The odds of hitting a hole-in-one is about 12,500 to 1, but even though the odds are low, golfers in Japan don’t like to take any chances and protect themselves if they happen to hit that perfect shot. They do this by purchasing “Hole-in-One” insurance.
If the golfer happens to hit a hole-in-one, the policy will cover the expenses related to the feat. There’s a really good reason why golfers pay for such a thing in Japan.
By tradition, a hole-in-one is believed to be a stroke of good fortune, and as such, the person should reciprocate to those around them in order not to have misfortune in the future. The golfer is expected to celebrate their feat by buying drinks, food, and gifts for all their golfing buddies, which can end up costing them a lot of money, upwards of $10,000 USD. This is where the “Hole-in-One” insurance comes in as it mitigates the risk by covering the cost of the celebration. To receive the benefit of the policy, a hole-in-one golfer just needs their shot witnessed by someone else for the policy to kick in.
“Hole-in-One” insurance came about in 1982 and was offered by the Kyoei Fire and Marine Insurance company to cover the lavish affairs brought on by a hole-in-one and to protect those who just didn’t want to take a chance. About 30 Japanese insurers now offer the coverage for around 6,905 yen ($65 USD) per year.
But the insurance isn’t just limited to Japan. It’s used by golf tournament organizers in other countries who offer some type of expensive prize for hitting a hole-in-one during a tournament. Policies range in price from $99 to $1600, depending on three factors; the number of golfers participating, the yardage to the hole, and the cash value of the prize for a hole-in-one.
So, if you’re golfing in Japan, it might be an excellent idea to either golf alone or make sure no one is looking in case you hit a hole-in-one. Or you could just spend the money and buy a policy.
Sources: Associated Press, Sora News, Woshiru