I seldom write about my golf. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that it would take too long if done on a per-shot basis. But a couple of occurrences within the past 18 months have caused a temporary re-think.
I have been playing golf for over 40 years. Having never had a hole-in-one before, quite bizarrely I had two within less than ten months, this while generally producing some of the lowest-level fare that I even I can muster. Genuinely, a green-in-one feels like an achievement on most days.
The aces both came at Highgate Golf Club in North London, the first arriving in August 2014, the second last May. The first time I was playing with my two sons, Ben and Sam, the second time with just Sam. I won’t bore you with the details…no, I will. The first was with a 6-iron on the 8th hole. The ball was struck OK, landed on the front of the green, took a friendly bounce to the right and scuttled off towards the flag set at the back.
“That could be close,” I said. There was a ‘clunk’ as it hit the pin. The three of us looked at each other in wonderment and Ben said: “It’s in.” Having significantly worse eyesight, I said: “I can tell it’s not moving any more but are you sure it’s in?” He was. It was.
The second involved a pitching-wedge to the 4th. This was a good shot, on line all the way. The green is slightly higher than the level of the tee and you can’t see where your ball has finished. As we approached it, there was one ball, obviously Sam’s given the direction of his tee shot, to the back left. There was no other in sight. “My God, is this one in as well?” he asked, as if the earlier one had happened the day before. It was in as well. As befitting his generation, Sam had posted the news on Facebook before we’d got home. Ben wrote: “That’s the front nine taken care of, now for the back nine.”
One of the saddest shots in golf – maybe even worse than making three off the tee? – must surely be a hole-in-one when playing on your own; without anyone to witness it. I was thrilled that mine came when playing with my kids. The pleasure was doubled. Beyond doubled. Anyhow, it having no longer been any kind of goal to do this (if it was ever going to happen, I’d always figured it would have been when I was a vaguely competitive 7-handicapper rather than off a very shaky 15) I now, as Ben says, have the back nine to tackle. However, I’m not advocating that the club install webcams beside the 11th and 17th greens on the just-in-case basis…
…whereas Louis Oosthuizen’s remarkable hole-in-one at the 16th hole on the last day of the recent Masters Tournament was, of course, caught by the TV cameras. His tee shot seemed on track to go in until it struck the ball of J.B. Holmes, from where it kicked gently to the right, took a slightly different slope and went in anyway. Golf meets billiards, you might say.
Robert Green’s ‘Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius’ is available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter @robrtgreen