The Time I Got A Hole-In-One

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Getting a hole-in-one was something I always hoped I would accomplish some day, but never in a million years did I think it would actually happen. It’s like my current relationship with sex, in that regard.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am not the best golfer.





I know that last tweet wasn’t about golf; it’s just something that I think about a lot.

I began golfing a little over a year ago. And how much have I improved in the past year? I shot a 158 in my first ever round and my current best round is a 109. Like I said, not the best golfer. On the contrary, some may even call me “terrible,” “horrendous,” or “a huge pussy” (though that last one is generally reserved for my mom). Lucky for me, I didn’t need to be the best golfer; I just needed to be lucky. As I tell you the story of my hole-in-one, it should become clear that the stars aligned on that fateful day, leading to one of the defining moments of my lifetime.

August 20th, 2013. I had made plans the night prior to go golfing at University Ridge, the University of Wisconsin’s golf course, with my pledge brother Alex and another Alex in my fraternity (the recruitment chairmen must have an “Alex” quota or something). It surprised me that the latter Alex would even want to hang out with me considering I was his Pledge Master and did horrible, sexual things to him (I can’t tell you what, but they involved some Saran wrap, one of those rare white dog turds, and a crystal figurine of Han Solo frozen in carbonite), but I digress. It wound up that there were no tee times available, and thus we wouldn’t be playing at that course.

My pledge brother Alex ultimately decided that he only wanted to play if it was twilight hours at U Ridge. Dude refuses to break from his busy masturbation schedule. He just won’t. So that left me and the other Alex with the urge to golf, yet neither a tee time nor a ride. So I call up my often-mentioned buddy Joe because 1) he has a car and 2) I thought I’d see if he wanted to play with us. In that order, of course. Don’t get me wrong, Joe. I love playing with you. It’s just that I’m not a fan of your variation of Six Point Scotch. I get that you get two points for best ball and two for low team total, but I think it’s highly against golf etiquette to subtract three points for smallest penis. I lose every damn time.

Anyway, Joe agreed to golf with us (“yay”). We were going to leave around 4pm to go play Edelweiss, a course about 40 minutes away at which Joe is a member. I’m super psyched that I’m going to be able to go play my favorite game terribly… Then Joe calls me. Bad news bears: he got called in to lifeguard at 4pm at the pool at which he works. Plan two down the drain.

Fuck it. Alex and I want to play. After some soul-searching and a very loud, very aggressive jerk sesh, I had a Jimmy Neutron-style brain blast: if Joe was going to be at work, then he wouldn’t need his car. I called him up, and sure enough his car was free for the taking. I was pretty excited that I now could FINALLY go play golf, but even more excited that I didn’t have to play with Joe.

Alex and I made the tee time for 4:56 for nine holes at Pleasant View Golf Course. We were informed upon making the tee time that we were being placed with another twosome. “Fuck,” Alex said. “I don’t want these people to see how bad we are.” Alex hadn’t played in a while, and was thusly rustier than a trombone. I left it up to him whether or not he wanted to join the twosome or go play at Pleasant View’s par three course. I wanted to play the regular course, but Alex insisted we do the par three. So we did.

It is now time for me to address the so-called “haters” who are going to tell me that a hole-in-one on a par three course isn’t a real hole-in-one. In my opinion, it’s a matter of personal preference. I have a brother in my fraternity who has had two holes-in-one, both on par three courses, and he doesn’t count them at all. I will always count mine, though I’ve been adding the fact that it was on a par three course to the end when I tell people. That way, people can make up their own mind about whether they want to count mine or not (like I give a fuck).

After a few minutes of putting and chipping, Alex and I made our way out to the first tee. I’m standing at the tee box with a Noodle in my hand (an all too familiar situation for me) when I decided, “No, I’m going to change to the hilarious ball.”

What is the hilarious ball, you ask? Well, a few days prior I lost all the balls I had to my name playing the front nine at U Ridge (which must make you wonder why I wanted to go back there). So I bought 20 used balls from my pledge brother Alex, who worked at U Ridge and got to pocket all the lost balls he found. Three of those balls were so great that I couldn’t not include them in my 20.

