What Is A Hole Out In Golf?

Golf, a sport demanding precision and skill, invites players to navigate their ball into a diminutive hole in minimal strokes. The gratification derived from executing an impeccable shot, witnessing the ball land precisely as intended, is unparalleled. Yet, amidst the various golfing achievements, one stands out—the hole-out. This rare and exhilarating feat is a pursuit for golfers at every skill level. In this discourse, we will delve into the essence of a hole-out and its profound significance for golf enthusiasts.

What Is A Hole Out In Golf?

A hole out in golf is the ultimate goal for any player. It is a shot that finishes with the ball ending up in the cup or resting against the flag with any part of the ball below the surface of the putting green. This shot is known as the last shot that a golfer plays on any given hole. 

While most golfers hole out by tapping in a short putt, occasionally, they might achieve a hole out from a longer range with a long putt, a pitch, a chip, a full shot, or even a drive. 
If a player manages to hole out from the tee on a par-3, it would be a hole-in-one or an ace, and an eagle. If they accomplish the same on a par-4, it would be a hole-in-one, an ace, and an albatross.

In golf, a hole-out is the ultimate shot of a game, and every golfer cherishes the memories of it.

what is a hole out in golf
What Is A Hole Out In Golf?

This phrase can be used by commentators when a ball goes into a hole from a considerable distance. For easy to understand, here are some examples:

“And there it is! A brilliant shot from the fairway, and he holes out for an eagle on the par-5 18th hole!”

“After a perfect approach shot, she confidently putts from 120 yards, and she holes out for a birdie on the tricky 12th hole.”

The Origins Of A Hole Out

Golf enthusiasts and historians alike find themselves in a constant pursuit to trace the origins of the sport. While the origins of certain aspects of golf date back to ancient Roman and Chinese times, a definitive answer to who first achieved a hole-out shot remains elusive. 

What Is The Penalty For Not Holing Out?

In competition Individual Strokeplay, holing out on each hole is an essential part of the game. The main professional tours strictly enforce the rule that not holding out would result in an NR or No Return, which essentially means disqualification.

However, in formats such as Stableford, not holing out would simply mean no score is recorded on that hole without any penalties. Despite this discrepancy, it’s important to note that holing out on each hole is not required for handicapping purposes. Instead, a nett double bogey is awarded for the hole that hasn’t been completed. 

While the rule may seem strict, it ensures that players are held to the highest level of competition and fairness in the game of golf.

Do You Have To Hole Out?

In order to successfully complete a round of competition Individual Stroke Play, holing out on each hole is an absolute necessity. Failing to do so can result in the player’s score being marked down as NR or No Return, which essentially means disqualification. This rule is enforced by all major professional tours in order to maintain a level of competition and fairness in the game of golf.

In Match Play, a different set of rules is used compared to the standard Individual Stroke Play format. This is because the objective of Match Play is to achieve more holes than your opponent instead of achieving the lowest possible score. In this type of golf, you do not need to hole out as your opponent may concede the hole, allowing you to win without having to finish the hole. Ultimately, it is up to you and your opponent as to whether or not you need to hole out in order to win the match.

What Happens If The Golf Ball Goes In The Hole And Comes Out?

If a golfer’s ball goes into the hole and then comes out, it is usually considered to be bad luck. In competition Individual Strokeplay, the player must continue playing until either they successfully hole out, or their opponent concedes the hole to them.

In Match Play, players do not necessarily have to hole out in order to win the hole, so if one player’s ball goes in and out of the hole, it is up to them and their opponent as to whether or not they can count that shot. In terms of handicapping purposes, a net double bogey is awarded for any holes that are left incomplete.

What Happens If You Don’t Play A Hole In Golf?

In Match Play golf, players or teams may choose to concede a hole if they are not in a position to win it. This happens when they feel that it is futile to continue playing the hole, as their opponents may have an insurmountable lead. Players often choose to concede a hole in order to save time and effort and focus instead on the holes that they can still win.

Example Of The Famous Hole-Outs

One hole-out shot in history that stands out among the rest is Gene Sarazen’s at the 1935 Masters. Dubbed as “the shot heard around the world,” Sarazen’s shot was a four wood from 235 yards that found its way into the hole at the famous par 5, all while he trailed by four shots going down the 15th. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or a spectator of the sport, Sarazen’s remarkable feat is enough to make anyone marvel at the sport’s rich history.

Bob Tway‘s remarkable hole-out at the 1986 PGA Championship will forever be remembered in golfing history. On the tournament’s final hole, Bob Tway was able to make a miraculous shot from a bunker to win the championship. It was an unforgettable moment for all of those present, as he managed to achieve something that seemed almost impossible.

Robert Gamez‘s hole-out at the 1990 le Invitational at Bay Hill was one of the most impressive shots in the history of golf. From 176 yards out with a 7-iron, Robert managed to hole out from the fairway, resulting in an unforgettable victory. His shot has been remembered and praised ever since, and is a testament to the amazing feats that can be achieved in this great game.

To sum up, there have been many memorable hole-out shots throughout golfing history that have amazed and inspired generations of golfers. These remarkable accomplishments are reminders of the incredible potential that golf offers and should be celebrated by all who have the pleasure of witnessing them.


Why Is It Called A Hole Out?

In the context of golf, the term “hole out” refers to the act of getting the ball into the hole. It is called so because it signifies the completion of a hole, marking the end of a particular segment of the game and allowing players to move on to the next hole.

What Does Out Mean In Golf?

In golf, the term “out” refers to the first half of an 18-hole course, usually holes 1 through 9. It’s the opposite of “in”, which refers to the second half, typically holes 10 through 18. The phrase “out and in” is often used to describe a complete round of golf.

What Is The Final Hole In Golf Called?

The final hole in a standard round of golf is traditionally known as the “18th hole.” If the golf course has 9 holes, that means the final hole is the 9th.


In conclusion, a hole out is a thrilling and satisfying moment in the game of golf that marks the completion of a hole with a single stroke. While it may not happen often, it is a goal that all golfers strive for and provides a memorable experience that keeps them coming back to the course. Whether it’s a perfectly executed approach shot, a long putt, or a chip-in, a successful hole out can make a round of golf all the more enjoyable. So, keep practicing and aiming for that perfect shot that will allow you to celebrate your own hole out moment on the course.


  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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