69-year-old John Russell has 12 holes-in-one
· He recently landed two in just nine days · He's achieved holes-in-one in each of England, Scotland & Wales · He has SEVEN holes-in-one at Isle of Wedmore, including FOUR on the same hole!
The 69-year-old has enjoyed aces in each of England, Scotland and Wales.
If that’s not impressive enough, in August, John registered a second hole-in-one in just nine days, at his home course Isle of Wedmore. One of those was on the 9th hole, where he has now enjoyed FOUR holes-in-one, and the other was on the 11th, where he now has two.
A total of SEVEN aces have come at Wedmore, while two have come at Shirehampton Park on a 143-yard par-three, where the man from Pill has a particularly freaky story.
He told England Golf: “I got my first hole-in-one in 1977 at Shirehampton where I’d been a member for 14 years to that point. I didn’t think I’d ever get another one.
“42 years later I was there playing for Wedmore in a friendly and when we got to the hole, I said to the two Shirehampton guys: “Believe it or not, I had my first hole-in-one here 40-odd years ago.” One of the guys turned round and said: “I bet you can’t do it again!” And guess what happened?!
“The hole slopes quite a lot so we didn’t see it go in, but it was very nice to get it! It was so spooky!”
His playing partner that day, Graham Hayes, added: “I remember it well as he broke his driver on the 1st tee – it just snapped in half when he hit a shot down the middle!
“John’s quite a straight-hitter but it’s amazing really. You don’t even think about getting one really, so to have 12 is just being greedy, isn’t it?!”
From his first ace at 23, John had to wait 19 years for his next one, which came at Oake Manor (Somerset). Just two years later he enjoyed a third, this time in Scotland at Scotscraig.
Seven years later he bagged his first at Wedmore in a seniors stableford competition, and just four years later he had a fifth ace, on the same hole. The next one came in Wales at St Pierre on the Championship course, where John used to play annually in a captains’ charity day.
Just a year later he was at it again, this time on the 11th at Wedmore in the club’s annual mixed knockout. Just three years later, number eight arrived on the 4th, and then nine months after that he landed his third ace on the 9th!
Another three years passed before the magical moment back at Shirehampton Park for his 10th.
John’s 11th ace came recently, on July 31, playing with two others in a monthly seniors’ stableford competition. He hit an eight-iron on the 11th hole from 153 yards. He explained: “We saw it go in. It’s a bit of a signature hole because you’ve got a superb panoramic view of Cheddar Gorge, Wells (smallest city in England) and also Glastonbury. It’s a gobsmacking view.
“Because it was a qualifying competition, part of my subscription at the club meant that they stumped up £75 for drinks, and on top of that I’m insured by an in-house insurance, so we had £125 to spend on the seniors’ drinks at the bar that day, which just about covered it!”
His 12th hole-in-one came just nine days later in a Wednesday roll-up, as he struck gold with his five-rescue from 160 yards. He admitted: “It was a good shot, held the line and we saw that one go in. It was disbelief really, having had one only nine days prior. I waited nearly 20 years between my first and second holes-in-one and two in nine days was just unbelievable.
“Sadly the 12th hole-in-one wasn’t in a qualifier, so I didn’t get the £75 insurance and I had to put my hand in my pocket to pay most the balance!”
He joked: “Let’s hope that’s the end to it!”
The odds of a single hole-in-one for an amateur golfer are 12,500-1, while it is estimated that over 90% of golfers will never make one in their lifetime. So, for John, now having 12 to his name, is simply incredible.
John, an 11.8-handicapper, revealed: “We’ve got a guy who dominates the Club Championship year on year, who plays off two. He’s in his 50s and he’s never had a hole-in-one and it pains him to this day. Every time I get one it’s a nail in the coffin for him I think! It’s strange because he is a superb player and hits his fair share of greens but has just never seen one drop!
“If you’re trying to get one, that’s the worst. I think you just have to keep going. There’s no logic behind it at all. I feel like a very lucky person, certainly with my golfing hat on.”
John, who now lives in Draycott, Cheddar, said he won’t be trying to add Ireland to his list of countries where he’s enjoyed a hole-in-one, following successes in England, Scotland and Wales.
He admitted: “My partner and I have holidayed in Scotland for the past 20 years and we enter as many mixed opens as we can as it’s a cheap way to play great courses. We’ve played a bit in Ireland but I haven’t got any plans to go there and try and complete the Slam!”
Asked whether he has any specific golfing targets, John said: “All I’ve won really is the 2013 Club Championship at Wedmore, and that was after three play-off holes, but I did get down to a 5-handicap for a fortnight when I was at Shirehampton. I was a category-one golfer then!
“I’m not a particularly ambitious person. I’ll just be happy to keep playing.”
John, who used to own a chain of sports stores, sold his business in 2010 and began playing golf regularly upon retirement. He now plays three or four times a week, all year round.
He turns 70 on December 18 and added: “I love golf because it keeps you physically and mentally fit. It’s the golf that keeps you going!”
John Russell’s 12 Holes-in-One
1. Shirehampton Park (the old 3rd hole) May 25, 1977
2. Oake Manor (6th) July 25, 1996
3. Scotscraig, Scotland (13th) June 11, 1998
4. Isle of Wedmore (9th) May 16, 2005
5. Isle of Wedmore (9th) July 9, 2009
6. St Pierre, Wales (6th) August 29, 2011
7. Isle of Wedmore (11th) August 7, 2012
8. Isle of Wedmore (4th) April 25, 2015
9. Isle of Wedmore (9th) February 1, 2016
10. Shirehampton Park (old 3rd, now 13th) August 15, 2019
11. Isle of Wedmore (11th) July 31, 2023
12. Isle of Wedmore (9th) August 9, 2023