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Ace maiden: Holes-in-one – the hacker's holy grail

by Robert Green

August 20, 2018

A short story in The Times on Friday noted a woman called Ali Gibb was playing in her club championship at Croham Hurst in Surrey when she had three holes-in-one. She may be the first person ever to achieve this feat on the same day. She aced the 5th hole in the morning and then again in the afternoon, backing up the latter by also making a hole-in-one at the 11th. “It was just a weird, weird day,” she said, adding that she had “had a great night”. I'll bet she did.

I seldom write about my own golf. For starters, it would mostly take too long on a per-shot basis. But at a time a few years ago when I had trouble hitting a green in one, I had two holes-in-one (my first ever) within the space of eight months. The first arrived in August 2014. I was playing with my two sons, Ben and Sam. I won't bore you with the details…no, I will. It was on the 8th hole at Highgate, my home club in London. I hit an average 6-iron that got a very helpful bounce and scuttled on until there was a ‘clunk' as it hit the flagstick. “It's in,” said Ben. I could tell it had stopped moving but couldn't be sure it was in. It was. In May 2015 I was playing at Highgate with Sam. I had a pitching-wedge to the 4th green. This looked a good shot while it was in the air but the green is slightly raised and it is impossible to see the bottom of the flag. As we approached the green there was one ball in view, which had to be Sam's. “My God,” he said, “is this one in as well?” – as if the previous one had happened the day before. It was indeed in as well.

Random hole-in-one stories are fun, such as the one of the two golfers at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire who once halved the 12th in one. Appropriately, the longest ever hole-in-one was made at Miracle Hill in Nebraska, a 444-yard belt by a gentleman named Bob Mitera. In 1971, John Hudson, a journeyman British pro, aced both the par-three 11th and the par-four 12th at Royal Norwich during the second round of the Martini Tournament. In 1974, a Leicestershire county golfer called Bob Taylor aced the 16th hole at Hunstanton on three successive days. You couldn't make this stuff up (although, and while I am 100% sure there was nothing amiss with Ms Gibb's scorekeeping, there have been occasions in the past when apparently happy acers have belatedly been discovered to have been telling porkies).

Among the other pleasures to be derived from it, there is one especially great thing about a hole-in-one. We can't all hit a 444-yard drive like Bob Mitera but in theory at least we are all capable of making an ace. I saw a link to an article in Golf Digest the other day which read: ‘Woman makes hole-in-one during first golf lesson'. I couldn't read it, though. I've gone over three years without one!

You can follow me on Twitter @robrtgreen and also on my other blog: f-factors.com