A golf course is the grounds on which the sport of golf is played. It consists of a series of holes, each consisting of a tee box, a fairway, the rough and other hazards, and a green with a cylindrical hole in the ground, known as a “cup”.
The cup holds a flagstick, known as a “pin”. A standard round of golf consists of 18 holes, and as such most courses contain 18 distinct holes however, there are many 9-hole courses and some that have holes with shared fairways or greens.
There are also courses with a non-standard number of holes, such as 12 or 14. A hole out is basically any golfing shot that finishes with the ball ending up in the cup, (or resting against the flag with any part of the ball below the surface of the putting green.)
It’s the last shot that a golfer plays on any given hole. More often than not, a golfer holes out by tapping in a short putt but just occasionally they might achieve a hole out from longer range – A long putt, a pitch or chip, a full shot, maybe even a drive.
If a player has a hole out from the tee on a par-3 that would be a hole-in-one or an ace. It would also be an eagle. If they managed to hole out from the tee on a par-4, that would be a hole-in-one, an ace and an albatross (or double eagle).
A player could hole out from any position, with any club and for any score. It simply means that the shot, whatever its type, has caused the ball to find the hole.
In competition Individual Strokeplay, as we generally see on the main professional tours, not holing out would mean an NR or No Return. To complete a full round of competition Individual Strokeplay, you must hole out on each hole
In other formats of golf, like Stableford for instance, not holing out would just mean no score is recorded on that hole. There’s no penalty.
If a ball goes into a hole and comes out again, it’s bad luck. The individual or team would have to play on until either, the ball is holed out, they give up or they concede, or are conceded the hole.