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Eagle eyes...Mataura Golf Club members Valerie Ross (left) and Julie Braithwaite achieved a hole-in-one on par threes a week apart from each other.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

There may be something in the water at this time of year at the Mataura Golf Club because for the second consecutive year two holes-in-one have been achieved by members, a week apart from each other. In 2018 Murray Borthwick and Liz Turnbull hit theirs within three days of each other, in late January. The Ensign reporter Sandy Eggleston spoke to the latest two golfers to achieve the feat, Valerie Ross and Julie Braithwaite.

How do you keep composed and play another 16 holes of golf after scoring a hole-in-one on the second hole of the day?

Mataura Golf Club member Julie Braithwaite had that challenge when just achieved the two-under par eagle on January 29.

Braithwaite, who plays off a 19 handicap, said she hit the hole-in-one on number 6, a 101m par three named Elusive.

“I got out my iron and struck the ball sweetly and then only two bounces and then [it] rolled up to the flag.

“I initially thought ‘I think that’s in the hole’,” Braithwaite said.

However, after thinking about it for a second Braithwaite wondered if the ball had hit the pin and then carried on.

“I heard it hit the pin so it could be behind it so I [said] ‘no celebrations just yet, we’ll go up and have a look’.

“And there it was in the hole.”

“It’s my very first hole-in-one.”

being finished, though.

“I thought ‘well I’ve still got 16 holes to go, I’ll just carry on playing like .. it’s another day’s golf’.”

Her final score was 42 Stableford points, which she was pleased with.

“It’s well under my handicap.”

Shoulder surgery in 2015 had limited the amount of golf she had played in the past three years.

“I’m still not hitting at my full strength yet.”

She used an eight iron to tee off with to compensate for being not quite so powerful.

Golfers usually have the ball used for hole-in-ones mounted on a trophy, but Braithwaite would not be able to use the exact ball – she lost it over a hedge on hole number nine.

Hole in one changes luck


There is nothing a hole-in-one to cheer you up, golfer Valerie Ross found out on Tuesday.

The Mataura Golf Club member achieved the feat on the 138m 15th green.

Ross, who plays off a 33 handicap, said she had not been playing very well that day.

“The hole before my hole-in-one I had a nine on the par four and the hole before that was a par three and I had a six.

“I thought ‘the card’s screwed now’,” Ross said.

She used a three wood to tee off in the hope the ball would arrive safely on the green and stay there.

After she saw the ball land, she lost sight of it and thought it had kept going and left the green.

“It must have bounced before the green, must have bounced twice, and then it started running and just kept running.

“I could see the pin and the ball disappeared and I thought ‘blast it’s run off the back’.”

One of the other players who had a better view told her the ball went in the hole.

“I said ‘no, it had too much run on it’.”

As she approached the green she thought she would check around the back, could not find the ball and realised where it was.

Ross threw her arms in the air and shouted, “Yes it’s in the hole.”

It was her second hole in one.

“My first at Mataura.”