Detroit Country Club (DL) in Detroit Lakes, MN has been the home of vacationland (golf) action since the late 1920s. But no day in the history of this beautiful little golf course can top what Tom Hanson, the Pizza Master, accomplished on the pivotal 17th hole one sunny summer day.
If you vacation at the well-known resort venues around Minnesota, you have eaten at a Zorbaz restaurant. Tom Hanson, founder of this very successful chain, has spent a lifetime of summers in Detroit Lakes. If you are looking for Tom, he is at Zorbaz or at DL. The question is continually asked, “Do you think Tom makes more money at Zorbaz or on DL?”
If you are playing a partner game, you want Tom on your team. He is a good player with a single digit handicap – but Tom always seems to hit the big shot or make the crucial putt.
Tom’s favorite game is “Vegas,” known in different areas of the country by different names, but the game is simple. The game starts with a value per point, to illustrate let’s say $1. A & B score 4 and 5 on a hole and C & D score 5 and 8 – AB’s score is 45, CD’s score is 58, subtract the low points from the high points, thus 13 points or $13 changes hands on that hole. Flip your birdies. For players who want real action, the game is modified, or flipped; if a team wins a hole with a birdie the losing team’s score is reversed or flipped. In the example above, if A’s score of 4 was a birdie, the score would be AB, 45 vs. CD, 85 (reversed) for 40 points or $40 difference. Press. In Vegas a team can press when they are pissed, meaning that the bet can be doubled at any time during the round.
On another beautiful day at DL Tom and his favorite partner, Tuffy Nelson, very successful founder and owner of Tuffy’s Pet Food, were matched with a pair who loved the action as much as Tom and Tuffy. They had a mid morning tee time so Tom and Tuffy could check in with their businesses late afternoon. Over the years rumor and second hand tales has clouded the story of this special day. Some say the game started at $5 per point, some say $10 – in reality the story is the same.
Four good players, on a short course where birdies come in bunches, means lots of big swings from hole to hole. The story is told like this: Tom and Tuffy were up several hundred dollars through #15 and their opponents pressed for the second time on the 16th tee. A great wedge and a tap-in birdie turned the match in favor of T&T’s opponents. Never afraid of the action, Tom pressed once again.
The 17th at DL is a cute little par-3 of about 155 yards with a narrow green and bunker short right. After watching their opponents bury two balls in the bunker, Tuffy’s ball found the green, though not in birdie range – advantage T&T. Knowing this hole, like the recipe for his famous pizza, Tom walked several paces in front of the tee then threw a few blades of grass into air to feel the breeze, not evident at the tree protected tee. He then selected a 7-iron and with that long, sort’a figure 8 swing, sent the ball high into the cloudless sky. With the huge fir trees as background they watched Tom’s ball land about twenty feet short and left of the flag and dribble directly into the cup. Score, T&T 13, opponents (shaken after the ace) 54. A 41-point swing! $5 per point with three presses?? $10 per point with three presses??
You guessed it. Nobody went back to the office; the opponents demanded a rematch, NOW!
Four hours later, same script, T&T were up a little and had the honor on the beautiful and now infamous 17th. The opponents, knowing that Tom had had his glory on this hole, on this day, pressed again. With Tuffy safely on the green, Tom again checked the wind, that had shifted almost 180°, and this time selected his 6-iron.
Not as high. Not as pretty. But straight at the flag. Two hops and a clang, the sound made when a golf ball hits a metal flagstick, and the ball disappeared. Devastated, the opponents hacked up the 17th and limped up the steep hill to the 18th green as the sun was setting over Lake Sally. Proving that if you want action, you don’t have to go to Las Vegas to find it!
Two holes-in-one, same hole on the same day: Odds????