# \$5M or 5 Years in Jail… For a Hole in One? Hypothetical Challenge

• Yes
22
• No
57

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Posted (edited)

No, I wouldn't take it for the reasons others have mentioned. Five years in jail is too big of a risk, even if my odds are pretty good.

Would be interesting if some amateur golfer of handicap 10-20 attempted this though. And if he got a HIO, keep doing the 30 days to see if he could get more.

Edited by Zeph

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13 hours ago, Pretzel said:

We know the odds are somewhere between 1 in 12,500 and 1 in 2,500, depending on player skill. Let's assume that I am on the better end and my odds are 1 in 4,000, and the total number of shots is still 7,500.

The overall probability of success is pretty simple, using the formula below:

PSuccess = 1 - (PFailure)^n

Where n is the number of failed attempts, and PFailure is the odds of failure for any 1 attempt (3999/4000). This gives us the overall probability of success as being:

PSuccess = 1 - 0.1533 = 0.8467

In other words, I might have an approximately 84.67% chance of success if I were to take this bet with my odds of any one shot being a hole in one being 1 in 4,000. I imagine the odds might go up after hitting so many 8-irons every day, so 1 in 4,000 seems like a somewhat conservative number.

I'd take this bet though. I have an approximately 85% chance of winning 5 million dollars, and if I fail I'm still young enough that 5 years in prison wouldn't be life-ruining (assuming it didn't come along with some kind of felony on my rap sheet).

However, the odds stated at the beginning are based on generally golfing attempts, which are usually one shot per hole per round on par 3 holes. In this bet, you have the same hole and same conditions each day. I think that would lower the original odds significantly.

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59 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

However, the odds stated at the beginning are based on generally golfing attempts, which are usually one shot per hole per round on par 3 holes. In this bet, you have the same hole and same conditions each day. I think that would lower the original odds significantly.

I think you would need to factor in fatigue, at least for a good number of people.  250 full swings is a lot of swings.  Repeat that for just a couple of days and some may be down for the count!

Risk of injury could play a role too...

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12 hours ago, Pretzel said:

I put 1 in 4,000 because the last official handicap I had was +1.2, so I figured  the assumption of being about half as good at hitting a hole in one as a pro seemed reasonable. No handicap on my profile currently because I didn't keep one last year.

That's not how cumulative probability works. Each event is independent, but the cumulative probability of multiple events is a factor of the probability of each event happening. Flipping 5 heads in a row, for example, is less likely than flipping 2 heads and 3 tails.

There is only one scenario where I lose the bet: when I miss every single shot. If I subtract the probability of this even from 1, I get the probability of this event NOT happening (in other words, I win).

To find the probability of two independent events happening in a row, you multiply their probabilities together as I did there (7,500 times, because it needs to happen 7,500 times in a row for me to lose). The odds of a coin being heads twice in a row is .5 x .5, or .25. Thus, the odds of me losing the bet is 1-(3999/4000)^7500.

To go back to the 5 heads example, the probability of anything BUT 5 heads happening is 1 - the probability of 5 heads. This is 1 - (.5)(.5)(.5)(.5)(.5), or 1 - (.5)^5, or 1 - 1/32. The probability of flipping a coin 5 times and NOT getting 5 heads is 31/32. This is similar to the proposed bet, because there is only one scenario where you lose (7,500 missed shots in a row), and every other possible scenario (all the way from 1 hole in one to 7,500 holes in one) is a win.

That is a great example and explanation.

And using your example I still vote no - because in my lifetime I have zero hole in ones. All I have ever done on every par 3 I have ever played is not get an ace. There are at least a couple of courses I've played 100+ times in my lifetime, now I know that isn't 7,500 times but I've never aced the holes I've played the most times.
No matter how good you are part of it is luck and part of it is skill. That luck has allowed some of my friends who are horrible golfers to get an ace or two, and another who is skilled I think is up to 5 or 6, but he plays about 125-150 rounds a year. I, obviously, haven't found the right mix...not yet.

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13 hours ago, Yukari said:

You are assuming each shot is dependent on the other.  One shot has no bearing on the next shot.  Therefore, each shot has 1 in 12,500 or 1 in 2,500 odds of going in.

