Mathematicians have deduced the odds as 1 in 67 million: two holes-in-one in consecutive shots. That’s getting-struck-by-lightning-twice stuff, or winning the lottery more than once. But it happened on February 1 at Barnbougle Dunes.
Like so many golfers who visit Tasmania’s rumpled and rugged north-east coast, the origins of the moment stem from a 20-strong group, most hailing from Queensland, venturing south for a four-day golf trip. On the last day of play, at the much-critiqued par-3 13th hole where the enormous green is wilder than the wind can be, it happened.
The hole was playing 163 metres with the prevailing breeze equating to about two clubs’ help. Byron Maddern, 34, hit first. The 15-handicapper’s 6-iron shot looked good but the front-right bunker and steep ripples in the green disguised the result, as the flag was only partially visible. Andre Dietiker, a 40-year-old 15-marker, stepped up next and with a 7-iron hit a similar-looking shot. “Almost identical,” he says.
“I reckon they’re both in,” playing partner Jamie Straw commented presciently.
Maddern and Dietiker looked at each other and said: “Wouldn’t it be funny if we both had a hole-in-one…”
The group laughed at the notion as they walked towards the green. But Straw was right.
“We got close to the green but could not see any balls,” Dietiker recalls. “I ran to the hole in anticipation to find the balls both in the cup. Amazing! We tried to celebrate but it had just started pouring rain. What an amazing thing to do, one after the other.”
For those familiar with the multi-sectioned green, the hole that day was cut on the far right side where the surrounding slopes can gather balls towards the cup. Maddern’s shot used the downslope beyond the flag to feed towards the cup while Dietiker’s ball did similarly. Adding to the freakish factor was that these made it two lifetime holes-in-one for both men.
The twin aces was a remarkable, odds-defying feat, but one that also spawns questions. First and most obvious is: how did the other guys in the group go? Did anyone scare three aces in one group? Sadly, neither Straw nor Sean Morrell threatened the flag as the third and fourth shots struck.
The next question is: how did they fare on the next par 3, Barnbougle Dunes’ 16th hole? Were aces on back-to-back par 3s in the mix? Somewhat mystifyingly, the group didn’t even play that hole. Strengthening rain and the fact they were playing matches that concluded before the 16th meant the opportunity wasn’t taken.
Still, the extraordinary moment was clearly on the cards. Usually, the 20 golfers head to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for their annual getaway but this time it was Tasmania in their sights.
Barnbougle presented both men with certificates to commemorate their achievement, giving Maddern and Dietiker a physical memento to go with a life-long memory of their “impossible shots”.