AT what point does hitting a hole-in-one start to lose its shine? Probably after the seventh, and when three of those have come along inside a remarkable 12 months.
That is the achievement Alan Frost, from Stockton, is still smiling about, even if it means he has had to keep dipping into his pocket to a buy a bottle of whisky, and is wondering if they will soon dry up.
“I’ve never had anyone buy me a round for a hole-in-one, and I’ve had to do it seven times now!” joked the 71-year-old, a retired joiner.
Clearly he is laughing. Not even money should dampen his remarkable golf. Some golfers can play their entire life and not ace a hole, so Frost’s record is something to be proud of.
And to make it even more unique, his last three have all arrived at Seaton Carew inside the last 12 months – and all have been recorded on the tough links track’s three Par 3s; the Doctor, Mashie and Cosy Corner.
“It’s incredible really, still can’t believe it,” said Frost. “A couple of weeks ago I got my seventh (Mashie).
“A lot of the players who have played here at Seaton have said they can’t remember anyone hitting a hole-in-one on all three in a year, they think there’s probably someone who has done it on each hole but maybe not inside a year. They are notorious holes here as well, and course, so there can’t be many out there who have done it.
“The funny thing is, a week before that, the last competition I played in, the group in front went mad when I looked down at the green. The ball had gone in the hole and came out, I might have had eight. The next week I put it in the hole on the same green, that’s incredible in itself.”
Frost turns 72 in February and started playing at Seaton Carew eight years ago knowing he could play all year round regardless of the weather. Before that he was a member at Dinsdale Spa and Teesside Golf Club, where he got his initial 12 handicap down to single figures.
He won the Senior Salver when he was 60 and was a regular at one point for the Durham County Union Senior team, which played in the big six ten years ago. It is the hole-in-ones that he is likely to remember the most, though, particularly after a year of injury too.
“I started to play 31 years ago and six years later we went to Lancaster, played in the Castle there, and I had a hole-in-one on the Friday as we were there four days,” he said. “Then when we came back to Teesside the next day I got another. Five years later we went to Spain to play at El Rompido and got one there.
“The next one didn’t come along for ages. It was at Seaton Carew in early November 2017 at the 15th (Cosy) and a week later I got another hole-in-one on the third (the Doctor).
“Then from December 12 I was out for five months because I had to have a knee operation, before then falling on steps and I broke my kneecap. I couldn’t play for months.
“When I started to play again, we went on a golfing holiday with three couples in May. I’d only played four games after the op and on the second day I got a hole-in-one on Turkey’s Gloria Hotel, New Course.
“We were jumping on the tee when it went in, my wife Jennifer Ann said ‘oh did he?’ and walked off as if she was used to it.
“But I did have to wait a long time to get one at Seaton. You think no chance, and then they all come along, with the most recent just being a couple of weeks ago.”
Frost ranks his first hole-in-one at Lancaster as his favourite because he had never enjoyed that feeling before. The sheer fact that he has managed to achieve something special in the last 12 months has made it more special - especially as he is told noone knows of anyone who has done that before.
There are a select few who have nailed the three, but to have done it inside a year is clearly unique.
As for having for fork out the cash for the whisky? He added: “Every time it is 30 quid, I am running out of money here! Nobody has ever bought me a drink yet, it doesn’t seem fair! It didn’t cost me anything in Turkey because it was all inclusive, it was certainly the best for celebration.”