How many of you know that I play golf? Well, I do. I have been playing since I was old enough to hold a club. I hit balls, I practice my putting, my short game, my irons, my draw, my fade, and the list never ends with a golf game. I hit more balls than I can count and I sink more putts than I can imagine. I play round for round every year keeping track of every stroke and hitting the best courses I can get my hands, and wallet on. I have been playing more than 40 rounds a year since I cam remember when.
A golfer, myself included, wants that famed hole in one. We hear about them all the time. We see people that have gotten them time and time again. And we sit there and wonder, how in the world do I get myself one of those? I hit balls, I practice the tee shots, I even hit mulligans on the holes that I swear this next ball is the one. But they never fall. They never seem to fall into the cup. You might end a foot short or a single roll too long. Had the wind not blown that hard to the left then you might have sank that last one. The breeze was too brisk, the dog barked in my back stroke, and I knew it wasn’t enough club. The list of excuses goes on and on and on for days.
But I have been close. I have been close twice actually. The first one happened at Mark’s Par Three golf course in Terre Haute, Indiana. I was young, and I hit a 2 iron (even God can’t hit a 2 iron) on a short 165 yard hole. The green was hidden and I could not see whether I even had enough club or was deep, or if I lost the ball completely after I hit it. And as I come up to the hole I notice that the ball is nowhere to be found. I look and look and look and never see the ball. But the pin, stuck deep into the ground, is snapped in two. It was broken toward the base of the stick. After a few more moments of searching I finally found my ball. I will never know for sure but I am certain that my ball landed right there, on the stick, and snapped it right in two. (This actually happened to me once before. I hit a 4 iron into a par five at Hulman Links golf course in a high school match. Snapped the pin in two. I eagled that hole, thank goodness. Hard to miss a one footer.)
The second one came in a high school match the same. I was on the 5th hole at Forest Park golf course in Brazil, Indiana and I hit way too much club. It was going right at the hole and I knew that spinning a five iron was more than likely out of the question. So I yelled for the ball to sit and I had no idea where it finished. This was a blind tee shot as well. (Is there a trend here with my blind tee shots?) I walk up to the hole and the ball is nowhere. It is either long or in the cup. Before I got excited I walked to the back of the green to see if I had hit it deep when a kid from the other team (Terre Haute North) looked into the cup and said, “Hey, there is a ball in here.” At the same time he said that he yanked the pin out of the cup. This, by the rules of golf, is now no longer considered a hole in one. I am the one, the person that hits the shot, that has to pull the pall or the pin from the hole, not another competitor. This, due to the rules of golf, resulted in a birdie. Needless to say I was not a very happy camper the rest of the round. So yeah, I have had a hole in one. But not really. But kind of. But not really.
And I read a story today about a 65 year old that had moved to Florida in the glory of retirement. They had never played golf before and decided that since they lived in the sunshine state of golf that they would learn. So, they take up lessons a little over two months ago. Hitting balls left and right and pretending to practice as hard as me. After two months of this they decided to take up the game on the course. So, they hit the course and on the very first hole, a 100 yard par three (how many courses start you off with a par three, let alone a 100 yard one) and smokes their ball right into the cup. In theory, the very first hole that they had played in their entire life and they scored a hole in one.
Is this time to retire from golf? I mean, there is no other shot that you can hit, and at that age that you would want to try and hit, that can surpass the ultimate glory of a hole in one. It is over. Pack up the clubs and take up fishing. There is still a big mouthed bass out there for you to catch.
But this makes me a little bit mad. I am trying as hard as I can to practice and hit the best golf shots I know how and I am still not getting anywhere with the glory of that hole in one. (I have said glory now as many times as I can count.) But what does that mean? Does skill help your chances or is pure luck? I have hit some field shots for eagle before. Was that luck? Or was that the talent of getting the ball close and hoping for the best? In that case, every shot you hit is that. Taking everything into consideration in the golf swing, the fact that you have never hit that shot before and never will again, and the wind, and the grass you are hitting off of, or the lie you have, or the density of the green, etc. You will never hit the same golf shot twice. So does that mean every single golf shot you hit is luck? Is Tiger luck?
I feel that it is putting your skills in the right place and getting a smile from the gods; the golf gods.