How Does It Feel To Make a Hole In One?
I can tell you because I’ve had three and two of them were exactly ten years apart to the day. April 21st 1963 and April 21st 1973. However, I do not equate skill with holes in one attained. Why? The old PGA pro that first taught me how to play, Vince Allen, had played golf since he was a boy, died at the age of 57 and never had a hole-in-one.
He used to take me out to play golf several times a week at 2 PM for nine holes. One day he hit a shot on a par three at what was then Le Jeune Golf Course in those days (now called Mel Reece after the City Manager) and the ball lipped the cup from about 150 yards away and I saw a very special twinkle in Vince Allen’s eye that made me wish I could have run up there and put the ball in the hole for him.
It was that magical twinkle that only a few are blessed to experience in someone. I saw it again when playing in a simple Captain’s choice tournament at the Crossings in Richmond, VA. I was playing with my friend Ray Easterling former safety for the Atlanta Falcons. He looked at us as a team and said LETS WIN with a certain twinkle in his eyes and a smile that is seared in my memory until my death. I felt like I was almost in the huddle with him in an NFL game. Ray was one of those seasoned athletes that give all they have for the sport they love and risk physical damage as Ray did.
This week one of my friends made a hole in one, Dennie Pritchard. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual. A true gentleman that has worked hard on improving his golf game. He reminds me of what it felt like to make a hole in one. I haven’t had one in many many years.
My first one was pure luck and fortunate that two gentleman on the green waved me up because I was playing by myself after school and I am sure no one would have believed me. They started dancing on the green and I asked what happened. They said you had a hole in one! The flag stick was behind a bunker so I didn’t see it go in.
Then 10 years later at Puerto Llerro Madird in the Madrid Open the first hole was a par three about 190 yards long and in the practice round and threw a ball on the ground, didn’t even tee it up, and bang right in the hole. It was actually bad luck because the next day in the tournament there was a prize of a new convertible for a hole in one!
Well what does it feel like? For me it just felt lucky. Lucky that I even play this game. Considering where I came from, my economic base and family back ground no one would expect a kid like me to play golf.
Anyone who is living in this country should feel just as lucky. In may other countries you just do not play golf unless you’re rich. Plus, you ain’t getting rich if you’re not from the right family. Only in America can you get lucky almost everyday. Let’s not loose this wonderful opportunity.
Congratulations Dennie, well done! AND may you have many many more!