My First Ever [Kind of] Hole-in-One!

In the thousands and thousands of rounds of golf and at least four times as many par threes I’ve played, I’ve never had a hole-in-one.

While I still don’t officially have one, I at least finally have my own hole-in-one story!

Several times a week, I get home from work and play a little 4-hole track in the back corner of North Hills Country Club that goes down the hill on six, across the river on the par three seventh, back across the river on the par three twelfth and then up the hill toward home on the par four thirteenth.

My 4-hole track v2

When my wife texted me she was leaving work at 5:15, I figured I had a little time on my own to head out and tool around the course. I spent some time practicing shaping iron shots right-to-left and left-to-right yesterday, and I was excited all day because I felt like I found something.

I started out on six pulling a couple of tee shots in to the woods, but hit some really nicely drawn iron shots around trees to get out of trouble. That felt good.

My range finder’s battery died this weekend so I took a guess that the blue tees on seven were set up somewhere in my 5- or 6-iron range. With a back-left pin on the other side of the greenside bunker to the left, I took my five and set up for a fade.

The swing felt perfect and the ball went right at the pin with a little left-to-right. It hit and I saw it kick a little to the right then disappear. Might be in?

It felt so good I had to hit another. Another perfect feeling swing and an even better, more lofted ball flight. This one was with a Bridgestone B330S #1 ball. It came down a little softer and again veered a little toward the right before disappearing.

The seventh plays way uphill, so it would be impossible to actually see the ball go in, but I had a feeling at least the second one was in. Sure enough, just one ball on the green and it was about ten feet past the pin.

The ball mark for the first shot was about five feet left of the hole, and there was another one five to ten feet short and just left… And then, of course, my B330S #1 ball in the cup.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t count as a hole-in-one for two key reasons: First because it was my second tee shot, and second because there were no witnesses.

I stuck around for about 5 minutes to see if anyone else came around – John and Ryan did, so I was able to find out how long of a shot it was that went in: 174 yards. Even though it doesn’t count, I took a little video to commemorate the occasion and at least now I know it’s possible!

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Video: Pulling the ball out on my first ever [kind of] hole-in-one

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The ball marks of my two tee shots from 174 yards on the par three 7th

Making the turn back toward home, the next hole I played is the par three twelfth back over the Menomonee River. I thought to myself it would be pretty crazy to get back-to-back holes in one, and when I hit my cut 6-iron over the river I started thinking it might happen. Landing 5″ from the hole, it rolled out to about fifteen feet and was an easy two-putt par.

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That close to back-to-back holes in one (ball mark just to the side of the hole)

One Great Shot

Last weekend, I joined the first tee time on Saturday morning with my friends Ron, Bob and Don at my home course of North Hills Country Club in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

I had a really great streak of golfing going during July and August, which dropped my index down from 12.2 to a 9.0, and was feeling great about how well I was playing.

The last couple of weeks, on the other hand, have seen some much less exciting rounds, including one the week before that resulted in me losing $45 in a game that usually nets a total of $3 to $5 all said.

My drive has been errant, and leaving me in all kinds of tough spots for my second shots, and my putting has been atrocious, leaving me with a constant feel of “How hard should I hit this?”

I was having a lackluster round on Saturday morning, and started the eighteenth hole with 88 strokes already. Nobody else was playing very well, though, either, so any money won or lost was going to happen on eighteen.

Just as I did every hole since the twelfth, my tee shot went well left and under a tree. I hit a solid three-wood under the branches and to 126 yards from a back pin location on the finishing par five.

I thought to myself, “Just one good shot,” and made sure my alignment was right and put a good swing on a pitching wedge from the rough.

“That felt really good,” I told Ron. “That looks really good,” Don said. The ball was flying right at my target, the right side of the green. It hit half-way up the green and started rolling left toward the pin. “Did that go in?” I asked as it disappeared from site. Everyone started cheering – it was hilarious, and exhilarating.

Even during the most challenging rounds when I seem to be snap-hooking everything off the tee, there is always the chance for redemption, and as I collected my $10 over breakfast (my biggest win in a morning foursome game at North Hills in three years, ha!) I didn’t remember the net 81 I just shot, but instead that one great shot for eagle on eighteen. It was just my second eagle of the year, and I’ve been hearing about it daily from North Hills members who keep up on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel local sports section.

126-yard pitching wedge on 18 for eagle at North Hills Country Club

126-yard pitching wedge on 18 for eagle at North Hills Country Club

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Sometimes it seems like the best feeling approach shots do not turn out the best. And how often do you hear about a 20-plus handicap hitting a tree on a par three hole and watching it carom on to the green and in for a hole-in-one? It never seems to be a swing that felt great.

The game of golf is funny. I never seem to know what will happen from day to day, but I always enjoy my time on the links and – my friends tease me a lot for this – stay positive almost to a fault: “I know that area;” “I’ve parred from there before;” “How awesome would it be if I can birdie from that trap?” “I can get that up and down;” “That’s alright, I like the sand.”

I know it’s cliche, but every bad break is a chance for an amazing next shot. Maybe that’s what keeps us playing round after round, even in the midst of bouts with high scores, lost matches and a skyrocketing handicap. Golf always seems to find a way to keep us coming back.