My brilliant round was never recognised


“Yes, Josh, I very proudly shot 59 in 1974 (with a bogey!) to win the Brazilian Open. Check the records, but you might find this was prior to anyone doing so on the US tour (…) My best. GP”.

This recent tweet by one of my all-time heroes, Gary Player, brought back some wonderful memories. I can still remember the day when we heard that Gary had broken 60 during the Brazilian Open in Rio de Janeiro. I was in the army and the news of our own Black Knight’s score of 59 came through shortly after we celebrated our 40 Days.

Golf was the one sport that got you out of the military camps back in those days of “national service”. I was stationed in Lenz near Johannesburg and our small group of golfers were allowed to play for free on most courses around Johannesburg. We grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Anything for even the smallest taste of “Civvy Street”.

Most of us played off handicaps ranging between 12 and 18. Our biggest challenge was to break 40 over nine holes. I managed to do this only once. It was in Vryburg during my matric year. My brilliant 39 was never “recognised” as I was alone and I only played nine holes early one morning before school. Basically nobody believed me!

The “perfect round” in golf, a 54 on a par 72-course, which implies an average of a birdie on every hole, has never been achieved by a professional golfer in a professional event. But it is still interesting to google the all-time best 18-hole scores on the PGA Tour.

In the long history of the tour there have only been 10 rounds with scores below 60. Jim Furyk holds the record with his 12-under 58 at the TPC River Highlands course during the last round of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut in 2016. It’s not a bad score, but I doubt whether Furyk ever broke 40 over nine holes at the age of 17 before school one morning.

Albè Grobbelaar