Saturday 24 August 2019

'Yes, I am still sober!' - Meet the 36-handicapper who had two hole-in-ones in two days on the same hole

Just two years after taking up the game, 36-handicapper scores a sensational double

Aces high: Kathleen Butler after firing her second hole in one at Gowran Park.
Aces high: Kathleen Butler after firing her second hole in one at Gowran Park.

Brian Keogh

GOLF is supposed to be hard, but nobody told 36-handicapper Kathleen Butler until she had aces on consecutive days at Gowran Park last weekend.

Now a part-time Special Needs assistant at St Patrick's Special School on Kells Road in Kilkenny, where she has worked for 19 years, the Gowran native only took up the game two years ago, and she's already beaten odds of 5.6 million to 1 against acing the same hole two days in a row.

Celebration time: (l-r) Charlotte Diana Boote, Kathleen Butler, Finbar Hagarty and Charlotte
Boote celebrate hole in one number two at Gowran Park
Celebration time: (l-r) Charlotte Diana Boote, Kathleen Butler, Finbar Hagarty and Charlotte Boote celebrate hole in one number two at Gowran Park

"Yes, I am still sober," she joked this week after her incredible feats on the 111-metre fifth at Gowran Park on Saturday and Sunday. "I had a glass of wine to celebrate the first hole in one on Saturday night, and then I had another on Sunday to celebrate again.

"Then on Monday I didn't have a drink at all and played the worst golf ever on Tuesday!"

It sounds as though Kathleen is slowly turning into an ordinary golfer like the rest of us mere mortals. But she genuinely didn't realise how unusual her feat was until she searched the internet

"I am only new to golf - I've only been playing for two years - so it's a surprise," said Kathleen. "I had never had a hole in one before. I have been a tennis player all my life at Kilkenny Tennis Club and I absolutely love it.

"I am playing off a handicap of 36, so I am thrilled. I did the Get into Golf scheme at Kilkenny Golf Club and came out to join Gowran because I am from here and I knew all the girls, and it is easier to get a game because it is not such a big club.

"So I was playing in the nine-hole stableford competition on Saturday, and I stood up on the fifth, teed the ball down low, took out my rescue and the minute I hit the ball, my playing partner, Finbar Hagarty from Cork said, 'Gee, that looks really good.'

"It just carried the bunker, hit the green and rolled up into the hole. Then on Sunday, almost exactly the same thing happened again.

"Everyone had been congratulating me for the hole in one on Saturday, so I teed it up the same way with the same stance in the fundraiser for the club, and I put a beautiful swing on it, and it rolled into the hole again.

"I was with my sister Charlotte Boote, my niece Charlotte Diane and my partner Finbar and we all started to scream and roar. My friends could hear me from the 18th hole and knew somebody had a hole in one again. Imagine their surprise to hear it was my second.

"As I am new to golf, I didn't realise how big a deal it was until I Googled it afterwards. I believe the odds are something like 5.6 million to 1. Anyway, the handicap secretary has been on to say I have been cut from 36 to 34, so I am delighted."

They say good things come in threes and there was more celebration on Tuesday night when the news came through that Kathleen's daughter had given birth to her sixth grandson in Vancouver.

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