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MBABANE – Eswatini Sugar Association (ESA’s) Chief Executive Officer Dr Phil Mnisi made good history when he scored a hole-in-one at the Nkonyeni Bushveld Golf Course last Saturday.   

A hole-in-one is when a golfer hits the ball directly from the tee box into the hole with one stroke. Experts say the odds of scoring a hole-in-one are 12 500 to one, which means it is an extremely exceptional accomplishment. This is a historic and pleasant feat for Mnisi, which he aced in style on the tricky par-3 hole number 2 to earn instantly a cool four points. Under normal circumstances, a player is regarded fairly competent when she or he hits the ball three times in a par-3 hole, which makes a hole-in-one extraordinary. Mnisi was participating in the Shamrock Betterball Stableford competition, which had over 30 golfers. By Saturday evening, right up to the following day, he was inundated with congratulatory calls and messages from fellow golfers.


Nkonyeni Estate’s Director of Golf Frans Strauss has also congratulated Mnisi and assured him that, as per tradition, he would receive a recognition certificate for the phenomenal performance on the stroke 15 hole. “We’ve received a number of congratulatory messages directed to him in our club’s whatsapp group, which is a great spirit,” said Strauss. Describing the magical shot, Mnisi, who is a handicap 7, said he never anticipated pulling such a great stride. He recalled that before taking the 146-metre long shot, he pulled out an 8-iron golf club with the intention of landing the ball anywhere on the green, preferably closer to the hole cup.

“I’ve played that hole so many times and it is usually one of the most difficult for a whole lot of golfers, including myself. After taking the ball, I was pleased to see it fly straight to the green and thereafter I relaxed seeing that it won’t get into a ditch or anywhere where it would be uncomfortable to play from,” he said. Mnisi said much against his imagination and prediction, the ball disappeared from his sight upon landing on the green and he wasn’t really sure if it sank into the hole. By that time, he was anxious and moderately excited.


“I didn’t want to believe it until I had walked to the hole to confirm that, indeed, the ball was inside the hole. As a Christian, I can’t help but attribute such an achievement to God my Creator. On my own and by myself, I wouldn’t have done this, it’s so inconceivable. What a way to start the year,” he said. The funniest part, according to Mnisi, is that knowing how much of a tricky sport golf is, he would not guarantee to score another hole-in-one in the same par 3 or any other hole even if he were to get a thousand more chances. “This normally happens unexpectedly and only God knows when and how because there are a number of pertinent factors involved, such as your alignment, choice of club, accuracy and power behind the shot. If you asked me to take the same shot with the same accuracy, I don’t think I would be able given the well-documented fascinating intricacies about golf as a sport,” he stated.
Apart from being a highly-regarded corporate executive, Mnisi is a passionate and experienced amateur golfer, who usually plays at the Mbabane golf club where he is a member. Besides being ESA’s CEO he is board chairperson of both the EswatiniBank and Eswatini Electricity Company.  

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