half-court shots, home runs, and yes, hole-in-one promotions — has existed for decades, primarily in the sporting world. While it seems to have gotten its start by covering individual athletes, the practice has since evolved to protect tournament organizers and sponsors offering high-visibility prizes to winners.
Coverage against a sky-high celebratory bar tab? Sign us up.
While the exact origins are a bit hazy, hole-in-one insurance is believed to have originated in the United States sometime in the early 20th century. Golf.com reports that newspapers as early as 1918 contained advertisements for the policies.
In 1933, such an insurance policy might have cost a player $35 in today’s dollars, The Hustle writes. That’ll cover up to $550 for the bar tab after a particularly good shot.
While dubbed “insurance,” it’s important to note that these policies mostly function as funds, rather than being similar to a formal life or car insurance policy. Instead, players belonging to the same golf club often pay into a pool of money, which can then be used to cover the tab for whomever is lucky enough to score a hole in one.
Today, these protections might be included in golf club membership fees. This accompanies third-party golfing insurance, which can cover equipment theft, accidents, or putt-related injuries on the green. Fore!
The practice of buying drinks after an ace is especially honored in golfing circles in Japan, according to the Associated Press. Players might pay up to $3,500 a year to insure protection in case of a hole in one. The Hustle states that some 30 percent of Japanese golfers invest $50 to $70 a year in this type of insurance, which may cover up to $3,500 in tipples.
In the United States, hole-in-one insurance is more frequently associated with tournament organizers than individual players, according to The New York Times. These associations often promise enviable prizes like flashy cars and luxurious vacations to any golfer who scores an ace, and in the rare case an athlete wins, prize indemnity insurance may be used to cover the item’s value.
Considering purchasing hole-in-one insurance for your next day on the green? For a typical player, the odds of actually scoring an ace are 12,500 to one. The Professional Golfers’ Association states that only 1 to 2 percent of all golfers make the perfect stroke each year. So the real question is: How lucky do you feel?