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A round-up of American hole-in-one jurisprudence

Of all the curious things one can get insurance cover for – the golfing fraternity’s ‘hole-in-one-insurance’ is surely one of the curiouser. Why would one want insurance against a hole-in-one? The answer lies in the substantial cash bonus prizes which (some) golf clubs offer to those players who manage to get one. From the club’s point of view, it can be costly, and that’s something that they want to insure against. Details are provided in a 2004 paper for the Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems (10/01/2004) entitled : A GOOD PIECE OF PAPER SPOILED:1 AN EIGHTEEN-HOLE ROUND-UP OF AMERICAN HOLE-IN-ONE JURISPRUDENCE by Parker B. Potter Jr.. The author puts the odds of holes-in-one [or should that be hole-in-ones?] at 1:40,000, and goes into substantial detail regarding the perplexing legal aspects. Citing, as an example, a legal case from 1992.

“Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. (hereinafter ‘Crawford’) had ‘agreed to provide a new vehicle to any participant who scored a hole-in-one on a certain hole during the tournament.’ The specified hole was number nine. After Don Zamora ‘scored a hole-in-one on physical hole #9, but on his second time around the course,’ he claimed the prize, which Crawford delivered. Crawford, in turn, made a claim on its hole-in-one insurance carrier, the now-familiar National Hole-in-One Association (‘Hole-in-One’), the potential victim on hole number five and the defendant on hole number six.”

The author also offers advice for insurers :

“When advising clients who offer hole-in-one insurance, tell them to write policies that contemplate every conceivable possibility, or get ready to write a check. In a world where the term ‘shots’ can be considered ambiguous, as in Crawford Chevrolet, Inc. v. National Hole-in-One Ass’n, only the most precise and detailed policy language will protect an insurer from paying when a golfer has scored a hole-in-one in a covered event.”

If you’d like to take out hole-in-one insurance, there are a number of firms worldwide who will cover you – e.g. United States, Australia, United Kingdom.

Note 1: The paper’s title pays tribute to Mark Twain, who some say is said to have said : “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Also see (Insurance related) Calculations: Insurance for clowns
Also see (golf related) 2012 Yearly Golfball Patents: A look back

Breaking(ish) News: ‘Golf is no longer a crime, decrees China’s Communist party’ The Guardian, (14th April)

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