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While most of golfers spend a lifetime in pursuit of golf’s greatest achievement, a hole in one, the reality is that the odds are stacked against us. In fact, actuaries from insurance companies and the like have calculated the odds of an amateur golfer bagging an ace at a whopping 12,500 to 1 (where do they get these numbers from?!) and the odds of a Tour Pro achieving the feat at 2,500 to 1. Clearly then, holing out from the tee isn’t all that common.
However, we all know golf is a funny old game – Peter Alliss once described it as “an enigma wrapped in a mystery impaled on a conundrum” – and every now and again the seemingly impossible happens. The seemingly impossible certainly happened when a 52-year-old deaf golfer from Huddersfield defied odds of around 67 million-to-one to record not one, but two holes-in-one in the same round of golf!
Beth Bates, a part-time employee in a NHS maternity unit, aced the 206-yard par 3 8th and then followed it up with another at the 122-yard par 3 14th at Outlane Golf Club. Not only did Beth’s double defy the figures published by golf analysts and secure her soem major braggin rights among her golfing friends, but it also allowed her to lay claim to two BOSS watches courtesy of the BOSS Watches H1 Club, which rewards club golfers for every hole-in-one recorded during qualifying club competitions between April and November this year.
Bates, who subsequently saw her handicap cut from 16 to 13.4 following her winning nett 60 in the September monthly medal, lost her hearing in 2009, and began to play golf again after calling a halt to a promising junior career to concentrate on other sports.
An impressive junior, she recorded an incredible six holes in one and was even selected to play for the Yorkshire girls team, but gave up golf to coach gymnastics and trampolining aged 19.
She said: “When I lost my hearing I thought it was a good time to take up golf again.”
Earlier this year she was selected for England’s Deaf Golf team in the Four Nations Cup – against Wales, Ireland and Scotland – played at the Vale of Glamorgan last month. However, she pulled out of the team after being told she would not be allowed to take her hearing dog, Biscuit, a two-year-old cocker spaniel, with her on to the course, unlike Outlane which allows Biscuit in the club and on the course.
“I’d waited four years for my hearing dog, and she goes everywhere with me, so I wasn’t prepared to just leave her in the hotel room, as was suggested,” she added.
Recalling her two aces, Bates, who lip-reads, said: “I honestly couldn’t believe my luck. They are the two hardest par threes on the course. I normally score five on them so I saved a lot of shots. On the 14th it can be easy to end up with a five as it’s over a small ravine to an elevated green with bunkers guarding it. On the eighth I usually get four – it has out of bounds in the trees to the right and, on the left, it has a banking all the way down from tee to green and is the longest par three in Yorkshire.
“Everyone in the clubhouse knew about the first one, because we let the two people behind us play through when it happened, as I needed to calm down. They told everyone else so when I got back to the club house everyone said ‘congratulations’ and I said ‘no I’ve got two!’. I went back in the evening to buy drinks when the afternoon and evening ladies had played.”
She added: “I’m looking forward to receiving the watches – I can have one on each wrist!”
On one previous recorded occasion when a club golfer achieved the feat, experts said the odds were in the region of 67 million-to-one – roughly the same odds as winning the lottery four times.
Karen Jennings, from Worldwide Hole ‘N One – which specialises in providing hole-in-one insurance – said the chances of an amateur golfer recording two aces in the same round were “extremely remote”.
“The odds are almost impossible to add up, but it would be millions to one. It’s absolutely astonishing, and congratulations to Beth. If I was her I’d go straight out and buy a lottery ticket – it sounds like her luck is in!”
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