After completing a “hole in 1” at the Ariège Pyrénées Ecogolf course in Unjat, Linda, Alain and Christian will fly to Hawaii in hopes of winning…1 million dollars!
The chance, for an amateur golfer, of making a hole in 1 on a par 3 (ie hitting the ball directly into the hole) is 1 in 12,500. Only after 20 years of practice. Amateurs or professionals, there are even some who have never been there. Between talent and luck, the line is sometimes tenuous. But the challenge is still just as exciting. The company of 18 events decided to surf on it. “To revitalize your club, highlight your members, reward your players, all golf courses organize numerous competitions. The installation of the “hole in 1” in each of the competitions is almost inseparable”. In September 2019, the brand “W1n1none” was launched. The concept is simple. Partner golf courses have two fully autonomous cameras installed on one of their par 3s (at Unjat, the installation is financed by a sponsor). One at the beginning, the other at the end. “Remove all restrictions. » The Ecogolf Ariège Pyrénées in Unjat is one of the twenty French golf courses that have tried the experience. “I was the one who requested them,” explains Jean-Alain Rives, president of Ecogolf. With the Palmola golf course in Toulouse, we were the forerunners. A great opportunity to offer licensees (and others) a new challenge. All this with respect for the environment. “Both cameras work with photovoltaic panels. Everyone can benefit from this new system (subscriptions at an exceptional rate for all club members -€40 instead of €120- and the right to play at €2 instead of €5 for all external green fees). All within the limit of one course per day, that is, one opportunity per day. To go even further, 18-events has decided to reward the lucky ones who succeed in this famous hole in one with a trip to Hawaii. Better yet, whoever is the first to make another hole in one there will win…1 million dollars! In just under 2 years, there are only 8 in France (the only country where the challenge is organized at the moment) who have achieved this feat. And, of these 8, 3 are from Ariège! Jean-Alain Rives can only smile. Are Ariège golfers more talented? Not at all. “It was I who chose the 12th hole of Unjat to install the cameras there. There is a small stop that allows the ball to return and, if we are lucky (laughs)…” A special hole since the goal is below the tee. Alain Mazzonetto is one of the lucky three from Ariège who pulled off the performance of sending his ball straight into the hole. “I had the right distance, I played a good hole that day. Par 3 is fine for me. After a rich career as a rugby player, Alain took up golf just 4 years ago. And he became addicted to it. He hits balls every day… in his house, in his garden. He was also happy to have been the first, last summer, to achieve this “hole in 1” in Unjat. “If so, I will never do it again. When my playmate told me that he thought the ball had gone into the hole, my heart raced. The 12th is one of the holes that I appreciate the most. The first to congratulate him was Simon Armstrong. The Scotsman installed in Ariège could have been in his friend’s place but he also achieved a “hole in 1” on day 12… “but it was two or three days before the cameras were installed” (only the video can prove that the shot was successful in proving the identity of the person who fired the shot). He was able to console himself a bit later because it was his wife, Linda, who validated the magic blow. One of two women out of eight qualified. “It’s the best shot, explains Jean-Alain Rives. He bounced a few inches short of the hole and returned silently. Linda and Simon started playing golf 9 years ago, precisely in Unjat. “It’s rare for a Scot to start so late, isn’t it? laughs Simon, who will accompany his wife to Hawaii and will be his caddy. “Playing golf here is a dream. Christian Huet is the third to have validated his ticket. Like his friends, he hasn’t played golf for so long (8 years). He still can’t get over having succeeded in this “hole in 1”. “I will not hide from you that I was lucky. We had been trying for a year and a half. With my partners, we joked about it every time. That day it was played at a quarter of an hour. So it was dark. » Christian explains why this hole 12 allows, perhaps, to have a little more luck than in other places. “You have to get to the slope, to the right. Even when he misses his shot, he allows the ball to return to the green. He also hadn’t seen that his ball had gone in. “I thought the entire green had been crossed (laughs). Linda, Alain and Christian could even have been accompanied by Jean-Alain-Rives. “I also made the hole in 1 but it was on my second ball (laughs). » One too many (only one attempt per day).
Obviously, the earned trip to Hawaii is the icing on the cake. But Linda, Alain and Christian, above all, admit their luck having pulled off an almost impossible stunt. They got caught up in the game and if they were successful again in Hawaii then there would have to be a serious look at the stats…
Address Rome in 2023, many projects in Ariège
Address Rome in 2023.– If you missed your chance this season (even the last two due to the Covid crisis), you can now try your luck as the “hole in 1” operation is renewed. From November 1, 2021, all those who pass this “hole in 1” (still on the 12th hole of the Ariège Pyrénées Ecogolf course) will qualify for the grand final that will take place in Rome (Italy). They will also benefit from VIP entry to the 2023 Ryder Cup. When he thinks about it, Alain Mazzonetto’s eyes light up: “I already have this next challenge in mind. The principle remains unchanged.
Unjat golf projects.– The golf course loved by Jean-Alain Rives has expanded its partnership to host the “W1n1nhole” competition. And that gave the president a lot of other ideas. “We are going to try to develop this challenge. With the same principle, one can imagine winning other prizes, through partners. Jean-Alain Rives had already considered winning a car for the President’s Cup, but the deadline was too short. “To let everyone have a chance, we can also imagine a focus competition. The one who would win would be the one who got closest to the hole. The Unjat golf course has not finished innovating.