My older brother Chris, has one. My younger brother Casey, has two. People all over the planet have enjoyed the feeling of knocking a tiny ball into a small cup hundreds of yards away…in one shot. It’s finally a list, I can add my name to.
Some people could care less about golf in general, but to some, it’s a way of life. It’s a chance to get away from reality for 5 hours and walk the green pastures of the greatest game on the globe. Golf can be a struggle. It can make you hate your best friend, bend a $300 putter, smash a new driver into a tree, or launch an entire golf bag into a nearby pond. But in the midst of all this anxiety and stress, comes a moment like this, a split second in time that makes all the time, energy, and frustration finally worth it.
It was Monday June 6th at City Park Golf Course at 12:41pm. I was playing in the “First Tee Tournament” in a triple threat format. As a foursome, my group played six holes of “Scotch”, we played 6 holes of “Scramble”, and 6 holes of “Team Best Ball”. We started the round on number 5 (as most tournaments like these do in a shot-gun format) and were finishing up on number 4. We found ourselves on this 197 yard par 3, tied with the group behind us. The discussions went something like this, “Well boys, it’s been a hell of a day, we’re 15 under and need a birdie to win.” As my 3 teammates rolled out of their respective carts I said, “It looks a lot longer than 197 yards, this could get ugly, we may just want to par this hole and go to a scorecard playoff.” As it turns out, the hole measured 207 yards with the rangefinder. I grabbed a utility club and then quickly returned it to my bag, and grabbed the 4-iron (the wind was behind us) and trotted off to the tee-box. Now, before I get into the exact moment, I need to preface it with a few lines I typically use on par 3’s (mind you, I have never had a hole in one) to razz my opponents and get myself fired up. (1) Well, I’m due, I haven’t had a hole-in-one this entire month! (2) I can’t believe that today…is the day. (3) So, just put it in that little hole, right? That’s it?
On this particular summer day, I said nothing, I stepped up and hit it perfect. The rangefinder said the flag was 207 yards away. I hit the ball 206.9 yards. It never hit the green. It never bounced, there was no backspin, off the rake, down a slope….there was nothing but net! I crammed the ball in on the fly. I just stopped and said, “Did that go in?” The Course Ranger was sitting in his cart nearby and said, “I think it did, hang on big fella, let me go check!” As he drove the cart up to the green, not a word was spoken by any of us…just 4 dudes standing in silence, looking around like we had just seen an alien ship fly straight over our heads. The Ranger climbed out of his cart and began walking to the green. At this moment, I felt like I was being tortured. Could it have hit the pin and gone flying off onto Colorado Boulevard? What was wrong with my Lasik vision? Why couldn’t I see anything? Why did I not have any spit in my mouth? Where was I? Was I about to pass out or puke? The nerves were too much to bear. I just accepted the fact that I had been snake-bitten once again. I had been waiting for 38 long years for this moment and this was all one big TEASE by the golf gods. The Ranger slowly stepped up to the cup and looked down in the hole. He took one look back at us standing on the tee-box and began to pump his fist like Phil Mickelson did in the 18th green at Augusta.
I can’t really explain the emotion or the carnage that ensued after. You’ll just have to trust me on this one….I made the most of it. Thank you MASTERCARD.
Now, the only question is…..when can I get a crack at another one?