[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve heard this discussion come up a few times, what is harder, rolling a perfect game in bowling or getting a hole in one? Both sides can be taken without either person being wrong which is generally how blog posts get created. As a person who devotes too much time to both activities, I have an opinion.


People who say getting a hole in one is tougher are right because:

    • Bad Golfers Don’t get Hole in One’s –  A good shot for a bad golfer on a par 3 is getting it on the green. Anywhere on the green is a success as it’s not that easy to do. A golf cup is 4 1/4″ and a golf ball is 1.68 inches which from 150 yards does not go in very often.
    • The Odds – The odds of an average golfer getting a hole in one is 12,500 to 1. The odds of a tour professional are 2,500-1.

My favorite Hole in One to give an idea of what it takes:

Louis Oosthuizen at the Masters

People who say rolling a 300 is tougher are right because:

  • bowl1

    For a 300.

    Bad Bowlers Don’t Roll 12 Strikes in a Row – Our alley gives away a shot of old crow if you get a turkey, 3 strikes in a row. For a league bowler, it’s conceivable to roll a turkey every game. For your average bowler, getting a strike is hard enough. You don’t give away free anything unless it’s perceived as moderately challenging.

  • The Odds –  According to mathematicians, the odds of any adult male bowling a 300 game are 11,500 to 1. The odds of a professional PBA bowler rolling a perfect game are 460 to 1
  • It’s Gotten Easier to Roll a 300 With TechnologyThe experience of Mike Serigano, the general manager of the AMF Babylon Lanes, provides perspective. When he began working at the center in 1987, four perfect games had been bowled in its 30-year existence. Since September alone, he said, the alley has had 93 perfect games. Full article.

My Take

Discussing which is harder.

Discussing which is harder.

I have one hole in one in my career and exactly 0 300 games. Even though I couldn’t see my hole in one go in, it was on a good line and I envision it rolled in the cup without any funny business. I have 2 friends who’ve gotten hole in ones and one bounced off a rock and the other was from 100 yards (I’m not belittling the hole in one but the closer, the easier). I’ve had 2 shots this year which were within 6 inches of getting a hole in one. Hole in one’s happen although not very often. If I play 50 rounds of golf this year, and there are on average 4 par 3’s a course, it means I should get a hole in one every 6 years. Considering I’ve been golfing for 15+ years of my life, you’d think I’d have more by the odds. Now consider I’m a 15-20 handicap, anyone who is higher will have WAY more than 12,500-1 odds.

hqdefaultMy career high in bowling is 266. I’ve even bowled 14 strikes in a row but this was combining 2 games. It is inevitable I bowl a 300 as long as I keep bowling. I’m friends with 0 people who’ve rolled a 300. Random people don’t bowl 300’s. The odds of an adult male, 150 avg, bowling a 300 aren’t 11,500-1, they are a million to 1. A 200 avg bowler will do better than 11,500 to 1. A 250 avg bowler will bowl more 300’s than any human being can make hole in one’s in a lifetime. It’s a tremendous feat to roll a 300 but once you get to that level of bowling, you can continue to get 300’s at a pace unlike golf.

So if I were to enter this discussion of which is harder, the shittiest answer ever is, it depends. If you are really good at either game, it’s harder to get a hole in one. If you are really bad at the games, you won’t roll a 300, but you have a chance at a hole in one on any given swing.