Grim wait finally over...
Yorkshire seniors team captain John Grimbleby has played thousands of shots during in his golfing life, but one will live with him forever after making his first hole in 55 years of playing the game.
His ace came just four days after his 72nd birthday, the day on which he was due to have shoulder surgery but was sent home after Dewsbury hospital staff discovered he had an infection.
"Enjoy the rest of your week said the nurse who had just put me on a course of antibiotics. How right was she. I started playing golf at 17 and turned 72 on March 4th. I have never had a hole in one and shouldn't even have been playing golf that day," Grimbleby told Yorkshire Golfer.
Playing partners Steve Mason (left), and John Knott (right) pictured with Grimbleby (centre) following his ace
A category one golfer for more than 50 years, only falling out of that bracket when he turned 68 and his handicap went up to 5.5, his 6 iron from the back tee on the 168-yard par 3 10th hole at his beloved Ganton found the hole and ended a long wait for a moment most golfers dream of.
As well as being a long-standing member and former captain at Howley Hall, he’s a country member at Ganton and admits "it couldn't have happened at a nicer place. I love Ganton".
"When I hit the shot I actually started laughing as it was the first decent iron shot, I had hit all day. The pin was back left which is a tough spot and it landed halfway down the green, bounced twice and went in. I almost went into shock."
A one handicapper in his prime and a regular member of the Leeds & District team, Grimbleby had a near miss early in his career at Gotts Park where he started out. "My tee shot plugged in the back of the hole but when I took the flag out half the ball was in in the cup and half was out. The rules are different now but back then I had to repair the plug mark and tap it in for a two. It has been some wait. I have had loads of eagles and even albatrosses but never an ace.
"I'm even reconsidering having the surgery to repair an old injury which is a tear in my rotator cuff. I might just keep taking painkillers and wait for the next piece of good luck."
Medical issues aside he's already preparing his Yorkshire golden oldies for the season ahead as they try to regain the English Senior Men's County Championship, which they captured in 2017.
Their opening fixture is against the old enemy Lancashire at Wakefield on May 20th and that will be a crucial match. With the highest handicap in the Yorkshire team standing at around 1.5 the standard is high and the competition fierce. He will have two new recruits to bolster and already strong squad in Lindrick's Roy Mugglestone and Hessle's Andy Woodhead, retiring President of the East Riding Union.
"Lancashire were the only team to beat us last year and they went on the win the national title so we will be going all out to recapture that crown this year," added Grimbleby.