Veteran East London Golf Club member Denis Jones achieved a historic feat in 2022 at his home club when he had a hole-in-one at the 17th.
What was significant about the ace was that Jones had thus eagled every hole at ELGC in his lifetime of playing there. His eclectic score is 36-under-par 37 for the par 73 layout!
“I’ve been a member since 1969, so I’ve played thousands of rounds,” said Jones, who represented Border and Eastern Province in numerous interprovincial tournaments over the course of 50 years, and won the SA Mid-Amateur Championship at ELGC in 2011 at the age of 61.
“East London is a course where eagles are a greater possibility than elsewhere. We have some short par 4s where you can drive the green and putt for eagles. I’ve lost count of the number I’ve made on Nos 5 and 6 (both par 4s). We also only have three par 3s.
“And because of the windy conditions the par 5s are often in reach of a second shot downwind. Funny though, I’ve never holed out for an albatross anywhere.
“Strange that because I’ve holed out more times with my Ping S59 4-iron than any other club, but only on par 4s. I had two eagles at the dogleg par-4 eighth into the wind with this club, and it also helped me in my eagles at three of our longest par 4s, Nos 9, 12 and 14. I’ve had a brace of eagles at each of three other par 4s, 13, 16 and 18, where a downwind tee shot can end close to the green.
“Having eagled every par 4 and par 5, I was still two holes short of having an eagle on all 18, which had become my goal. My only holes-in-one at ELGC had been at the par-3 second. Three there. But for 50 years I couldn’t manage a hole-in-one at either the tenth or 17th. I always found these two par 3s difficult holes at which to get close to the pin.
“Eventually I had my first ace at No 10 in 2019, and that left No 17. I made that one on June 29 this year in a Wednesday club competition. It was the ninth ace of my career. And can you believe that in the same round I holed out for an eagle two at No 13! I broke my age with a 70.”
The only other golfer known by SA Top 100 Courses to have eagled every hole of his home course is Stath Christie, who achieved the feat at King David in Cape Town over a period of 50 years from 1965 to 2015, when the course closed. He was twice a club champion. Now 81, he’s a member at King David Mowbray GC, the two clubs having merged in 2015. Christie, who had 8 aces, actually eagled every hole at King David on at least two occasions other than the difficult par-3 12th.
Houghton Golf Club in Johannesburg have a framed eclectic scorecard of 38 in the clubhouse by the late Jeffrey Goldberg. In his 55 years as a member on the old layout he eagled 16 of the 18 holes. Goldberg, who was in the Houghton team which won the Transvaal League title in 1957, failed to eagle two of the par-5s, the seventh and 12th. That course had 12 par 4s, three par 5s and three par 3s.