The lifetime goal of all golfers is to have, at least one, hole-in-one, an “ACE”. But in reality an ace is just another form of EAGLE!
I am always amused when first meeting people at a social event like a cocktail party. After introductions, people ask a series of probing questions searching for that “common ground” to start a conversation. We all subconsciously know the game, the questions turn from general to more specific. Once a non-golfer (sometimes even a golfer – which I will explain later) learns that you are a golfer, this question is always asked, “Have you ever had a hole-in-one?” The question is a great ice-breaker and allows you to talk about yourself, your club or the vacations when this event occurred. When a golfer asked that question, my theory is that the questioner is asking you about your Ace so he can tell you about his hole(s)-in-one.
This is the tale of two old golfers rapidly approaching 90 years young, Jack Lutz who lives in Green Valley, AZ and Pat Sampair who lives in St. Paul, MN. Each has had numerous Aces, however they share a common goal, they want that “SPECIAL ACE”.
For these experienced players, a hole-in-one is definitely just another kind of Eagle. Each morning as these two men make ready for their daily trip to the club, they observe the direction of the wind and anticipate the rotation of pin placements; they even plan club selection. For each of these old golfers their next Ace, in this case Eagle, could be the one that beats the odds.
You see, to Eagle their specific “elusive hole” will put them in a record book that so far has not been written. That record is making an EAGLE ON EACH HOLE ON A PARTICULAR GOLF COURSE. Each of these fine players have scored an eagle on 17 holes on their golf club and are searching for that perfect shot to accomplish this impossible feat!
Everyone at their specific club knows about their dilemma and serve them with constant reminders. “Talk about pressure.” They have it!
In December of 2012 fellow club members at Desert Hills Golf Club planted a tree near the third tee with a plaque reading, “Lutz’s Lament; The eagle never landed on No. 3.” Three club members spent a great deal of time selecting the tree. Pine or Oak? Steve Henefield finally picked the tree on a gut feeling. He said, “this oak tree looks like Jack. No really… it made me feel comfortable around it, just like Jack.”
The tree was planted and the plaque was placed just before Christmas, then the tree was decorated. Several members even left cards under the tree for Jack, who thought it looked just like Snoopy’s Christmas Tree. “We figured he has only about 10 years left so we thought we should plant the tree now so he can enjoy it. We plan to decorate it every Christmas.”
For Sampair the elusive hole is #14 at Town & Country Club, a long par 3, 200 yards from the white and 230 from the blues. The pro and the superintendent are well aware of the problem that Sampair now has with length. “It will take his best poke then he will need a little help from the wind just for him to get it to the hole,” a longtime member friend said. Every time we have a club event the staff put the tee on #13 on the front attempting to give their old friend a chance to score that elusive Ace or Eagle.
As you enjoy your time on the links and one day hit that special shot that finds the cup, from the tee or from the fairway, think about the impossible odds of doing it on every hole on one golf course.
Since I wrote this story in 2013 I have discovered another golfer friend who has also scored an eagle on 17 holes at his golf club, Country Club of Paducah in Paducah, KY. Bob Garey a retired dentist is still looking for that elusive eagle ace on one of the par-3 holes. Good luck to all of the great golfers.
The entire crew at Tee Times wish both these dedicated golfers many more opportunities to score that elusive EAGLE/ACE!