Late-blooming octogenarian golfer scores hole-in-one

Elizabeth Lawton, 87, stands at the pin after acing the par 3 ninth hole at Camlachie Golf & Country Club. Photo courtesy, Dorothy O’Malley

Troy Shantz

Only a decade after taking up the sport, 87-year-old Elizabeth Lawton did what most golfers can only dream of – scored a hole in one.

“They were saying, ‘It’s in, it’s in! I didn’t believe it,” recalled the Sarnia woman, who notched the ace Aug. 19 on the ninth hole of the Camlachie Golf & Country Club.

Lawton’s feat was witnessed by Jeannine Hebert, Carol Getsinger and Dorothy O’Malley, all members of the former Bright’s Grove senior ladies league.

The 112-foot, par 3 is a “weird” hole in which players tee off from a hill overlooking the green below, Lawton said.

Her friends were more excited than she was, she added with a laugh.

“One of them kept on saying, ‘She got a hole in one,’ to everybody we passed in the parking lot.”

The odds of the average golfers acing a tee shot are one in 12,000, according to the insurance actuaries of hole-in-one contests.

Coincidentally, those are the same odds as being struck by lightning in your lifetime if you live to 80 years, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

Jamie Parkinson, golf pro at the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club, said his club recorded 15 holes-in-one last year, with another 10 so far this year.

“We have players that have as many as 13, 14. Good players,” he said. “And I think luck definitely plays a part in it.”

It’s customary to stand a round of drinks for everyone in the clubhouse after scoring an ace. But because of the pandemic restrictions, no celebration could be held at the Camlachie club on Egremont Road.

Lawton only picked up the clubs at the age of 77 and after the passing of her late husband. He just wasn’t interested and it was a time when people used to ask, “Who wants to hit a little white ball around and then walk after it?” she said.

At the urging of her daughter, she took some lessons over the winter and then gave it a shot.

“I was hooked,” she said.