Monday, June 11, 2007

My Hole-in-One turns 12 today.

Current mood: happy Category: Blogging

June 11, 1995 - Skillman, NJ
It was a beautiful June day and 7 of us had headed for the bedens brook Country Club and their very challenging 18 carved out of fields and woods. My older golfaholic brother was in the lead foursome and i was playing with the swampdad & the swampsis. it was also the day of the annual pool party at the swamprents so we had to play quickly. one other note to the day was that the swampsis had just graduated from med school so it was a double celebration. My game had been nothing special for some time but at least i was familiar with the track so I would be able to fight my way around in something probably close to a 95. It was hot but the humdity that so often begins to accompany the weather in June had not yet kicked in but there was no wind to speak of and I knew that by the time we marched uphill to the 18th green, my shirt would be soaked through.
I was playing Wilson Ultra's mainly because they were free from work and no one else would use them. I have always been notoriously cheap about the type of balls I use and it wasn't until last year that I started to use a premium ball. I am sure that it really is nothing more than psychological but I am scoring better since I made the switch. The first hole is straightaway Par 4 next to the golf house and the clubhouse. Very Intinimadating. If you hook it about 100 yards out, you could be seeing people diving out of the way at the driving range. I always hope for at least 200 straight out so I never swing to hard. Back in 1995 though, I was a stupid golfer who relied on raw power and felt that I could stop a ball on the green exactly next to the flag no matter how long and iron shot it was. Well i can't remember where my tee shot went or if I was long or short of the green on my 2nd shot, most likely long since i would have tried to muscle it to the green, but I do know that I was on in 3 and 3 putted. I have never been a very good putter. I have no touch and I have a bad eye. I come up short quite a bit but my putting finally has gotten a little better of late. It couldn't be any worse than the round I played in the mid 80's at Arrowhead in Colorado where I shot a 97 with 53 Putts !!! I 3 putted all but one green !!! Pathetic but that meant that I stepped up to the tee box on the 2nd hole already 2 over and kind of pissed.
The 2nd hole is a slightly downhill 138 Par 3 with a twisting brook running along the right side of the green, not much room on that side and the grass sloped down to the water, and overhanging trees to the left of the green. the pin was set middle left so any shot would have to hug the trees or would have to hit a tree & ricochet onto the green. I hate Par 3's so i fully expected to be in the rough, water or sand but certainly not the green. I do think that a strong part of my game has always been fairly solid between 75-150yds out (rough more so than fairway) but put me on a tee box and I yank it every which direction.
so with all that in mind, I stepped up to the tee box to lead our group off. I set the tee low & deep and placed the ball lightly on it. I straightened up, licked my left palm (nervous habit) and gripped my 8 iron. I took one practice swing and took a small divot (Don't do that I think). I step up to the ball with the ball just slightly off the front of my left foot. I give the club a little pre-sergio waggle and raise my self up & down ever so slightly on my toes. I pulled back and felt the swing as the club made what felt like clean contact with the ball. I lifted my head after the follow through and caught sight of the ball in what looked like a bee line for the cup. I knew if would probably land a good 15' past the pin but i didn't care, it felt good. It began to look really good too. It steadily picked up speed as it streaked downward toward the green. It hit and with a short almost unnoticeable bounce the ball was in the cup. The swampdad started yelling "Did you see that !!!" and dancing around the tee box. The swampsis was stunned and I was trying to quiet dad because there were people putting on the 1st green. when we got to the green i saw that the ball had landed at the edge of the cup and collapsed a good chunk of the side. It was an unforgettable shot.
Now most people save their hole in one balls for psterity's sake. I drove mine into the pond in # 3 never to be seen again with my very next swing of the club.
Non-golfers who have gotten this far probably can't understand what the big deal is about a hole-in-one. it's hard to explain. it is in most cases, the most perfect shot you could hit at that moment. it's been 12 years and I have only hit the green 3 times since. It's a mental bloc now. I keep expecting to do it again.
So happy 12th birthday hole-in-one, I wish you had some siblings. I hope it hasn't been to hard on you being an only child.
quietly waiting for that next perfect shot....swampy abides....

Currently listening : Tin Cup: Music From The Motion Picture By Various Artists Release date: By 30 July, 1996

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