AFTER 26 years of hitting the fairways, County Durham’s Michael Henson has finally got the rare bird.

Henson has had three hole-in-ones before but never before has he hit an albatross – until now.

The 37-year-old hit the remarkable shot at the Par 5, 14th at Blackwell Grange for Bishop Auckland in the Teesside Union First Division.

He also went on to win the match on the 18th against Stuart Goodwin from Blackwell Grange and the team won 13-11.

Henson, who plays for Durham County with a handicap of plus one, said: “I’ve been playing golf now since I was an 11-year-old and this is the first time I’ve managed an albatross.

“The shot was from 172 yards uphill with an eight iron. We didn’t actually see the ball go in as it’s a blind shot but it pitched dead on line and bounced straight forward so we knew it was going to be pretty close.

“The initial panic set in when you can’t see the ball and think you’ve hit it over the back, but thankfully it was in the bottom of the hole.”

Over the years Henson – who is married with two daughters - has represented Yorkshire in two games and recently achieved Durham County colours at Castle Eden against Yorkshire.

He has won a remarkable ten Club Championships, six at Bedale and four at Richmond and wants to add Bishop Auckland to that list too.

NEW research has revealed how the North-East’s long list of courses has helped England to become the greatest golfing country in Europe.

Following the release of Golf Around the World 2019 by the Royal & Ancient, has discovered just how strong this country’s offering is.

In fact, 78 per cent of world supply of golf courses is located in just ten countries. As well as England, those are the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Republic of Korea, Sweden and Scotland. Interestingly, it is reported, Europe has the second largest regional share with 23 per cent of the total.

Golf Support has revealed England is the number one golfing country in Europe because it is home to an outstanding 2,270 golf courses.

In second is Germany, with a total below half of that in England, at 1,050 golf courses. France (804), Sweden (662) and Scotland, with 614 golf courses, come in behind.

Spain takes sixth in the list with 497 golf courses, while Ireland holds slightly less with 494. Rounding off the top ten is Denmark (346), the Netherlands (330) and Italy, with 321 golf courses. In the bottom five comes Bosnia and Herzegovina (2), Serbia (2), Belarus (2), the Faroe Islands (1) and, finally, Malta with just one.