Hole-in-One Guide: Recognition, Etiquette, & How to Display

So you hit a hole-in-one, eh? Congratulations!

Whether it’s your first ace or your 3rd (you lucky golfer) there’s no denying that it’s a special achievement worthy of some recognition and at least a little fan fair. If you’ve been hitting the greens for any length of time, though, you know the game of golf is also a game of rules.

If you’re planning on having your shot officially recognized, it’s a good idea to keep reading on how to do so.

We’ve also got some great suggestions on etiquette, as well as some awesome hole-in-one recognition products and displays to consider. 

At the Hole

Here’s what to do when you realize you’ve made a hole-in-one.

  • Get a photo of yourself at the teeing ground
  • If you have a laser, use it to measure the distance from your tee
  • If you don’t, record the distance as listed by the golf course
  • Take a picture of the ball in the cup
  • Get a video and pictures of you pulling the ball out
  • Leave the flag in when you pull out the ball
  • Save the ball—don’t play it again and lose it! (We’ll talk more about this below)
  • Don’t wash the ball (there are differing opinions about this one)
  • Take a photo of you holding the ball along with your playing partners at the flag

Hole-in-One Etiquette

Complete your round. The hole-in-one does not become official until you complete your round of nine or eighteen holes, so unless you aced the 18th hole you’ll keep playing afterward.

After the shot, keep your focus. You don’t want to see an unsightly double bogey or a 7 on your scorecard after that nifty 1, so even though you’ll probably be a little lightheaded with joy, be sure you tackle the next hole with everything you have and finish the round strong.

Get witness signatures. Have the scorecard signed by your playing partners(s), and save it. Keep in mind that according to the official rules of golf, a hole-in-one cannot be officially recognized unless it is witnessed. In other words, if you hit one while playing solo, you’re out of luck (as far as official recognition is concerned).

Make a copy. When you get back to the clubhouse, if you want a pristine scorecard to save and display, copy your scores onto a new scorecard and have anyone you played with sign that copy, too.

Buy a round for your group. And (depending on how generous you’re feeling) anyone in the clubhouse. This is probably golf’s most sacred tradition surrounding a hole-in-one, so be sure to play your part. Some courses or country clubs will have policies about this, often including a sort of “hole-in-one insurance” in the membership fees, so feel free to ask an attendant about it. Opening a bar tab for the entire private club could get pricey, so it’s always best to be prepared.

Have a cigar. Here’s something fun: A cigar holder shaped like a golf ball and tee. Have your own private celebration by smoking a cigar as you relax and reminisce about your amazing shot.

Keep the Ball

If you continue to play the ball, there’s always the chance that you may lose it on the next hole. Some golfers claim that the hole-in-one ball is their lucky ball; others say all the luck has been used so you may as well toss it into the woods. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

Most people keep the hole in one ball, simply because it is a great way to remember the shot. There are many ways to commemorate your hole-in-one, and some of the most popular hole-in-one trophies include a place to set and display the ball – see below.

Let the Golf Ball Manufacturer Know

Many golf ball manufacturers allow you to register your hole-in-one on their site, and sometimes they’ll even send you special prizes.

Usually, you can google the brand name plus the term “hole in one” to find out what’s available. Here are some links from some of the top golf ball brands:

Display the Ball

Personalized Hole in One Sign

Available here

When displaying a hole-in-one golf ball, several pieces of information are also included such as the date, hole number, golf course, yardage, and/or club used.

Often witnesses or any additional special information is added — on your birthday, first day of retirement, played course the day after the Masters, first time golfing, low round score, etc.

You can write the info on the ball in Sharpie, or just simply sign and date it then set the ball in a conspicuous place in hopes that someone will ask you about it:

Mark the details with a sharpie

You can keep it simple with a little metal stand, using something you find around the house or this nifty little golf ball stand crafted out of an authentic piece from a Cessna airplane:

Metal golf ball display

There are many more ways to showcase your hole in one golf ball, from simple cases, to all manner of plaques and displays.

Here are two of our favorites:

Hole in One Lit Display
Wooden Sign with Golf Ball Holder for Hole in One Ball

See a complete selection of customizable hole-in-one ball displays, plaques, and commemorative cases.

Other Fun Stuff

Read Next: 40 Hole in One Gifts to Celebrate an Amazing Shot

hole in one golf ball - pin it image
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Daniel Szczesniak

Daniel launched All Gifts Considered in 2013 to help people find the best gift ideas for anyone and any occasion. He has worked for Northwest Gifts, an online gift shop based in Oregon specializing in American-made and personalized gifts, for...

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