Published by : Stuart McLean - 14 January 2021

Cash prizes for holes-in-one are being offered by a company at numerous golf clubs – the entry fee is R100 to try and win R100 000 on
a specific par 3. The odds are not particularly good though when you consider that those on an average golfer having an ace are 12 000 to 1.

Views from the tees looking down on the green of the fifth hole at Cotswold Downs.

Just how difficult it is to have an ace with a big prize on the line is illustrated by the compelling situation at Cotswold Downs, the Durban golf estate, where for the last three years they have enticed tens of thousands of golfers to put down cash for the remote possibility of making an ace on the par-3 fifth hole.

It costs a more reasonable R20 to enter, rather than R100, and R5 of that goes to local charity iThemba, who have received R190 000 to date.

Cotswold Downs invested in 3 cameras to monitor the fifth hole, which is unique in being played from an extremely high tee to a green fronted by a river. The tee shot – between 156 metres from the yellow tees and 128 from the red – is not unduly difficult, yet there have only been 3 aces there since the concept was started on December 7, 2017. The reason being the hole demands the perfect shot to find the bottom of the cup. The distance must be judged exactly, because a ball falling vertically is not getting any favourable bounces as you normally might on a flat par 3.

Currently the pool has reached its highest ever total of R365 000. The last time the pool was won was in June 2019 by Cotswold Downs resident Peter Griffin. He pocketed R90 000. In February 2019 Laurie Burn netted himself R200 000. There was another ace when the pot was standing at R35 000, but the golfer in question had mistakenly assumed his playing partner had bought a ticket for him. The camera photos showed a golfer in abject misery at having made an ace!

Terms and conditions attached to the entry fee is that an ace has to be made on a golfer’s first attempt of the day at No 5. No trying again!

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