Soweto professional Thabang Simon didn’t make the cut in the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung at Koro Creek. But there is one thing Simon has that makes him the envy of most golfers out there, and that’s an incredible eye for a hole-in-one.
Many golfers play the game for decades without ever achieving a hole-in-one. But Sunshine Tour professional Simon has 11 hole-in-ones to his credit, including two in a single week.
“I remember that one at Humewood. I totally duffed my shot but it still went in the hole.”
Many of his aces have come in practice or social rounds and although he has managed a few in competitive golf, he laments the fact that none of them has earned him a sizeable reward.
“I’ve got three on the Sunshine Tour, I got one in America and I had one during a practice round for the Alfred Dunhill Championship,” said Simon.
“Unfortunately, they all came at the wrong time. I’ve always got them when there’s no big money or a car on offer. I’ve won a few vouchers and I got given a computer for the one I got in America. But I couldn’t even bring that home with me because I would have had to pay huge taxes to get it here!”
The odds of achieving a hole-in-one are estimated at 12500 to one for the average golfer and 2500 to one for professionals. The chances of scoring two aces in a single week are probably millions to one, but Simon did just that in 2011.
“I was playing with some of my mates and I had a hole-in-one at the eighth at Blue Valley and another at the fifth at Reading in one week. Both times I hit my eight iron and I’ve probably had seven or eight aces with that club.”
Although many people say a hole-in-one is perfect luck, Simon has called a few of his aces. Fellow professional Ryan Cairns remembers one such occasion.
“We were playing at Humewood. Thabang stepped up to the ball and said he was going to hit it in the hole. His shot was awful – he hit it in the teeth – and we didn’t see where the ball ended up, but when we got to the green it was in the hole,” recalled Cairns.
“I have called plenty of them,” laughed Simon. “I remember that one at Humewood. I totally duffed my shot but it still went in the hole.”
With the amount of luck Simon has with aces, he is still confident of holing one when it matters.
“There is a car out there somewhere with my name on it as a prize for a hole-on-one,” he said.