Kim Jong Il, the historical 38 under par at 52

This incredible story came to light through Eric Ellis, an Australian journalist who casually visited North Korea's only golf course near Pyongyang.

by Andrea Gussoni
SHARE
Kim Jong Il, the historical 38 under par at 52
© Getty Images Sport - Darren Carroll / Stringer

On June 10, 1977, at the South Course of the Colonial Country Club in Tennessee, Al Geiberger made history as "Mr. 59". On that unforgettable day, Geiberger hit every fairway and green, using only 23 putts to score 59, thus breaking the barrier of 60 strokes on the PGA Tour.

Since then, only 10 other players have managed to equal or surpass this feat.

Golf, results

The most notable of these performances occurred in August 2016, during the final day of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, when Jim Furyk, at the age of 46, achieved the historic feat of scoring 58, finishing 12 under par and becoming the first and only "Mr.

58" on the PGA Tour. In addition to these exceptional performances on the PGA and Japan Tours, Bryson De Chambeau has replicated the achievement on the LIV circuit. However, nothing compares to the remarkable score of 38 under par recorded by Kim Jong Il, the former Supreme Leader of North Korea, in 1994 at the age of 52.

This incredible story came to light through Eric Ellis, an Australian journalist who casually visited North Korea's only golf course near Pyongyang. During a conversation with a club professional, Ellis learned of the day when Kim Jong Il, accompanied by 17 bodyguards as witnesses, completed the 7,200-yard course in just 34 shots, scoring an amazing 5 hole-in-ones.

However, what might seem like an incredible feat was likely misunderstood in how scores were recorded. The scorer marked each shot relative to par: 1 for bogey, 2 for double bogey, and so on, totaling 106 shots, 34 over par.

This makes the 38-under-par score a story that's hard to believe for a novice golfer. When the news was reported by North Korean media, those presumed bogeys were interpreted as hole-in-ones, and the total score was declared as 34 shots.

No one ever took responsibility to correct or refute the announcement, leaving North Korea with the claim to the greatest golfer in history, and leaving us with a smile thinking about the exploits of the man who, for a day, became the Supreme Leaderboard.

SHARE