22 Nov 2023 | Amateur golf |
Four-peat puts golfer in Guinness record book
by Martin Blake
A Batemans Bay golfer has played his way into Guinness World Records with his incredible feat of having four hole-in-ones at the same hole.
When Tony Riches knocked a 6-iron shot into the cup at the par-3 7th hole at Club Catalina on 11 February this year, he was astonished like everyone else around the club.
It completed a set of four hole-outs at the same 145-metre hole, beginning on 18 April, 2015 (a year when he did it twice) and repeated in 2018 and again this year.
Ironically the day before the first of the quartet, in 2015, he’d told people at the club: “I’ll never have a hole-in-one here.”
So when the fourth ace happened in February, it got him thinking about its significance. “I thought: ‘I wonder if anyone’s had four holes in one on the same hole’?’’ he told Golf Australia. “I sent an inquiry to the Guinness people and they came back and said the current record was two. They asked me for evidence to support it.”
After a six-month long process which included submission of competition scorecards, screen shots of the club’s honour board, production of competition scorecards and a witness statement from the club’s director of golf Rod Booth, Riches received notification recently that his effort had been included by Guinness as a world record for most hole-in-ones on the same hole.
“It took me 46 years to get my first hole in one,” he said this week. “In that time I played 18,000 par-3s without a hole-in one. I’d given up hope I’d ever get the ball to stay in the hole, because without exaggeration I’d say a dozen times I finished a few inches from the hole.”
Riches, 64, is a retired PGA Professional who for some years was a AAA-rated teaching pro at Yowani Country Club in Canberra.
He moved to Catalina in 2015 to be with his partner, joined the club, relinquished his professional status and started having aces.
He has had six overall, all at Catalina including the four at No. 7 with its water carry.
He has had a lifetime in golf starting as a 10-year-old at Bermagui Country Club, and aged 37, he turned professional and became a teacher.
He was a PGA Professional for almost 20 years.
“The odds are 1-in-10,000 of a hole-in one,” he said. “But I’ve been a scratch golfer since I was 20. I’m 64 now and I’m not playing well. Age is catching up and I’m struggling with the putter. It’s been a full life, I’ve been playing 50 years so I’ve hit a few shots.
“I’m pretty proud of it, to be honest.”
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