When Ruairi Scollard rocked up for his midweek tee-time with his Dad 20 minutes before they were due to hit off, he never would’ve predicted what was about to unfold just a half-an-hour later.
With barely a practice swing on board, the Bray member of 10 years landed the rarest bird in all of golf on the very first hole, burying an albatross ‘2’ at the opening par-5 that’s sure to stay with him forever.
“I was playing Dad and I hit the drive but with the winter sun, I couldn’t see where it went,” Ruairi says, his voice still buzzing from the feat.
“I lost it completely and he goes, ‘I think that’s out of bounds!’ It’s all out of bounds down the right-hand-side in Bray so I hit a provisional, knocked it down and picked it up because it was a four-ball competition but I got up there and my first drive was about five yards in bounds.”
With luck on his side, Ruairi went about sizing up his approach to the elevated green.
“I think I was about 155 to the flag,” he says. “I hit a 7-iron but again, lost it completely in the sun, not a clue where it was but Dad said ‘that’s stitched to the flag, stitched to the flag’.”
Given Dad had called his first drive out of bounds, it’s easy to forgive Ruari for being sceptical but to the green he went.
“It’s all uphill so you can’t actually see it land in Bray but we got up there and there was a pitch-mark about ten yards short of the flag.
“I was like ‘where’s the ball, where’s the ball?’ and he was convinced it had to be close so I walked up and it was in the hole,” Ruari said, bursting out laughing, even a day later unable to contain his excitement.
“It was crazy. We had dinner in the clubhouse last night and the Captain made a speech and congratulated me. They think it might be the first ever one in Bray but they’re checking the records. The gas thing is I made an albatross and didn’t see the ball on any occasion!”
A hole-in-one ordinarily means a player is buying drinks for the bar but there was mass confusion given the rarity of the albatross as to how it should be celebrated.
“Nobody really knew what to do,” Ruairi laughs. “Everybody was asking what happens with the Two’s competition but there were about 15 other twos so I got nine euro for it!”
The 35-year old 11-handicap had never had a hole-in-one before, never mind an albatross but work is underway behind the scenes to ensure the moment is captured forever, not that he’d ever forget.
“One of the lads joked that McIlroy’s got a plaque in The K Club and he didn’t even get an albatross, only an eagle,” Ruairi laughs.
“I think Golf Ireland said they’re going to send me out a certificate so I’ll get that framed for sure. I still can’t believe it!”