Sep 27, 2018

On achieving a hole in one

The miracle of sinking a ball with one shot.

The Unexpected Miracle
by Don McIntosh

Last Saturday, Playing with my good buddies Alex, Con and Simon, it happened to me on the 15th hole. Simon thought he saw it disappear, with the pin at the back it’s hard to see. We get up towards the green; the ball is not in sight. It’s in the hole!

In my state of shock, I completely forgot about updating the “Nearest the Pin” card. Fortunately, one of the guys had fixed it up. Alex immediately confiscated my ball, fearing I would lose it on the next hole. I finished the round shakily, 7, 6, 6. It wasn’t until midweek that I finally realised that I might have won a couple of balls for winning the nearest the pin competition.

That evening, I asked Ms. Google what she knew about the luckiest shot in golf. I discovered this amazing book, which is a treasure trove of information on the subject. It’s titled “Hole in One!” authored by Chris Rodell, a Professor of Mathematics. Any golfer would love to read it; I will tempt you with a few extracts.

Lady Luck can be very random, although the better you are, the luckier you can be. At the top of the list is Sam Snead, winner of 81 tournaments on the PGA tour (still one ahead of Tiger) with 37 holes in one. He has holed out with every club in his bag except his putter.

Here’s an example of the unevenness of luck. Scott Hoch, who started his pro career in 1979, has holed out 26 times. Fred couples started on the tour one year later. Both have earned over 26 million US dollars in their career. Fred Couples has holed out only twice. Rodell suggests he has been doomed by his low numbered surname.

And how about this for a coincidence? Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were playing together in a tournament when Arnold raised the topic of holes in one. He mentioned his tally to date was 17. Jack is astonished; his tally is also 17. Gary’s reaction; “Unbelievable, I am on 17 too!” While talking about Gary Player; he has been upstaged by his wife, who has had two holes in one in the same round.

Never complain until the ball stops rolling. Lee Trevino tells a story about a round he played in the Philippines. A guy in his group tees off, and the ball is headed for the bunker. In disgust, he snaps his club in half while the ball is still in the air. The ball hits the lip of the bunker, and ricochets into the hole for an ace.

It can happen to you at any age. The youngest known golfer was 3 years old, and a 100 year old widow is also mentioned.

Even if you are a golfing dud, you can still get lucky. David Terpoilli of West Norristown, Pennsylvania shot a 123 over par round of 193 at Whitemarsh Country Club in 1994. The score card of the back nine reads: 9-21-9-16-11-13-1-11-9 = 100. He reportedly quit golf that day.

Kay Lowe is a professional opera singer. She was dating a man who wanted to take her golfing. She rides in the cart with him until they reach the 15th, a 110 yard par 3 downhill hole. He asks her if she would like to hit one, and tees it up for her. She swings the club, the ball lands on the green and rolls into the hole. “Is that good?” she says. That’s the only time she has been on a golf course. She never played again. Every time she has swung a golf club on a golf course, she has holed out. Only God could match that record. She is not fat; she is five foot-seven and 127 pounds, so Rodell remarks “It’s not over until the thin lady swings.”

So, continue to live in hope, guys and gals, you just never know!