Stortford golfer's hole in one at 82 – the month after his second cousin, US PGA pro Denny McCarthy, performed same feat in The Players Championship at Sawgrass
A golfer who resumed playing last summer after a year off the course following heart surgery has scored a hole in one – at the age of 82!
It is the third time retired building society executive Mike McCarthy has aced a hole at Bishop's Stortford Golf Club, where he has been a member for 34 years.
And it runs in the family as his second cousin, 28-year-old American professional golfer Denny McCarthy, got a hole in one during the second round of the prestigious The Players Championship – the sport's richest tournament – at Sawgrass, Florida, in March.
Unlike the two previous occasions when Mike struck lucky – both times on the Dunmow Road course's easiest hole, the 156-yard par three 8th – his latest glory shot came on the longest short hole, the 199-yard 17th.
Mike, who is a member of 'The Bishops', the club's men's senior section, was playing just the back nine with Michael Trippick on Thursday morning (April 29), having already played 36 holes earlier in the week.
Having lost about a third of his usual distance since his heart op at Basildon Hospital in August 2019 – performed by aptly named cardiothoracic surgeon Inderpaul Birdi – Mike used his driver off the tee.
"It felt like a good connection," he said. "It cleared the ditch so I knew it was good, but then it was out of my sight."
As he approached the green on foot he could not see his ball and assumed it had run off into the rough.
But a member of the greenkeeping staff, who was in a golf buggy beside the putting surface, had seen it roll into the hole.
He waited for Mike to reach the green and suggested to the puzzled pensioner that if he wanted to find his ball he should look in the hole.
"I didn't believe it," said Mike. "I was quite elated, as I'm an old man now but can still do something well."
Mike did not start playing golf until he was 40. He joined BSGC in 1987 soon after moving to the town with wife Linda.
When he retired at 56 as managing director of the former Walthamstow Building Society, he was able to play more and got his handicap down to 10. He now plays off 25.
Mike and Linda used to live in Avenue Road. He now lives at Nicholls Lodge, the retirement complex in South Road, while his wife, who has dementia, is in Conewood Manor Nursing Home in Dunmow Road. Mike visits Linda four or five times a week.
They have two children: John, a plumber in Bishop's Stortford, and Clare, a banker in Singapore, who has three children.
Simon Sheppard, the club’s director of golf and head pro, said: “There could not be a more friendly and deserving person to hole in one – I was thrilled to hear the news. It proves what a game for all ages golf is.”