Finally, Joy scores the coveted ace

20:08, Dec 05 2012
Joy Urbahn
AT LAST: New Plymouth golfer Joy Urbahn celebrates her first hole-in-one after 50 years of trying.

It's true. All good things come to those who wait . . . just ask 77-year-old Joy Urbahn.

A "squillion" rounds after picking up her first golf club, the great-grandmother of two has finally scored a hole-in-one.

In her heyday she battled the best amateur women New Zealand had to offer, she won multi Taranaki titles and for years the gold leaf inscribers knew her name by heart as they updated the honours boards at the New Plymouth Golf Club. But never on the one that trumpeted the hole-in-oners. "I've been here, there and everywhere. I've hit the pin, stopped on the edge of the cup . . . you name it I've done it hundreds of times without going in."

Her "perfect shot" on Tuesday was on Ngamotu's 12th hole, the 146m Hillside.

"I spent 40 years using a five iron on that hole but I'm too old for that now. So I pull out my three-wood and in she goes. How dumb is that?

"It's not one of those new-fangled steel ones, just a wooden Ping that I've had for years and don't use very often. It went straight as an arrow, bounced in front of the green and rolled in."


She turned to golf back in the 1960s when her husband, the late Roger Urbahn, moved to Okato as a teacher.

"I'd played hockey for Taranaki for 10 years but there was no team at Okato so golf it was."

After her initiation at the Tumahu club, Urbahn joined the New Plymouth club when Roger began work as the Taranaki Daily News sports editor. "I've played there ever since."

She represented Taranaki for 19 years and then co-selected the team for 10 years once she quit the rep ranks. She was also a New Zealand selector.

"I still try to play twice a week but the energy levels have been down a bit lately.

"Actually I was thinking about pulling out part way through on Tuesday but when I scored the hole-in-one I had to finish the round for it to be recognised."

"I'll be 78 in February but feel 108 today. A few of the girls called around last night and we had a few wines."

Until recently, Urbahn had a handicap of seven but a "terrible" winter has her out to a 13.