Madeleine Winnett continues through the golfing archives…

The Scoop

...And discovers long drives, holes-in-one and thinks of trading body parts

How far can you hit your best 6-iron?
As I am currently sifting through a veritable treasure trove of archive golfing material, a story from 1989 caught my eye where an 80-year-old gentleman had a hole-in-one on a par 3 measuring 172 yards, using a 6-iron – his first after 69 years of trying.

That to me was amazing. Not so much the hole-in-one – although credit where credit is due – but the fact that he could still hit a 6-iron 179 yards! In 1989, graphite was only just emerging onto the market, and as an old boy, (if my father is anything to go by) I am hazarding a guess that he is unlikely to have upgraded his set, so was probably using steel shafts.

This was also in the days of small heads, with small sweet spots. I would like to know how many fit, young, strapping ladies out there can hit their modern 6-irons 179 yards. I am neither fit, nor young, and the jury is still out as to whether or not I conform to the strapping criteria, but I don’t necessarily consider myself to be a short hitter.

Admittedly, the youngsters in the county team who can bend over backwards and still get their heads through their knees (or so it seems) give the ball a mighty whack, but I’m still not too far behind most of them. My father will be 89 shortly, but I have been able to out hit him, club for club, for over 25 years. Working on that theory, the above acing octogenarian must have been a colossal ball striker in his hey day.

I am almost ashamed to admit now that only last week I holed a second shot from 175 yards using a 4 iron, which was even better than a hole-in-one in many ways.

For a start, it is free. Having a hole-in-one is very expensive, as I found out when I had one during a ladies’ competition many years ago. To me, that ethos is entirely the wrong way round. Other people should be buying you a drink to congratulate you on your feat. You shouldn’t be penalised your life’s savings just because you hit a good shot. On tour, you get a car for the ultimate accolade, but as an amateur, all you get is an overdraft!

Thus, I was more than happy to have my second ace witnessed only by myself. I dread to think how much money a certain Jim Taylor has had to shell out to keep up with all his achievements – although, I have to admit, they are impressive. Having lost both his arms in a childhood accident, Jim took up golf in 1986 using special rubber aids, and since then he has had a remarkable eight holes-in-one! That’s a hefty bar tab.

I also found an Otto Bucher who had an ace at the ripe old age of 99 In looking up a few other statistics, I also found an Otto Bucher who had an ace at the ripe old age of 99. In 1990, Margaret Waldron, who was 74 and legally blind, had a hole-in-one, and then had another one on the following day at the same hole, and with the same ball! I would have had it stuffed, mounted and put in pride of place.

My next fact is entirely irrelevant in the context of holes-in-one, but I thought I would share it anyway. A number of ladies I know have had hip replacement operations, which have given them a new lease of life on the course. However, if you are wondering if perhaps you might be getting a little too old to benefit from such a course of action, take heart. Apparently, James Henry Brett of Houston, Texas, had a hip operation on November 7 1960, when he was aged 111 years, 105 days, which clearly gives hope to us all!

I have no idea which part of my body will need replacing first, as it will be a race between my knees, back, shoulder, elbow and neck, but as science is now moving on apace, I think it will be far easier just to transplant my head on to an entirely new body and let me start again. I can’t promise to look after the next one any better than I have done this one, but it will be great fun doing everything all over again!

If I had a new body which was as flexible as someone like Carly Booth, for example, who was a former gymnast, it would also be very gratifying to suddenly add another 40 yards to every shot from my new-found elasticity. In fact, wouldn’t it be great to be able to go the supermarket and just buy whatever designer body parts you wanted? I’m not remotely bothered about wanting J. Lo’s bottom, I don’t have any desire for Victoria Beckham’s ridiculously skinny arms, and I would request to be checked in for psychiatric evaluation before hankering after a trout pout of any description.

I want the important things in life – like Inbee Park’s hands, so that I could putt like her, and I want Lexi Thompson’s legs, or whichever bit of her enables her to launch her drives an average of 274 yards. For my luxury, treat myself item on the way out, I would select Melissa Reid’s abs. And then, armed with an entirely new me, I might just be able to hit a steel-shafted 6-iron 179 yards to keep up with the octogenarians!

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