As the golf season prepares to get into full swing, Bruntsfield Links member Gordon Bell is hoping to carry forward form that has seen him achieve three holes-in-one over the winter.
The former Prestonfield captain achieved the first of his trio of aces on the 168-yard heavily-bunkered 12th hole at Bruntsfield in November, a long deep green adding to difficulties off the tee.
Then he followed up at the fourth hole at North Berwick’s Glen course during an East Alliance meeting in January.
Finally, Gordon returned to Bruntsfield Links and holed-out at the 157-yard seventh, where a tricky sloping green has to be negotiated.
Both the Bruntsfield Links aces were achieved using a recently acquired 5-wood while, confronted by a strong wind at The Glen, he turned to his driver at the 180-yard uphill hole and, reducing his swing and having his hands down the shaft, steered the ball straight towards the target.
“I definitely regard my new 5-wood as a bit of a magical club and the last of the aces was different. That was the one occasion I actually saw the ball drop into the hole because of the contours,” said Gordon, who keeps in regular contact with Prestonfield by attending past captains’ functions and so on but regarded it as a “no brainer” when an opportunity to join Bruntsfield Links, near his home, spared him road trips across the city.
The 68-year-old former licensed trade company representative is no stranger to holes-in-one.
“Over the course of the past 45 years I’ve been fortunate enough to have ten!” recalled the four handicapper, who has been as low a one-handicap.
Statisticians estimate that the odds against an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,500-1 but these odds shrink to 2,500-1 when a professional golfer is involved.
Gordon himself has plenty of experience of the odds being upset. While working in the drinks industry, one of my customers achieved two holes-in-one during the same round using the same club.
“I thought this was sufficient to merit a call to the Guinness Book of Records, only to be told they had previously been notified about 17 consecutive holes-in-one!” he exclaimed.
In modestly playing down his winter achievement, Gordon highlighted the case of a Liberton member who achieved holes-in-one on his home course twice on the same day.
“It was a 36-hole competition and the player aced the eighth in the morning then returned with the same 6-iron to replicate the feat in the afternoon!
“I’ve a bit to do to catch up with that achievement.”
Three years ago Duddingston golfer Tommy Davidson, a former Hearts footballer, achieved three hole-in-ones within the space of six months.
Tommy, who made three first-team appearances for the Jambos in the late 1960s and also helped Bonnyrigg Rose win the Scottish Junior Cup, similarly played down the feat by referring to a past captain of Edinburgh Thistle having had 15 holes-in-one!