The content of this column has been rather serious over the past few weeks and so I think that its time to lighten up some and keep things in perspective. With that in mind, today’s time together will walk a lighthearted line. Let’s have some fun.
Coming up aces
A few weeks back, the Niagara Gazette ran a blurb about a Billings, Mont. woman who had two holes in one on Independence Day. She aced both the par-three 8th and 17th holes at her local club. It got me to thinking once again about the quirkiness of a hole-in-one.
The news is filled these days with ‘ace oddities’. As an example, recently a 102-year old gentleman had an ace and a beginner golfer who has never made a birdie had two aces in the span of five holes!
My friend and fellow player Tony “Soup” Presutti of Lewiston recently gave me information on Mancil Davis, also known as the “King of Aces”. Davis, a PGA professional who briefly played on tour, has 51 aces. He is considered the world record holder for holes-in-one by a professional.
That’s an impressive statistic considering the totals of some of our greatest players. Jack Nicklaus has 20 aces, Palmer and Player have 19, Woods has 18, and Fred Couples has 3. These guys must play using a bigger hole than I do.
If you think, you’ll stink
As his many friends will attest, God made a good man when he made Jim Eldredge, golf professional from Niagara Falls. There is no one that I more enjoy listening to talk about golf than Jimmy. He lives and breathes the sport. He’s an encyclopedia of information and instruction on the game that we both love.
One of Jim’s many sayings is, “If you think, you’ll stink.” I laugh every time that I hear him say it and, of course, it’s true. A player desiring to play his or her best must have a clear mind and a simple focus. Due to Jim’s influence, I’m always reminding my students that they don’t think about how to walk or blink or throw a ball. Golf is no different. You must be comfortable and at ease over your golf ball. If you think, you’ll stink.
Silver medal winner
Kudos to NFCC champion Fred Silver on winning his unprecedented 29th club championship. It seems unproblematic to report the triumph, considering Silver’s incredible career achievements. We have come to expect no less. Yet, if you stand back for a minute and actually absorb his record on the links over his amateur career, they are very nearly unbelievable.
At 65 years young, Silver continues to plod along, going about the business of winning high-status golfing events. The guy is extraordinary, both on and off the course.
Rules of the game
Golf rules legislate that a player must finish each hole with the same golf ball that he or she used to begin that hole. The exceptions would be if the player loses it, or damages it to such an extent that his opponent agrees that it has become unplayable.
With this rule in mind, a player hits his approach shot to ten feet from the hole. When he arrives to his ball, he marks it and tosses it to his caddy for cleaning. The toss is off the mark, the caddy misses the catch, and the player’s ball rolls into an adjoining water hazard. What’s the ruling?
The player is obliged to the aforementioned rule and, since he did not lose or damage his ball due to a stroke, he is penalized one stroke for not completing the hole with the same ball.
This situation occurred some years back on tour. Fortunately for the player, a devotee was willing to retrieve the elusive ball in several feet of water, and so no penalty was incurred by the player.
Fate, not fore, saves lives
Chris Logan of West Chester, Pennsylvania was a spectator on the 4th of July at last year’s AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club. While observing behind the ropes, he was struck head on in his temple by an errant golf shot from PGA Professional Sean O’Hair.
Getting clocked upside the head with that tiny dimpled sphere hurt. However, in this one instance, O’Hair’s wayward drive probably saved Logan’s life.
Logan seemed all right after the thumping, but an examination to check for a possible concussion from the blow miraculously revealed a lump just below his throat. His doctor urged Logan to have it checked out by a family physician and it turned out to be a malignant tumor on his thyroid that needed to be removed without delay.
One year later, Logan is today cancer free and got had the opportunity to meet O’Hair two weeks ago and thank him for saving his life. Neither man knew quite what to say at first, but both were thankful for the experience, no matter how bizarre the circumstances.
All things do work to the good.
Until next week, keep it in the fairway.
Ken Ruggiero is a local golf instructor and has been writing this column over the past 25 seasons. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.