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Keep a 10 off your card? You couldn't invent it!
November 24, 2010 - Exclusive to Golf Today

October 10th is National Day in Chinese Taipei - known as "Double Ten" - but there was no reason to suppose that Sunday 10/10/2010 would be different from any other in this leafy corner of Shropshire, England.

Brian Ferriday, handicap 10Brian Ferriday and his golfing buddy David Moore were playing in the final Medal of the season at Lilleshall Hall Golf Club, where Brian has been a member for some 12 years.

"I took up golf late, about 15 years ago. I was 50, and I'd played a lot of sport - mostly rugby and squash - in my life, so I had reasonable hand-eye coordination. Some friends took me out just after Christmas to try golf for the first time and I was hooked very quickly, just playing with a half set. I played at Aqualate to begin with, it was only 9 holes pay-and-play, but it was near my home in Newport and there was an 18 month waiting list to join Lilleshall. I got my handicap down to 12 after only 15 months and finally got into Lilleshall, but my handicap's been up and down around 11, 12, 13 ever since, never any lower."

After a career in banking and finance, Brian decided to retire in February this year at the age of 64. 'Fez' - as he's been known to his friends since schooldays - had been looking forward to playing a lot more golf. "I used be a once a week golfer, every Saturday morning. So when I retired, I thought I could get my handicap down by playing more."

The handicap did indeed come down, about six weeks before the day of the final Medal at Lilleshall. Brian was now off... 10.

The fine clubhouse at Lilleshall Hall

Known as the 'Jewel in the Crown' of Shropshire Golf, Harry Colt-designed Lilleshall Hall is not a long course, only 5,813 yards and a par 68, with no par 5s, but very tight. Coming off the 9th, Brian was feeling good about his game. "I was going nicely, only three over gross at the turn, two shots under my new handicap. I felt confident, although I know the back nine is much harder, cut through woods, with trees both sides on most holes."

Lilleshall Hall scorecardThe par 4 10th, 385 yards, is one such hole, with dense woods left and right. Unfortunately, Brian hit his first bad shot of the day, a pulled drive that disappeared deep into the trees on the left - O/B. Reloading, and determined not to go left again, Brian sliced the next one into the trees on the right - O/B again. Fuming now, he played five off the tee, and managed to get one into the fairway, but left himself a longish shot to the green. His sixth failed to find the putting surface and the subsequent weak chip left him a tricky putt to save an eight. He missed, and to add insult to injury, missed the one back as well - three putts and a ten!

The 10th green at Lilleshall Hall
The 10th green at Lilleshall Hall

From three over at the turn, he was suddenly nine over after ten, with only one shot of the new handicap left to play with. "It ruined my round, my confidence and the good mood had gone," he said. Unsurprisingly, he dropped another six shots coming home for a final score of 83 gross, 73 net.

"I didn't realise at all what I'd done when I handed the card in," he said. "Dave and I were chatting in the bar, I was drowning my sorrows, still cursing in fact. We heard that a net 67, one under, was the best score in, so with a par at the 10th I'd have been in with a chance of winning. Then Dave suddenly twigged it... Handicap 10, I'd taken 10 at the 10th on the 10th day of the 10th month of 2010!"

Alan Marklew, Honorary Secretary of Lilleshall Hall Golf Club, said: "It's just a shame Fez wasn't playing back on January 1st, 2001. We've never had a hole in one at the 1st!"

Was the strange chain of events any consolation to Brian, after an 83? "It was an extraordinary coincidence," he said, "but it didn't make me feel any better! Nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened to me on the golf course. I've never had a hole-in-one, been close a number of times, but that's it. So the next day Dave wrote to Golf Today - but that was before it got even weirder."

How Golf Today first heard about Brian Ferriday's exploit

Brian's story had indeed a final twist. An email from Howdidido gave him the results of the competition. Unable to believe his eyes, he checked again on the website. Sure enough - he had finished 10th in the Medal!

Brian Ferriday on Howdidido

"I was just amazed. And of course all my golfing friends have had a great laugh at my expense with it. They suggest that, if there's a Medal next year on November 11th, I should take a putter off the tee at the 11th!"

And what, we wondered, is Brian's shoe size? "It's 9½."

Oh well, can't win 'em all...


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