C. P. Belliappa's Column

Indian rope trick: Hole-in-one

(By: C.P. Belliappa)

For a golfer, getting a ‘hole-in-one’ is a definitive feat about which he will brag for the rest of his life. Luck plays a major role over skill in this rare euphoric achievement. For an average golfer the chances of sinking a hole-in-one are 12750 to 1. For a professional it’s 2500 to 1. With a hole-in-one, a golfer attains a sort of immortality with his name etched in the honours list prominently displayed in his club house, with details of the date and the green where this achievement was accomplished. The golfer gets a ‘bonus’ from his foursome, but is set back by a few bottles of premium whiskey in celebration at the ‘Nineteenth Hole’.

Getting a hole-in-one in a tournament can be very rewarding. In PGA Tours it’s either a couple of million dollars and/or a fancy sports car. The organizers of the tournament protect themselves by taking insurance. And the insurance companies are happy to cover this exceptional happening with the odds being very much in their favour. I watched a major PGA tournament on the television about a year ago when one of the players got a hole-in-one when his golf ball struck a ball already on the green and got delightfully diverted to the hole. He drove home a beautiful Mercedes convertible.

There used to be a time when this achievement was published in the official golf magazine and the golfer received a certificate and a memento. Now-a-days with the number of golfers having increased exponentially there is only an honourable mention of twenty achievers worldwide drawn by lots. Nevertheless, for the golfer, it is a day to remember and to savour for ever.

It is well-known about the near addiction to the game of golf by the Japanese and the South Koreans. It is prohibitively expensive to be a member of a golf club in their countries. So the Japanese and the Koreans are very happy to be posted in India, or visits on business. They get to indulging in golf for what they consider ‘peanuts’ during their stay here.

A few months ago a Japanese executive posted near Bangalore got the coveted hole-in-one at a reputed golf course. He was absolutely ecstatic. He immediately rewarded his caddy with a crisp thousand rupee note! The lucky caddy became the envy of his tribe.

A few weeks later another golf crazy Japanese executive landed very close to the pin at the 3-par green. His clever caddy, on the spur of the moment, gave a light nudge to the ball to drop it in the hole, and loudly applauded. The visiting Japanese was delirious with delight; and as expected, the caddy received an instant reward of a beautiful orange note. Now, the other caddies got alerted to the trick!

Soon there were many hole-in-ones reported, and the feat was either by Japanese or Koreans. The insouciant caddies gleefully pocketed their baksheesh from the overjoyed golfers! A win-win situation if ever there was one.

I must have struck more than one lakh golf balls, but no hole-in-one so far. May be one of these days with a little help from a caddy!”