Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

Aces for Everybody

Watch two golfers ace Payne’s Valley’s 19th hole in a span of minutes

August 31, 2022

When Payne’s Valley Golf Course opened back in 2020, it made news for a few reasons. It’s spectacular setting, it’s beloved namesake, and, of course, it’s designer, a fella by the name of Tiger Woods. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. But Payne’s Valley boasted another enticement: Bonus golf, specifically its par-3 19th hole, tucked in a spectacular limestone lagoon and flanked by a majestic waterfall. Since then, many golfers (Payne’s Valley was the first public TGR Design course on the planet) have tested their mettle on the overtime hole, but the 19th hole has stood firm, allowing just 12 aces over the course of two years.

That was until this week, however, when the island green gave up the goods twice in a span of just minutes as cameras rolled. Incredible—almost unbelievable—scenes.

The first ace belonged to Susan Stevens. It landed about 10 feet short, took one tantalizing hop, and trickled in. The shrieks of excitement were so loud even the drone camera picked them up. The second came courtesy of Virginia native Billye Hollister, who flew it pretty much straight in, nuking the back lip of the cup in the process. The boys immediately went nuts, seemingly as happy as if they’d just hit their own. Wild stuff across the board.

You could chalk it up to the pin position, visibly soft greens, or Bugs Bunny lurking beneath the putting surface with magnet a la 'Space Jam,' but you would be trying to explain the unexplainable. According to Payne’s Valley, the odds of two holes-in-one happening on the 19th hole on the same day, let alone minutes apart, are approximately 17 million to one. So go ahead, try to rationalize it all you want, but sometimes you just have to shrug and say “that’s golf.”