Posted by: John K. Abendroth, PGA
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Hole in ones may be one of the most unique things about the game of golf, mainly because they are so darn hard to do, but there is often a story behind them, and boy do I have a couple of stories to share with you. I hesitate to talk about myself and my golf but when it comes to hole in one's I'm compelled to share.
This last weekend I made a hole in one on the 8th hole of the Lake Course at the Olympic Club, my second ace at the Olympic Club in 45 years as a member there. The other ace...it was on the old 8th hole about 5 years ago and now I make one on the newly designed 8th hole. That sure seems odd to me, and in-fact in kicking it around with a few friends there may not be another person who has aced the two versions of the 8th hole there. It was a good shot I hit for this ace and there was a person standing above the green, he held up his hand and sort of gave the NBA signal for a sunk basket, but no arm waving, or screaming...we were not sure at the time, till we got to the green, sure enough it was snuggled there at the bottom of hole waiting for me.
So I now have 5 aces covering 3-holes. What...another double hole ace? Yes...This is another good story. Windsor golf club is just north of Santa Rosa and while playing in the PGA Hogan Tour qualifying event about 1989 I make a hole in one on the 13th hole a great par-3 with boulders around the green and a lake in front. Fast forward 11 years, not having played the course again until this day, I am in the PGA Northern California Senior Medal Play Championship and I make ace on the same hole...back to back...11-years apart...now that is too weird. I've played golf for nearly 50-years and to have 5 hole-in-ones seems pretty good, but I have a couple of friends who have played 50 years and have maybe one or even none, it's really a strange aura when discussing hole in one's.
For my 5th ace, which was one of my first ones, it comes with a funny story. It was the 8th hole at Lake Merced. Wait a minute, Three aces on 8th holes only 2 miles apart, yikes this is getting weirder and weirder all the time...So I make the ace and my friend, Art Rosenbaum the famous golf writer from San Francisco calls me and says...I heard about the hole in one and I want to write about it in the club news letter...tell me the story. I get started with the up hill nature of the shot, it was a 5 iron, and Art stops me...no...no there is always a story...tell me the story.
I say that I had the perfect witness in my group, Father Michael Mahoney my pastor from OLA Church in Burlingame. There is a long pause. Art says, I'm sorry that does not count, I need another name. He laughed and reminded me that Lake Merced Country Club was mainly a Jewish membership...we both had a good laugh as did Father Michael when he heard the story.
Now let me share the last of my personal hole in one stories. I have two more "unofficial" aces that were made during charity events where I would stay on a hole for each group as they played and hit a shot or two for each group. When I flew it in the hole at Stanford University Golf Course on the 8th hole...hey...another 8th hole, this is getting too much to bear, I tear out the lip of the hole (always wanted to do that...) and the guy in the group thinks we all win the expensive watch given as a prize...sorry Charlie.
Golf is sure fun and stories like these are just amazing and because they are true, they are better than if you made them up. My late Father had one ace that he was very proud of, and our dog Junior is said to be the only witness, I believe my Dad, and if I recall he may have been on the 8th hole...how fitting.