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36-handicapper Hilary McGrath achieves golf's greatest glory

By James Dobbin

It’s hard to think of a more nerve-wracking experience for a golf newcomer than teeing off in a Stableford competition with the highest handicap.

But 36-handicapper Hilary McGrath, 47, from Maghera, in Northern Ireland, stepped up to the tee box to achieve something most of us can only dream about: a hole-in-one.

The retired healthcare supervisor – who only took up golf this year – achieved the feat using her driver on the 173-yard, par-three 12th at her club, Moyola Park, and, to the envy of her more experienced golfing chums, was rewarded with membership of the exclusive BOSS Watches H1Club and a specially-commissioned, commemorative timepiece.

She laughed: “It was beginner’s luck! Apparently the 12th at Moyola Park is a hard hole, but I have to say it’s one of my favourites. I can hit a good drive so I decided to go for it on this hole.

“The ball went so straight – it was in line with the pin the whole time – and the two ladies I was playing with were convinced it was going in. I said: ‘no, hold on a minute. It might have gone behind the pin’, but they were squealing and having a great time.

“I told them: ‘I’m not getting excited until I get to the pin and look in the hole to make sure it’s in’, but, as soon as we got up there and saw it, we all let out a big roar.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet and still feels like a dream. There was quite a bit of buzz in the clubhouse afterwards, but it was great. If I never get another one, at least I can say I’ve had one.”

She added: “I started playing this year and only received my handicap recently. My husband has been playing golf for about 26 years, so, now that I’m no longer working, I decided to take it up, too – I have to say I’m really enjoying it.

“My husband had a hole-in-one at a different course, but it wasn’t during a competition – he’s really pleased for me, if not a little shocked, but tells me it’s all down to his coaching!”

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