That morning I took my nice, new Srixon Z Star balls out of the bag and replaced them with older yellow Srixon Q Stars, almost shag balls really. The weather was cool and the wind was up and I didn’t want to lose good balls that day. I figured it will be my last round of the year so hold the good ones for 2016.
I have golfed for 38 years and until November 1, the closest I had ever come to an ace was when I was 12 years old. I was a junior at Chedoke Golf Club in Hamilton, and was playing the Martin Course with a couple older gentlemen. The par 3 10th has an elevated tee and may play about 150 yards or so, as I recall. Being young and a short hitter, I used driver and the ball sailed, traversed the slope perfectly, rolled slowly across the green and somehow ended about 4 inches behind the cup. While I missed the ace, it was my first birdie. Truthfully, over the years the closest I had come since was about 2 feet. Nothing that flirted with the pin and certainly nothing as close as that morning when I was 12.
Along with two friends we played mid-morning on Sunday, November 1 at Streetsville Glen, an executive length course which is part of the Kaneff group of courses in Ontario. The course was playing a par 62 but strong winds and gusts of about 60 kmh made for tough scoring. The 18th is 124 yards on the card and was playing 115 yards. Truth be told, my original thought was a flight it high and take extra clubs but one of my playing partners suggested keeping it under the wind. Wiser words may have never been shared. Having had considerable practice with knock down shots all day I took an 8 iron and placed the ball – without a tee – on some fluffy grass. The swing was smooth and the contact crisp and I was pleased to see the slight cut as it made its way toward the green. Quickly (too quickly, looking back) I saw a bounce than nothing except a subtle quiver of the flag. It was my one friend who shouted, “It’s in the hole”. Stunned by what might be, I dropped the club and accepted high fives.
We were not pushed at all; it was a quiet day on the course. We took the one power cart we had and made the long, slow drive around to the bridge to check if, in fact, the ball was in the hole. Not seeing it on the green made me break out into a big grin and looking in, almost lost within the leaves, was my beat up golf ball. My playing partners returned, teed off and played out. Then it was time for pictures. The course was great. They provided me a certificate (and upon asking, an old pin flag). My friends signed the card and it was official, my first ace. And with it being a quiet Sunday, there was no one else in the clubhouse to buy a round for. Taking the celebrations elsewhere, the three of us enjoyed a beer and some appetizers; my ace cost me a grand total of $57. I’m sure there are others who did not get off so light after their hole-in-one.
It’s an accomplishment I will always remember. I’ve read the rumours that Ben Hogan never had an ace in his life and for avid golfers everywhere I hope it is something you get to experience at some time. While I’m glad it was a good shot that resulted in the hole-in-one, it would matter not if it rattled around the willow adjacent to the hole and spit itself out and somehow found the cup. There are no pictures on a scorecard. But for this card there will be some pictures of me, beaming, beside it. That and an old, beat up yellow ball.
I wonder how many golfers ended their season with an ace? A part of me is tempted to keep an eye on the forecast and start hunting for number 2.