When Diane Milner and Diana Braide stood on the 16th tee at Wakefield Golf Club, playing in the club’s Medals Final, they had no idea they were about to defy golfing odds of 26,000,000-1.
Seventeen-handicapper Braide was first to play at the 110-yard par-3, and opted for a six iron.
“I saw Diana’s shot hit the left-hand side of the green and then it rolled towards the flag, but we couldn’t see the bottom of the flag,” said 12-handicapper Milner.
“I said to her, ‘do you know, I think that might be quite near the hole’.”
Milner took one club less than her playing partner, but even so felt her seven iron shot had gone long and over the back of the green into a bunker.
“My tee shot went absolutely dead straight, but I thought it would be in the back bunker because it seemed to be going like a train,” continued Milner.
When the two ladies approached the green, neither ball was visible.
“I said to Diana that mine must definitely be in the back bunker. I told her I’d go and get my sand wedge, but I said to her, ‘you go and have a look because I think you might be in the hole’.”
The squeals of delight that followed convinced her she had been correct – but she was amazed when Braide told her: “There’s two balls in here.”
Following an extensive analysis of hole-in-one data, American magazine Golf Digest rated the achievement of both players holing out with their tee shots at the same hole together as 26,000,000-1.
It was the seventh ace of Milner’s golfing career – but the first for Braide, who embossed her achievement by winning the competition with a net level-par 73.
“I’ve never before walked onto a green and thought my ball might be in the hole because I’ve always seen it either on the green or in a bunker,” said Braide, who only recently returned to golf following a hip revision operation.
“I had a fall in 2009 and broke my hip so I had to have the whole hip replaced,” she explained. “I had a metal-on-metal hip and little fragments of metal were getting into my bloodstream.
“I was in quite a lot of pain so I thought I had better have the revision done. I think I have titanium and a bit of plastic in there now.”
Both women play at least a couple of times a week at Wakefield where Milner, despite approaching her 76th birthday, still plays for the scratch team.
She got down to a handicap of seven at the age of 70, and although she had six previous aces – three at Waterton Park, one at Shepley Beckfoot, one at Wentworth and one in Florida - was delighted to finally get one at Wakefield after playing at the club “for 40 years plus”.
Braide describes herself as a relative newcomer to the sport “compared to Diane” as she began in 1998 while her club-mate started playing at the age of 18.
The pair play regularly together in Friday and Sunday roll-ups at Wakefield and each was delighted for the other after combining for a piece of rare golfing history.
“Diane is a very good golfer and she has had a number of holes in one before, but had never had one at our club so I was so pleased for her,” said Braide.
Milner, meanwhile, commented: “It was lovely to play with Diana and for her to have her first hole in one and especially as she actually went on to win the competition.”