Holy Cow! A Hole-in-One


Baby boomers love golf. It is estimated that 9 million of us go out and chase around a tiny little ball, over hill and dale, thru sand and woods, trying to stay out of the water and weeds, attempting to get that little bugger in a hole with a 4 1/2 inch diameter in as few a strokes as humanly possible, all the while pretending we are having fun.

I took up the game about twenty years ago, which put me at a distinct disadvantage. Many golfers start before their teens. Tiger Woods had a golf club in his hands at the age of two. A buddy I golf with sometimes brings his grandson along, who is very close to being as good as the rest of us. He is 9.

Ends up I am slightly above average when it comes to my golfing abilities. The average golfer is said to shot 100. I average around 90, give are take 4 or 5 strokes in either direction, usually up. So I'm in about the C+, B– range. I suppose, to make a long story short, I do just good enough to keep going back, but you won't be seeing me on the Senior Tour anytime soon.

I do like the game. It gets you outside, provides a minimal amount of exercise, and is a good tension reliever, which means you can cuss with minimal interruptions. Golf takes complete concentration, making sure you do everything as close to "right" as you possibly can. The choice of club, pre-shot routine, your stance, your grip, your aim, your swing, your follow-thru, and not cheering or cussing too loud at the result. Everything has to be in-sync, which is one of the reasons my game is seldom on. Patience is a virtue. If you lose it, your score goes up, and your mind goes to wondering. Both produce high scores.

Honesty is also put to a test. Counting all those strokes can get one confused. Sometimes that confusion can be legitimate, sometimes not. It is easy to move the ball a little bit to avoid a tree or get a better swing. Shaving off a stroke or two here and there is a temptation every golfer faces. Since we don't play for money, we generally speaking don't care what the other guy does. The lower the score, the closer the scrutiny, although we have never resorted to a lie detector test. Yet.

Which leads me back to the main point. This summer I got a hole-in-one. Understanding my game is not all that good, a hole-in-one is something of a miracle. On July 23, at Bunker Links, Hole #3, 165 yards, with a 6 iron, two bounces, some roll, and in, I beat the odds, which are 1 in 42,952. The number of rounds it takes the average golfer to get an ace is 2,386. That equals one round per week for 45 years. And it has to be shared. You have to have a witness. It has to be a shared event and thus becomes a shared memory.

We celebrated the rest of the day at my house. Seems the guy who gets the hole-in-one has to buy, which don't seem right. The guys got me a t-shirt commemorating the event and I put the scorecard and ball on a plaque. The golf course puts it in the paper, which seems a bit trivial for the occasion, since we could do that ourselves. It did get me to thinking about celebration of special events and accomplishments. It would seem well worthwhile for a golf course to mark the occasion of a hole-in-one by placing your name on a plaque and/or the wall. This would begin to build some tradition and memories which would ultimately create some community and bonding, at least among golfers at Bunker. One of my golfing buddies remembers his father got a hole-in-­one at Bunker many years ago. Looking at his fatherŐs name on the wall would give him a moment of reflection and fond memory, something we can all use more of. But it was not to be. We pass by simple things that could be meaningful parts of our collective memories, probably every day. Recognizing these moments are key elements in opening up our awareness to the world around us. Accomplishments abound: Graduations, special birthdays, weddings, job getting, job promotions, good deeds done, generosities, anniversaries. Some simple, some more complex and perhaps thought of as trivial. A hole-in-one I wouldn't place very high on any list of accomplishments, but who am I to judge for others? It is a moment to celebrate and mark. The golf course missed it, but my friends didn't. Now I can say: A hole-in- one? Yes, I have. And I can feel good about having shared it with them. It is a shared memory I'm sure we will talk about frequently over a few Buds.