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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Across four decades, pair of aces deal father and son a similar hand

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The short par 3 7th at Pawleys Plantation is short, at 140 yards from the men's tees.  The pin was in the front third of the deep green on Saturday when Tim made his ace.

    I had my one and only ace when I was 16.  From a slightly elevated tee I watched my shot land 10 feet short of the pin and roll into the left side of the cup on the downhill 141-yard 7th hole at the now long gone Valley View Golf Club in East Hanover, NJ.  On Saturday, my 17-year old son Tim cozied one into the hole on the 135-yard 7th at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC.  Tim (Timothy), despite his Celtic name, has no Irish blood in him (that we know of), but Irish eyes were indeed smiling on him on St. Patrick’s Day. 
    Struck 42 years apart, our aces were remarkably similar, both coming on the lucky 7th hole.  Tim’s shot was 135 yards but it too landed about 10 feet short, pitched a little right and rolled into the left side of the cup.  Tim’s reaction was matter of fact in the extreme.  “It went in,” he said, without emotion.  I remember being stunned as well, as if a hole in one was not supposed to happen to me.  As with the lottery, you keep buying the tickets, but you never expect to win.  He didn’t know how to react, utterly unprepared for the moment.
    After the round near the clubhouse, he was still nonplussed, reluctant to share his moment of golfing immortality.  I felt the same way 42 years ago.  There are more than 50 million golfers in the world, and only a relative few will ever put a ‘1’ on their scorecards.  You may think you will fist pump and scream if that day ever comes, but the moment is incredibly sanctifying…and humbling.  Odds are about 33,000 to 1, according to the USGA.  Put another way, you can count on a hole in one about every 8,250 rounds of golf (figuring there are typically four par 3s on a typical 18-hole course).
    Word spread on the course about the shot, and when we finished our round, one of the women in the foursome in front of us congratulated Tim and then went on to say how she had taken up the game a few years ago at her husband’s urging and had her handicap down to a 29.  “Last year I had a hole in one,” she said, “and my husband was not happy.”  He has been playing for over 30 years and is still waiting for the moment.  No wonder he muttered a quick, almost reluctant “Congratulations” to Tim and didn’t break stride as he walked by.  (He has time, though.  The oldest person on record to ever score a hole in one was 101 when he did it.  Harold Stilson nailed a 4-iron on the 108 yard 16th at Deerfield CC in Boca Raton, FL, on May 16, 2001.)
    So across more than four decades, Tim's and my two aces and our reactions to them were remarkably similar.  But there was one thing decidedly different about them, and it has a little something to do with technology.  My ace was struck with a seven iron, hit full.  Tim used a pitching wedge, struck about three-quarters.  The more things remain the same, the more they change.
Read 3452 times Last modified on Monday, 02 April 2007 15:52
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.