It's like a flipping a coin.  After 1000 straight times it comes up heads, the next toss is still only 50-50 it would come up tails.

This.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

I think you would need to factor in fatigue, at least for a good number of people.  250 full swings is a lot of swings.  Repeat that for just a couple of days and some may be down for the count!

Risk of injury could play a role too...

Of course, but you also have the whole day to do it. If it was for \$5MM, you could also train for it. I am just saying that by making one particular hole, the odds have to be better than the collective par 3s the original odds were developed from.

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8 minutes ago, NJpatbee said:

This.

No, as @Pretzel explained, NOT that.

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4 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Of course, but you also have the whole day to do it. If it was for \$5MM, you could also train for it. I am just saying that by making one particular hole, the odds have to be better than the collective par 3s the original odds were developed from.

Totally agree with you. That's why my only question would be which prison? To me that's more important than which golf hole? I am at a terrible age for going to prison. I'm still young enough to potentially be somebody's bitch. But definitely too old to become an Alpha and get a bitch of my own.

So, once again. If it's only risking 5 years in the local pokey. That would be fine. I could work out, catch up on some reading. Sure I'd miss my family, but the conjugal visits could be fun. If I'm going to end up in the same prison Ed Norton went to in American History X … well....?????

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6 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

So, once again. If it's only risking 5 years in the local pokey. That would be fine. I could work out, catch up on some reading. Sure I'd miss my family, but the conjugal visits could be fun. If I'm going to end up in the same prison Ed Norton went to in American History X … well....?????﻿﻿﻿﻿

White collar prison. Nothing all that bad.

It's not like you're gonna be housed with actual violent criminals for failing to make an ace.

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2 minutes ago, iacas said:

White collar prison. Nothing all that bad.

It's not like you're gonna be housed with actual violent criminals for failing to make an ace.

Oh, then I'm definitely up for the challenge.

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6 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Oh, then I'm definitely up for the challenge.

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"You gotta real pretty 8-iron swing... for a boy."

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If I lose does the consolation prize include a pruno making kit?

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Posted (edited)
On 2/27/2019 at 4:08 PM, David in FL said:

Yeah, I get that.  I’d be tempted, but realistically even if the odds for me were dead even,  the upside isn’t worth the downside.  5 years in prison would have a much larger negative impact on my life, than \$5 million would have in improving it.

I agree, it’s not like 5M is going to impact my life in a positive way as 5 years in prison would negatively. I think I’ve actually gotten a hole at a driving range at the 158 yard hole though, but still not worth the risk to me.

Edited by Lihu

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

White collar prison. Nothing all that bad.

It's not like you're gonna be housed with actual violent criminals for failing to make an ace.

Well that changes everything! Could leave with a law degree and a fantastic network of powerful movers and shakers.  I'd come out financially better off either way!

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1 minute ago, 3jacker said:

Well that changes everything! Could leave with a law degree and a fantastic network of powerful movers and shakers.  I'd come out financially better off either way!

With the chances of going back to prison even higher 😂

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For a real crime, instead of "failure to hole out!"

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On 2/27/2019 at 6:45 PM, iacas said:

I'm blatantly stealing this from elsewhere (with some modifications).

Here's the situation.

Someone offers you the following wager: if you can make a hole in one on a regular par three green the length you hit your full 8-iron (so, say, 135 to 165 yards depending on your own personal abilities). If you succeed, you win \$5M. If you fail, you go to jail for 5 years with no chance of early parole.

Some other details:

• You have 30 consecutive days to complete the challenge.
• You get to hit up to 250 balls per day (so, up to 7500 balls).
• There's nothing tricky about the green or hole or anything - it's a regular hole, a regular green with regular size, firmness, stimp, etc.
• The hole location will change daily (and the tees will be adjusted so the yardage stays within five yards of your full 8-iron distance).
• Balls you previously hit magically disappear so you can't bank a ball in or something.
• Nobody else can play the hole - it's magically placed in your back yard or something.

Do you take the bet?

I would only take the bet if the green was kind of crazy. The course i grew up on (designed by Alister MacKenzie) some crazy sloped par 3's where you could sling a ball in there and you could get the slope to take it towards the hole. Flat green...I'm not taking it. Id prob lose either way anyways- I currently have 0.

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