During a recent round of golf at my home course of Dunfermline Golf Club, I came within a whisker of making a hole in one on the 161-yard par 3 5th hole – ‘The Cadger’s Yard’. My trademark gentle fade worked the ball beautifully off the left bunker and onto the green where it landed and released towards the pin. From my position on the tee box, I was convinced it was in the hole until sadly when the ball came to a stop it was still visible.
As I approached the green I found my ball sitting around 1ft from the hole. One or two more rolls and it would have dropped. This near-miss was hard to take and reminded me of the one and only time I’ve made a hole in one, a story I thought I’d share with you in this blog post.
Prior to joining Dunfermline Golf Club, I was a member for many years at Burntisland Golf House Club and would regularly play in the weekly medals. The par 3 holes at Burntisland each provided a great opportunity to make a hole in one (or come close) due to their relatively short length and small greens, one of which was essentially a bowl that usually funnelled the ball into its core. During the main season, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear of one competitive hole on a weekly basis.
Sadly for me, I was never one of the lucky ones until one particular Saturday medal where I made my first ever hole in one…well, sort of. I’ll leave you to decide whether or not it should count but please do let me know what you think in the comments area below.
Standing on the 151-yard par 3 17th hole, ‘The Bottle’, I was level par (net) and hoping for a strong finish to my round to avoid a +0.1 handicap increase for what was probably the 4th or 5th consecutive week.
At the time, I remember the tee markers were at the very back of the tee and around 160 yards from the hole. There was a slight breeze into our face so I decided to take a 6 iron to ensure I made it to the green. I dispatched the shot and the ball headed straight for the pin. Not my usual fade off the left but as straight as I’ve ever hit a golf ball. This thing never left the pin which was positioned bang in the middle of the green.
My playing partners and I were all in agreement that this shot had a really, really solid chance of going in or at worst landing very close to the hole. The problem with the 17th at Burntisland is that from both the yellow and medal tees, you cannot see the hole as the green sits in a sunken area, with only the tip of the unusually long flagstick visible.
After my partners had hit their tee shots, I confidently began to walk up to the hole expecting to be fairly close.
As we approached the green we could only see two balls sitting there. Both of my playing partners had struck their shots well and were both expecting to be on the green. I made my way down and checked the balls, neither of which were mine. As I made my way to the hole, I began to get more and more excited with every step I took. The thought of not only making my first ever hole in one but in a medal competition had me buzzing. With this in mind, imagine my disappointment when peered over the edge of the cup to find it completely empty. Not a thing lying inside. Nada.
At this point, bemused by my vanishing golf ball, we each began searching for it. We knew it hadn’t gone left or right, and with a 6 iron it definitely wouldn’t have landed short of the green, so the only probability was that it had gone long and landed in the rough or shot over the fence behind the green. We searched for my ball until our allotted 3 minutes were up but sadly there was to be no sign of it.
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time to reload
Somewhat dejected, not only by the fact that I hadn’t made a hole in one but by the fact I was now looking at likely making a bogey or worse with my second ball off of the tee and another +0.1 for the handicap, I headed back to the tee, this time with my 7 iron in hand.
Assuming I had sent my shot long with the 6 iron, I decided to take one club less in the hope that I could at least keep the ball in play and limit the damage to a bogey/double-bogey.
As had been the case with my previous shot, I dispatched another perfect tee shot right at the pin. As before, this one never left the flag. Satisfied that this one was in play and probably fairly close, I collected my tee and headed up to the green.
hop, skip and a hole
Imagine my surprise when looked down to the green and saw one of my playing partners pretending to worship me like some sort of golfing royalty. Before I even had a chance to look for my ball, my other playing partner informed me that my ball had gone in the hole – a hole in one…
Apparently, it had taken one bounce and skipped straight into the hole for an unlikely par. Almost immediately, I went from being dejected and frustrated to smiling like a kid in a sweet shop. What’s more, I managed to play the final hole level par and submitted a net 70 which meant I safely avoided another handicap increase.
but Should it count?
I guess it begs the question as to whether or not I can forever claim this as a hole in one? Technically, I did manage to get the ball into the hole in one shot from the tee but it was my third shot on the hole. Personally, I’ll always view this one as a near hole in one and don’t feel that it gives me entry to the hole in one club, so I’ll keep trying. It’s the closest I’ve ever come but hopefully one day I’ll be able to recall a time when I made a one with one shot from the tee.
In my mind, there are three scenarios no golfer ever wants to experience when making a hole in one…and I’ve definitely experienced two of them:
- Making a hole in one with your second ball off of the tee
- Making a hole in one when you’re playing by yourself
- Making a hole in one on a green you cannot see from the tee
So there you have it, my hole in one (or not hole in one) story. I’d love to know whether or not you’d class this hole in one as a legitimate hole in one or if you have ever managed to make a hole in one yourself.
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Thanks again for reading – I hope you enjoyed!