As an obsessive, devoted golfer, there are certain things you dream about doing.
- Breaking par (73 in 2009 is my best round – I choked on Pradera’s 18th hole)
- Playing Pebble with your favorite golfing buddies (need to get this done – $500 is a little much but worth it)
- Playing Ireland with your favorite golfing buddies (did this in 2001 – amazing time, must do it again)
- Qualifying to play in a state amateur event (at this point I might humiliate myself)
- Playing in a pro-am event with your favorite PGA professional (Steve Stricker for me)
- Making an ACE (did this today – 5/31/10 – at Colorado Golf Club)
I have been fortunate to witness 3 hole-in-ones in my 20 years of playing golf. Every ball was struck perfectly, and looked good right off the clubface (Scott Tynan’s sand wedge in Myrtle Beach, Victor Galvani’s 9 iron on Framingham Country Club’s 17th and Todd Curlett’s 6 iron on Framigham Country Club’s 11th). As their ball melted inside the hole, I could barley control my excitement. In fact, given my perfect form-tackle, I am surprised no one was ever seriously injured.
Today (May 31, 2010), I was invited to play in the post Senior PGA Championship event at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado. My buddy, Brad Kellogg and I decided to play the course from 7,100 yards, and experience how the pro’s recently played the amazingly difficult layout.
The weather was perfect, 80 degrees with a subtle, but steadily growing, southwest wind. My warm up could not have been better; everything felt in sync – unfortunately this usually means I will play terribly. That said the day seemed to start out well. On the 630 yard (par 5) first hole, I hit a nice drive down the left side. After two good shots, I was left with a 35 foot put. Unfortunately, it took me 4 putts to finish the hole – as a confident putter, this result was not what I had anticipated. On the third hole the pin was tucked in the back right. I hit a solid 8 iron approach shot (166 yards) downhill and downwind. My ball hit the green on the left side, and rolled to the collection area about 40 feet to the left of the pin. I decided to putt the ball as there was trouble just behind the pin. Unfortunately, I hammered my putt and ended up in a bunker from hell (to the right of the green). Truthfully, I felt lucky walking away with a bogie after my poorly executed initial putt. Holes 4 and 5 saw me make two more bogies even though I was hitting solid and accurate shots.
As I stepped to hole #6 (par 3, 200 yards), I could feel a slight breeze to my back. Brad told me that the green rolled left (where the pin was), so I should target the right center as my landing area. Brad chose a 6 iron, which means I committed to hitting my new TaylorMade Burner 5 iron.
I felt good standing over the ball (a rarity these days), and made a nice fluid swing (in my mind anyways). The ball was hit high, with an evident and necessary draw. Upon hitting the green, my ball moved left toward the pin. I felt my heart race at it neared the cup. Bingo, right in the jar! I think I tackled Brad first yelling “I did it, I did it”. I spun around (still yelling) and jumped on the two guys we were paired up with (Blaine and Casey). I am certain my histrionics angered some of the other players on the course – truthfully, I really did not care.
Playing the rest of the round was difficult as I was still shaking three holes later. I finished with an 85…respectable given the circumstances.
I will mount the ball, glove, scorecard and CGC flag later this week. I am happy to say that one of my golf dreams became reality.