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Belfast golfer Martin Courts hits 'cheapest hole-in-one there's ever been'



Martin Courts

Martin Courts

Martin Courts

Getting out on the golf course after the easing of restrictions has been an achievement in itself for most given the struggle it has been to find tee times, but for one golfer his first round back saw him hit another milestone.

Blackwood's Martin Courts, playing for the first time since the course reopened on Wednesday, was near the end of his round when he achieved the rare achievement of a hole-in-one.

Stepping up to the 158-yard par-three 16th, Courts struck a seven-iron that went "straight down the middle" and then rolled into the hole - not that he was aware of it though!

"We couldn't see it drop. The green is raised slightly, so you can't see the bottom of the pin," explained the 16-handicapper.

"The guys I was playing with said it was going to be close, but as soon as we got up to the green we couldn't see it, even though the inside of the holes are turned upside down to prevent people putting their hands all the way inside the hole.

"We thought it must have rolled off and we started looking around the green for it. Then my mate looked in the hole and said it was there! It was some experience. That was the first hole-in-one I've ever seen let alone had! It wasn't a bad round overall either. There were a few good shots, a few bad shots, but then that happened! It made my day."

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The odds on the average club player getting a hole-in-one are estimated to be somewhere around 12,500-1 - and those odds would even increase given the amount of time most golfers have spent without hitting a shot recently - so, naturally, the trio's celebrations were not muted.

"There was a group on the 11th hole who said they could hear us shouting all the way from the 16th green, so I guess we were pretty loud! Nobody complained so I don't think anybody minded!" laughed Courts.

Fortunately for the Belfast man the current coronavirus restrictions may have spared him the more costly side of carding an ace as well.

The tradition is for the player who shot the hole-in-one to buy everyone in the bar a drink, however courses are still following strict restrictions to encourage social distancing, which means bars in clubhouses are closed.

But while he may have survived having to open a tab on Wednesday, Courts does admit he will at least share the celebrations with his playing partners.

"I owe my two playing partners a beer and that's hopefully going to be it. It might be the cheapest hole-in-one there's ever been!" he laughed.

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