It’s not every day that a new saying enters our vocabulary but such an occurrence happened recently during one of our Wednesday four balls.
We were playing a four ball at Little Island and were playing the 11th hole. It’s a par five with an old limestone quarry to the right that you have to fly over if you want to hit the green in two shots. Most of us are quite happy to lay up short and pitch on to try to make a par.
I mentioned in a previous blog that 34 years ago Sevy Ballesteros played an exhibition match at Little Island with Liam Higgins. When he was playing that day I stood at the edge of the 11th fairway where I thought Sevy’s drive would land. Well the ball was still rising as it passed over my head by and he ended up playing just a wedge for his second shot. We were so amazed by the length of his tee shot that we decided the following year to plant a tree to mark the spot where his drive finished. The tree planted was appropriately a Spanish Chestnut and therein lies the story.
(Photo of the planting of The Spanish Chestnut tree with some of the kind people from what was then the Shield life Insurance Company (now Zurich) who sponsored the event.)
My partner for that four ball was Charlie Haly and we played against Liam Ormond and Joe O Sullivan.
Joe is son of senior touring professional Denis. He is a brilliant golfer in his own right who hits the golf ball so far that most times when he hits a tee shot we just look at it in awe. I often say, that just once, I would like to hit the ball as far as he does. Anyway playing the same 11th hole with a similar following south west wind, to when Sevy played, Joe unleashed a powerful tee shot. When we got to where his tee shot finished we saw that in fact Joe had hit it past Sevy’s tree and was between the tree and the limestone quarry and yes his second shot also to this par five only required a gentle wedge.
Naturally I took out my camera to record this spectacular event and I knew that Joe would be delighted to see the photo of his tee shot past Sevy’s as he is a great admirer of Sevy and spends much time studying his swing on old films and especially the ones of Sevy playing pitch shots.
Photo of Joe getting into position to play his second shot with the beautiful Spanish Chestnut in the background. This photo is just before Joe plays the shot and you can see his perfect set up and balance.
What happened next in my opinion was definitely a divine intervention from Sevy who perhaps was mildly put out that Joe or anyone had the audacity to hit a tee shot past where his had finished.
As Joe was playing the shot I think that Sevy gave Joe’s wedge a little divine tweak on the back swing because the next thing that happened was that Joe hit a truly superb shank straight right and the ball landed in the middle of the quarry at the same time as an agonised expletive could be heard coming from Joe. As you can see from the next photo his wedge went flying straight back over his shoulder.
You couldn’t have planned for this, it was truly wonderful fun!
And what did Joe’s partner Liam think of all of this. Liam is affectionately known as Bunty and as you can see he was simply relieving himself over by Sevy’s tree and only for my photographs would have had no idea as to the sequence of events. If you do a little zoom in you can see Bunty minding to his own business in the background.
Ever since the expression “going for a Bunty” has been heard on golf courses around Cork whenever a golfer need to make a little trip behind the trees!
Ted Dwyer Family Business