One shot . . . Mataura Golf Club member Ray Shanks used a seven iron to hit a hole in one at the course recently. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Shoulder surgery is doing wonders for Ray Shanks’ golf game.

The Mataura Golf Club member hit his first hole in one recently and lowered his handicap by two on the same day.

Shanks said he had the surgery in October and it was his third week back playing.

“I’m actually hitting better,” Shanks said.

“My shoulder’s a lot freer.”

He was getting used to being able to hit the ball further.

At the 15th hole he teed off with a 7-iron.

“I didn’t try to hit it too hard.”

The ball landed short of the green on the par-3 hole, bounced and kept going.

“It looked to me like it rolled around the hole— it had a wee kink in it.”

He was feeling excited the ball had nearly gone in.

However, when he looked for his ball, it was in the hole.

“I didn’t actually see it fall in so it wasn’t all that exciting.

“I let out a yell once I realised it was in,” he said.

“It was probably Monday before it really sunk in.”

Once he collected the ball, he put it in his pocket and used another ball.

“It’s now sitting in a wee trophy at home.”

He was pleased to have achieved the feat.

“The hole in one is supposed to be the pinnacle of the game.”

Saturday’s game equalled his best round so far at Mataura.

“Nothing went wrong, just one of those days.”

He was hoping his game would continue to improve.

His handicap reduced from 21 to 19 because of the good round.

The next day he played again and did not go so well.

“I was probably trying too hard because I had a terrible round.”

Shanks started playing golf about 12 years ago when he was in his late 40s.

He was hoping his game would continue to improve as he played more often

“Hopefully, I can slowly get better and better, once I get the muscle memory back again.”