Is This the World’s Luckiest Golfer?
Neil Watts, an amateur golfer from the United Kingdom, is currently the world’s most prolific hole-in-one shooter. He’s accomplished something most golfers only dream of, amassing 11 aces in the last six months.
A hole-in-one for a professional golfer is significantly more likely than for the average player to occur. However, it is possible for them to go their entire career without accomplishing this feat.
— Gloucestershire Golf (@Glosgolf) November 17, 2021
National Hole-in-One Registry estimates that the odds of a professional golfer making a hole in one are approximately 3,000-to-1. The odds for average players are approximately 12,000-to-1.
Watts recorded his first ever ace in June 2021, and he followed that up with another ten in the following few months.
A hole-in-one occurred while the cameras were rolling during a December interview with British broadcaster ITV. This proved that the British golfer was on top of his game at the time.
During the interview, Watts recalls that he was given a box of balls specifically by the Tracy Park pro shop — the golf club where he had accomplished his feat — in preparation for the interview.
The first ten balls were hit in preparation. Then he was asked to hit the remaining balls in order to capture some additional footage.
“And I did it on the I think it was on the 15th golf ball. I got the hole-in-one,” Watts told CNN Sport. “But I didn’t think he’d set up the camera, to be honest.
“Because I turned round to him and I said: ‘That’ll be close because that was like the one I had before on the hole.’
“And when we got up there, the cameramen went to the hole, he said: ‘There is one in the hole,’ and we all said: ‘Don’t be silly.’ And he said: ‘No, I’m not joking, there’s a ball in the hole.’ And it was one of the ones they gave us from the pro shop.
“It was brilliant. And lucky enough, he had it filmed. He had the camera on the green at the time, so it showed the ball going in as well.”
Getting on a run
Watts has been playing golf for more than 35 years. It all began when he was five years old and his father threw balls to him, which he would hit.
In his eighth year of life, Watts joined the Tracy Park Golf Club’s junior team. He also played on the junior teams at the county and regional levels.
Nothing, however, could have prepared him for the hot streak that he’s been on since June.
Watts recalls his first hole-in-one, which occurred on the 12th hole of the Cromwell course at Tracy Park, as being particularly memorable.
“I actually saw the ball go in. It was absolutely lovely. It was two bounces and actually just rolled into the hole then,” said Watts.
“That was the first one. And I was over the moon with that, obviously, having the first hole-in-one ever. I think my teammates that I was playing with at the time were more excited than what I was, to be honest with you.”
His second came two weeks later during the club’s championship in a round with the owner of the Tracy Park club.
It was only when he aced a few more hole-in-ones that Watts started to really ponder his extraordinary run.
“I was like: ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is obviously happening at the moment,’ because you could go a whole lifetime without having a hole-in-one. And in six months, it’s all just gone a bit ballistic really with everything,” he said.
“Like every time I was going out then I was feeling confident that I was going to get another one because that’s how it made me feel at the time.”
An expensive feat
Watts says he’s received congratulations from friends and family in Australia and New Zealand, who he credits to the internet.
The question of what the secret is to hitting a hole-in-one is one that he is invariably faced with.
Watts believes that, in addition to practicing your swing and concentrating on accuracy, it is critical to have faith in your ability to accomplish the feat.
Also, he’s forthright enough to admit that he’s not sure what it is about hitting 11 hole-in-ones in a short period of time. 10 of these accomplishments came on par threes and one on a par four. That is “weird,” and he’s not sure what it is about being able to explain the phenomenon.
“Still every time I play on the golf course, every time I hit the ball, someone’s shouting somewhere from the course: ‘Get in the hole.’ When I look over or when I come in, everyone’s asking with the same questions: ‘Have you got one today?'”
Golf tradition dictates that if a player hits a hole-in-one, they must then buy a drink for everyone in the bar in the clubhouse after completing their round.
Watts twice upheld this tradition, but as it was “very costly,” he’s had a rethink on his generosity.
“When I did it the third time, I learned I had to put the key in the car and actually get out pretty quick after I got back. Otherwise, it’d cost you an absolute fortune to do it.”
It is unclear the actual record for the most hole-in-ones in a single career, professional or amateur. But Watts has his eyes set on around 20 for his career.
He’s already bested the most by a player on the PGA Tour. Since 1983, Robert Allenby and Hal Sutton each have 10, the most recorded hole-in-ones on the Tour.
Read the original article on CNN.