Cape Gazette

The 19th Hole

Unbelievable hole-in-one stories

By Gene Bleile | Jun 27, 2013

If you have ever hit a hole-in-one, then you know the thrill of golf’s ultimate shot, but for many millions of golfers, it remains a dream. After my first ace last year, on a par three (150 yards over water to an uphill green) I realized that any golfer - even with an 18 handicap - can achieve the impossible.

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With that thought in mind, I am going to tell you about some golfers that not only made a hole-in-one, but did it in a strange, but true fashion.

Let’s start at the beginning, the first known hole-in-one came in tournament play during the Open Championship at Prestwick, Scotland. The golfer was a young man named Tom Morris.

Morris teed it up and let it fly on the par three, 168 yard, eighth hole and the ball found the cup, making “young” Tom a golfing legend for the ages. What really makes this story more unbelievable is that it happened in 1868, while using a wooden club, a feathery type ball and playing in Scottish weather on a links course.

I failed to mention that Tom, who was only seventeen at the time, won the tournament and beat his father, “Old Tom,” who finished second by three strokes.

Fast-forward to 1989 and the U.S. Open tournament, which was being played at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York and to an event made for Hollywood. The odds of what happened that day have been estimated as 1 in 8,675,083.

During the same round and on the sixth hole, (a 167-yard par three) four players (Mark Wiebe, Jerry Pate, Nick Price and Doug Weaver) playing in separate groups all hit a seven iron and aced the hole.  Now there’s a record, which may never be broken again.

The eventual winner of the U.S. Open (by one stroke) was Curtis Strange. Wiebe, Pate, Price and Weaver didn’t place in the top ten.

In the Rock and Roll category, a golfer named Bill J. Kirn was playing golf on vacation at the Kiahuna Golf Club in Koloa, Hawaii, when he made the shot of the century.  When he arrived at the 157 yard, par three, third hole, Kirn pulled out a seven iron and let it rip.

As Kirn watched in dismay, the ball sliced toward a water hazard with lava rock as the center piece, but on that day the Hawaiian golf god was watching over him. Kirn’s ball hit the rocks and ricocheted toward the green. Kirn and his foursome watched in amazement, as the ball landed on the green, rolled 20 feet and dropped into the cup. There is no follow up report as to how many rounds he had to buy after the lava shot.

In the “What Would You Do?”category, place yourself in the shoes of amateur golfer, Yoshiaka Ono, who made a hole-in-one at the 1981 Singapore Open. A special cash prize of $50,000 and a $40,000 car were offered to any golfer who made an ace on the 17th hole. The dilemma that Ono faced was simple: If he took the prizes, he would lose his amateur status. After the match ended, Ono sat near his locker for more than three hours with his head in his hands, trying to decide what to do. Finally, he stood up and announced he didn’t want to become a professional golfer, then said, proudly: “I’ll never forget Singapore.”

Hole-in-one trivia

Scott Statler hit a sixty-five yard hole-in-one on July 30, 1962 at his family’s Fun Center par three golf course in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He was only four at the time.

The longest hole-in-one on record was hit by Bob Mitera, while playing in Nebraska with his buddies. In 1965, Mitera hit a drive for an ace, which was measured at 447 yards. The name of the course was Miracle Hill.

In 1954, members of the Baltusrol Golf Club, located in Springfield, New Jersey, complained to the course designer, Robert Trent Jones, that hole number four, a 194 yard par three was too demanding for the upcoming U.S. Open. Jones took the club pro and club president out to the fourth tee and let it fly for an ace. He then turned to the dumbfounded pair and said, “As you can see, the hole really isn’t too difficult.”

One-armed golfer Bill Hilsheimer had played for 50 years without an ace. Shortly after his 68th birthday, he scored two aces within six months.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Ron MacArthur | Jun 27, 2013 11:23

When Gene got his hole-in-one last summer at Hooper's Landing in Seaford he let the world know by publishing a newsletter about it!

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