The face of the sand bunker looked like a fescue covered Pike’s Peak guarding the flagstick on the diminutive 126-yard par-3 second hole at Quadna Mountain Resort Golf Course. Jon B., a schoolteacher from the Twin Cities who used his annual summer break to fine-tune his golf game to a very low single digit handicap, had the honor after a fine two-putt par on the first.
In the early days the resort was flourishing with new condos, improved chair lifts and a new beautiful golf course designed to show off the natural abundance of Mother Nature. The resort owners were promoting their resort with an annual golf tournament that focused on attracting the finest players. The superintendent was assigned the task of having the greens extremely fast and true but soft enough to reward good shots creating many birdie opportunities and exciting down-to-the-wire finishes. The huge Red Pines, that defined many of the fairways, were limbless up to a height of 40 or 50 feet, creating the feeling of playing golf in an ancient Roman city filled with marble columns. The sound of a golf ball striking one of these pillars made a sound that echoed throughout the course.
In the days before GPS range finders – Jon B. paced off the distance from the MGA yardage marker and the defined teeing ground then subtracted the number of yards that he figured the hole was cut from the center of the green. His hand paused, then moved from 9-iron to pitching wedge, then back again. Jon B. teed his balata covered Maxfli low to create the maximum backspin possible to hold his ball near the pin cut on the very front of the green. Twice Jon B. plucked blades of grass from the longer grass that defined the tee and gently let them float to the ground. No wind! Just hit it!
The six eyes of his playing partners watched intently, hoping to gain some advantage, as Jon B. slowly waggled his 9-iron, attempting to relieve the tension that was creeping into his hands and forearms. One smooth practice swing, a second more deliberate practice swing, then Jon B. settled into his stance. The swing was quick and the sound made by the collision of club and ball was somehow strange, not the familiar solid sound of impact that all good golfers know.
Jon B.’s ball took off low and never gained altitude but quickly attained the speed of a bullet fired from a high-powered rifle. As the missile fired from Jon B.’s 9-iron sped toward the bunker lip, two questions raced through the minds of his foursome: Will the ball bury in the top lip of the mountain bunker? Or, will the out of control sphere miss Pike’s Peak and whistle to the out of bounds behind the green?
Jon B. gasped as the ball took-off and he held his breath as the Maxfli streaked toward the green. Then a loud “clank” as the projectile struck the flagstick solid and disappeared in to the final reward on every golf hole, “the cup”. Not only was that ace the fastest hole-in-one every recorded, it was the ugliest.
As the years have rapidly passed and the competitors of that certain foursome have moved from championship players to good senior players, many times the story has been retold of how the ugliest hole-in-one took Jon B. from the outhouse to the penthouse in one split second.