Each year, over 700,000 spectators travel to Scottsdale, Arizona, with the hopes of seeing a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale during the Phoenix Waste Management Open


Since 1987 there have been 26 aces during the tournament, including 9 on the 16th hole alone. 


The most famous ace was by Tiger Woods in 1997 (aka the reason the grandstands are there!)

The Loudest Hole in Golf


Every year, the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is surrounded by 16,000+ fans, eagerly waiting to watch the drama unfold


The 16th is only 173 yards from the tips, and often plays even shorter, with most pros taking a wedge or 9-iron


Because of this, the grandstands that surround the 16th hole are some of the most coveted seats in all of golf


So much so that people will camp out all night for a chance to experience the loudest hole in golf and maybe even see an elusive hole-in-one

The Elusive Hole-in-one


Making a hole-in-one is part skill and part luck


And while you may not have the same skill as a Tour Player, you can model their strategy to make yourself luckier!


So what can we learn from those who have aced the 16th hole?


Remember this…


The goal is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible, and there’s no one way to get the job done


Just look at the aces over the years you’ll see players hitting different clubs, different distances, to different hole locations, all on the same hole!



1988 Hal Sutton 3rd
1990 David Edwards 1st
1990 Brad Bryant 3rd
1991 Jay Delsing 9 Iron 1st
1997 Tiger Woods 9 Iron 152 yards 3rd
1997 Steve Stricker 6 Iron 4th
2002 Mike Sposa 7 Iron 2nd
2011 Jarrod Lyle 8 Iron 150 yards 3rd
2015 Francesco Molinari Pitching Wedge 133 yards 3rd


That’s because players are allowed to use any club, at any time, from anywhere, within the rules of the game


So if that’s the case, how do you narrow it down and commit to your shot?


It’s all about asking the right questions before hitting the shot


The 5 Questions


Every player on tour has a pre-shot routine they follow before every shot. 


And while each routine may vary slightly from player to player, nearly every one of them talks about these 5 questions with their caddie before making their swing…


  1. How Far? – Anything distance related should be one of the first things you consider when planning your shot. How far to the hole? How far to carry the ball onto the green? How far to fly over the green? How far to cover that bunker? Etc.


  1. What’s In Between? – Now that you know how far everything is, it’s important to consider what’s between you and your landing area.What does your ball have to navigate over, under, around, or through, to get to the hole? Do you have to carry water? Sand? Grass? Is there an elevation change or wind that needs to be considered? 


  1. What’s your Lie? – How the ball is sitting greatly determines the quality of contact and the flight of the ball. Is the ball in the fairway? Rough? Sand? Under a tree? Is the ground flat and level? Uphill? Downhill? Sidehill? Understanding how different lie conditions affect the ball will help you better predict your next shot


  1. Landing Area? – Depending on the shot you hit, where the ball hits the green isn’t always where the ball finishes. The type of shot that was hit, the club and ball  that were used, and the conditions of the course will determine how much a ball rolls out or spins back so choose your landing area accordingly


  1. Which Club? – Lastly, you need to choose a club and a shot to commit to. It’s important to remember that there’s no one right way to get the job done however it’s critically important that you commit to whatever shot you choose


Process over Result


It’s easier said than done but focusing on the process is more important than focusing on the result


So the next time you play, take the time to ask these 5 questions before each shot


Let the shot that’s in front of you determine the swing you make, not the other way around


Stay patient, remain calm, follow the process, trust yourself, and you too will be hitting the ball closer to the hole more often


And who knows… the next par 3 you play just might be a hole-in-one!






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