In many golf circles, it was (and still is) customary for the lucky golfer to buy drinks for everyone in the clubhouse after landing a hole-in-one. This often resulted in prohibitively expensive bar tabs.
And an industry sprouted up to protect these golfers.
A newspaper archive analysis by The Hustle revealed that hole-in-one insurance firms sprouted up as early as 1933.
Under this model, golfers could pay a fee — say, $1.50 (about $35 today) — to cover a $25 (~$550) bar tab. And as one paper noted in 1937: “The way some of the boys have been bagging the dodos, it might not be a bad idea.”
Though the concept largely faded away in the US, it became a big business in Japan, where golfers who landed a hole-in-one were expected to throw parties “comparable to a small wedding,” including live music, food, drinks, and commemorative tree plantings.
By the 1990s, the hole-in-one insurance industry had a total market value of $220m. An estimated 30% of all Japanese golfers shelled out $50-$70/year to insure themselves against up to $3.5k in expenses.
Here is the full story, via Mathan.