Time to take out insurance for that hole in one?
CHENNAI: Every game has its magical moment. Like a hat-trick in cricket or the swirling corner-kick bundling into the net in football. In golf, it is the ‘hole-in-one’. Also called an Ace, a hole-in-one is what a recreational golfer dreams of achieving as the ultimate testimonial to his/her golfing.
At the annual prize distribution held at the Madras Gymkhana Golf Annexe on Sunday, the loudest cheers and claps were reserved for the hole-in-one winners. Shouts of “Host a party,” filled the air. When it emerged that Venkat Krishnan had notched up two hole-in-ones, on the 4th and 6th, the good natured demand for two Scotch parties rose in high decibels.
An Ace is when your drive from around 150 yards or more goes straight into the hole. A few may scoff at it, labelling it part ability – and more of chance. Officially, the chance of a hole in one is fixed at 12500:1, so, there you go. Naturally, there are wild celebrations when such an event happens. While most recreational golfers do not get to enjoy this moment all their lives, there are a few who have repeated success at it – which indicates that it is not pure chance but a bit of one’s ability or playing style contributing to it. There are some who have made getting Aces a habit.
Display of honour: Getting a hole in one is an expensive journey. Looming large is the prospect of having to host a party to celebrate the same. Not only your own caddie but all the caddies in the group expect to be rewarded, and every other caddy will ask for a treat and settle, at the very least, for a biryani. That is however the simplest part. The expenses can be quite steep depending on where you achieve the feat. It is understandable that the party celebrating the first hole in one is more spontaneous than, let us say, the fifth or sixth by a player. In Japan, golfers have a hole in one insurance and that should indicate how expensive the celebrations can become.
The feat of a recreational golfer’s hole in one is newsworthy. In 2017, when Chennai golfer Gowri Shanker had a hole in one at the Stonebridge Golf Club, Tennessee, while travelling in the USA, the achievement found mention in the local newspapers. Many clubs have a board of honour at the entrance, displaying the name of those who have netted a hole in one, as a permanent honour. Traditionally, the hole in oners are felicitated at their club events with a plaque or a trophy.
The Albatross: While most Aces are achieved in Par 3 holes, where the distance is about 180 yards, there are fewer instances of a player acing a Par 4, where the distance is usually more than 300 yards at the least. This is surely more rare as it is three below par and hence qualifies as an albatross. It is estimated that the chance of a player getting an albatross is about one in six million.
Death overs drama: Hole-in-ones are the recreational golfer’s ultimate hall of fame. Top golfers will regale you with stories of how they played five under a course or pipped someone else in match play on the final hole – this particular victory is the equivalent of India scoring six runs off the last ball in a final. However, when it comes to a hole-in-one, it is a different feeling altogether.
In the Cosmo TNGF, the recent hole in one achievers include Bharath Sekar, Anil Nayyar and Stanley. There are a number of nineteen hole meets pending, quipped a golfer who hosted a couple of hole in one parties a few years ago.
(The writer is the Lady Captain at Cosmo TNGF)