[PHOTO: Peter Dazeley]

It took former tour pro Tony Riches 46 years and about 18,000 par-3s to hit an ace. Now, he can’t stop hitting them.

During the past eight years, Riches has nailed four holes-in-one… all on the same hole. The par-3, 147-metre seventh hole at Club Catalina at Batemans Bay has become Riches’ home away from home and also the site of a vaunted Guinness World Record: the most holes-in-one on the same hole during competition play.

“I thought, I wonder if anyone’s had four holes-in-one on the same hole?Riches told Golf Australia after his fourth ace earlier this year. “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.”

The Guinness research took six months and featured “submission of competition scorecards, screenshots of the club’s honour board, production of competition scorecards and a witness statement from the club’s director of golf Rod Booth”, but the 64-year-old recently got the news that he’s a certified world record holder.

“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.”

A retired tour pro and former teaching pro at Yowani Country Club in Canberra, Riches has now had six holes-in-one in his lifetime with two-thirds of those dropping on the same hole. His most recent at Club Catalina came with a 6-iron.

Don’t expect any critical ace advice from this instructor, however, as Riches says these incredible moments are mostly due to a good swing and a good deal of luck. There’s no doubt that Catalina’s seventh hole is one of his favourite places to be, and if he has his way, it won’t just be in this lifetime.

“When I pass away, I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered behind the back of the hole, so I can watch everyone else play that hole.”