My first hole-in-one came just a couple weeks after I started playing golf. It was a testament to the old adage that it is “better to be lucky than good.”
I was playing on an early weekday morning at a seedy nine hole course off a dirt road just a couple of minutes from my home. Aside from a guy mowing the fairways and the lady in the barn that served as a clubhouse, I was the only one there.
A good round it was not. In typical beginner fashion, I was topping the ball, hitting it fat and generally getting frustrated from tee to green. That first summer was absolutely brutal to my budding golfing psyche (not to mention the Dead Horse incident on my first ever “official” round).
On the eighth, a par three of about 140 yards, I popped the ball up off the tee. It was a horrid shot that would fall well short of the green.
Then a miracle occurred: The ball hit a sprinkler head in the fairway, bounced high and forward and fell straight into the cup. Nothing but net.
Sadly, there was no one to see it. I was the only one on the course, and the guy on the mower was on a ridge two fairways away.
Still, I knew that I had done it. And that was all that mattered.
I finished the round with yet another miracle shot: a hole-out Eagle on the short par five finishing hole.
At that point in my short golfing career, I had more eagles and holes-in-one than birdies … or even pars (a sad state of affairs that would last the summer).
Having finished in fine fashion, I stopped at the clubhouse for a Coke before heading home. As soon as I opened the door, the lady at the desk shouted “Congratulations!” and asked me to fill out my name and address for her hole-in-one honor roll.
As it turns out, the mower guy HAD witnessed the shot and had radioed the clubhouse that I was coming in.
A few weeks later, another nice surprise appeared in my mailbox: a small trophy commemorating the event, sent by the course owner.
It’s better to be lucky than good.