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Titleist NXT Tours personalized for a wedding of two people I’d never met. Picture and everything. I loved this ball. I loved Dave and Vicki. I stuck one in the bag along with four other balls (an optimistic number considering I thought I was playing 9 holes at a championship course at the time) before getting into Joe’s car.

Fast forward to the 8th hole and I’m “only” 6 over. This is shaping up to be my best ever nine at a par three course. I just need to finish strong. I step up to the tee box with my pitching wedge in hand. The hole’s only 117 so, sadly, this club should work out perfectly. Except it didn’t; I jacked it 20 yards past the hole and ended up with a bogey.

The ninth hole. 123-yard uphill blind green with two bunkers in front. What club do I use? Well, I just hit my pitching wedge 137, so I took it out of the bag and brought it to the tee box. Except when I got there, I realized that the bunkers were so steep there was no way I could ever get the ball out and still make a bogey, which is what I was aiming for in order to break bogey golf. Last time I hit a ball out of the sand, I didn’t take any sand with me, skulling the ball 60 yards out of bounds from a green bunker. My dad broke his putter over his knee and took off in the cart right after. I haven’t seen him since. I now try to avoid sand at all costs; it just brings back bad memories.

I walked back to my bag and took out my 9-iron. When I got back to the tee box, Alex and I talked about how all we wanted was to make it over the bunker. We didn’t even care if we crushed it into the parking lot 30 yards past the hole. If it clears the bunkers, we’ll be happy men. I aimed and swung.

The shot was high up in the air with just the slightest fade on it. From where we were standing, it appeared to land just over the left side of the bunker a couple feet to the left of the pin. Since it was a blind green, we didn’t know if it was short of the green, past the green, or right in the center. Regardless, I cleared the bunker. “Fuck you, Dad!” I thought.

Alex stepped up and cranked his over the right side of the bunker. We both made it. We started to walk up to the green.

The walk to the green is something I will always remember. “I’m excited to see my shot,” I said. When we were about 40 yards from the green we could finally see a ball sitting on the right fringe. That ball was clearly Alex’s, as he had hit it over the right side of the bunker. I scanned the green for my ball.

Bupkis.

“Okay,” I thought. “Then Alex’s ball must be my ball.” I looked to the right of Alex’s ball.

Nada.

I then looked past the hole, which was a hill leading right up to the parking lot.

Zippo.

Anybody who’s ever had a good shot on a blind hole and then can’t immediately find their ball has the same knee jerk reaction: “It’s not in the cup.” Rarely will you see somebody just immediately go check the jar. Why? Because it’s not supposed to be there. As golfers (if I can even call myself one yet), we tend to remember two kinds of shots: our incredible ones and our unlucky ones. The former makes us tip our hats, and the latter makes us hang our heads. It’s pretty clear which is more common, too. After all, if every shot was amazing, what would be the point? You hope for the best, and expect anything. That’s the beauty of the game.

“I’m going to check the hole…” I said.

“Run, Jared!” Alex said, akin to that dude from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory telling Charlie to run home.

I fast-walked over to the cup, hoping for the best, and expecting anything. And what did I see?

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Dave and Vicki, staring up at me. I lost it.

So, that’s the story of my hole-in-one. I’ve since contacted Dave, because I figured anybody who makes golf balls for their wedding would care that one of them was involved in a hole-in-one. He was super excited and even offered to take me out for drinks to hear my story the next time he is in town for a football Saturday.

Like I said, the stars aligned on that day.

1. We couldn’t get a tee time at University Ridge.
2. I bought the Dave and Vicki ball.
3. Joe got called into work.
4. We were allowed to use Joe’s car.
5. We played the par three course instead of playing with the twosome.
6. I changed to the Dave and Vicki ball.
7. I changed to my 9-iron.

If any of these events didn’t occur, I can assure you that I would not have gotten my hole-in-one.

I look back on all of these circumstances leading up to my ace and think about how it’s a metaphor for life. A long and winding series of events have occurred to get us all to where we are today, and will continue to occur to get us to wherever it is we are meant to be.

For me? That place is the golf course. It’s time for me to finally break 100.

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