It’s an honour normally reserved for club champions.
So when 41 women at the Bunbury Golf Club stood and applauded Lesley Malcolm on her return to the clubhouse last Saturday, something special was clearly going on.
That standing ovation went in the direction of one of the picturesque club’s most cherished members, Lesley Malcolm – and the achievement was so remarkable, it’s hard to fully comprehend.
At 81 years of age, Lesley joined three of her good mates last Wednesday on the par-three first tee at Bunbury as part of the “opening day” for the women’s Wednesday winter series.
A small matter of 152m and a perfectly struck 5-wood later, Lesley was celebrating the first hole-in-one of her 38-year golfing career.
Sadly, the effervescent former farmer didn’t see the ball drop as she had been sufficiently content with her good shot as it rolled on to the green that she bent down to pick up her tee.
“The girls all said, `It went in, it just went in’ and they were really excited, but I didn’t think it was in,” Lesley explained.
“But there were girls on the second tee, too, and they were screaming and carrying on a bit … and sure enough, it was in the cup when we got up there.
“I couldn’t believe it.”
Typically, though, Lesley maintained her focus for the remainder of the round.
“I didn’t want that to spoil anything, so I just told the girls we had to knuckle down, we had 17 holes to go.”
The feat was celebrated by all on the club’s outstanding Facebook page and friends from around the south-west of Western Australia were suitably impressed by the feat.
But why, you may well ask, did the rousing welcome come on Saturday?
Well, this tale is just half complete.
On Saturday, at the opening of the Saturday winter series, Lesley had made her way around to the par-three eighth hole without any substantial incident – but that was about to change, too.
She drew out her trusty 4-iron, “creamed it down there” and 136m later, she’d had her second ace in four days.
“I thought it might go into the bunker at the front of the green, but it just missed it, hopped up and I thought it was over the back,” Lesley said.
“I had a totally different group with me, but they all told me it was in again. I went looking over the back and then we found it was in and they went crazy, too.
“There was pandemonium, really. I couldn’t really believe it.”
As she always does, Lesley continued to push her own buggy around Bunbury and, understandably, wanted to freshen up before heading into the clubhouse after her round.
And that’s when the party really started.
“All the girls, everyone in the clubhouse just gave me a standing ovation – it was so touching,” Lesley said proudly.
“I wasn’t prepared for that at all and was a bit gobsmacked, to be honest. Saturday is a day when we just take a plate in and share it and, all of a sudden, I had people clapping me in.
“It was very emotional … I burst into tears.”
For her magnificent achievement, Lesley won a magnum of cabernet sauvignon from the nearby Capel Vale winery.
“There was enough for 36 glasses and I don’t drink red wine, so I donated it back to the club and they gave me a little bottle of champagne instead,” Lesley said.
“Anyway, I was just so thrilled by the reception, I didn’t really know what to think. Everyone just saw a modern-day miracle!”
On Sunday, Lesley headed back out for another round, a four-ball better ball club competition and played sufficiently well that her handicap went down from 18 to 17.
“I’m on fire!” she joked.
Lesley’s feats have added to an already impressive couple of months for the thriving Bunbury Golf Club, which was recently honoured as the regional club of 2017 by the WA Golf Industry Awards Council.
And Lesley is extremely proud of her club and the social aspect of golf throughout the state’s south-west in particular.
“We were on a farm at Cordering for 40 years, but since I started playing golf, I’ve made so many great friends around the whole region. I think I’ve played every course south of Perth now and it’s such a great way to get to know people.
“I’ve been at Bunbury now for 12 years and it’s fantastic club which has quite a few accolades – I just love going out to play.”