Golfer gets tattoos to celebrate holes-in-one

GET INKED: Jenny Ritchie, 64, decided in 2006 that getting eight holes-in-one in her lifetime was worth celebrating.
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ
GET INKED: Jenny Ritchie, 64, decided in 2006 that getting eight holes-in-one in her lifetime was worth celebrating.

If Jenny Ritchie ever loses count of the number of holes in one she's had, all she needs to do is take a quick glance at her ankles.

The Marton woman is getting her 10th golf-ball-shaped tattoo inked on her leg next week - one tattoo for every time she's watched the ball sail into the cup from the tee.

Ritchie, 64, decided in 2006 that getting eight holes in one in her lifetime was worth celebrating.

'IT'S ALL LUCK' says hole in one specialist Jenny Ritchie.
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ
'IT'S ALL LUCK' says hole in one specialist Jenny Ritchie.

A friend convinced her it would be fun to get a tattoo memorialising each ace.

The golf ball tattoos, emblazoned with the year she hit the hole in one, surround a golf tee tattoo on the lower calf of her right leg. Then something awkward happened. Ritchie hit another hole in one.  

With no space left for another tattoo on her right leg, she had to start a new tattoo all over again on her left.

Then in February this year Ritchie hit her 10th at Feilding Golf Club.  

Her ninth tattoo will be lonely no longer. And there is another reason why the 10th is extra sweet.

"I got told about a lady in the Hawke's Bay who had nine.

"I'm sure there are people around with more, but I haven't heard of them so when I heard that I wanted 10.

"Every time you get one the feeling is the same, the heart still races, it doesn't get old."

Ritchie, who still plays off a five handicap, notched her first hole-in-one as a teen in 1966 and has been potting them around the North Island ever since.

Wanganui Golf Club is where she has been most prolific - she has had four there.

It is also the site of what she considers her greatest achievement.

On the final day of the old millennium Ritchie aced the fifth hole. The next day - January 1, 2000 - she went back to the fifth and aced it again. Her freakish accomplishment became news around the world.

Ritchie says there is no secret to her success. Practice will get you hitting it close, but whether it goes in the hole or not, "it's just luck" she said.

She's off to Powerhouse Tattoos to memorialise her 10th piece of luck after the New Zealand Women's Masters in Feilding this weekend.

Manawatu Standard