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Published: Thursday, 4/24/2003

Mud ball found the `range'

When Pat Kramer, now a junior at St. John's Jesuit High School, was asked by his eighth-grade teacher to write a personal narrative about a significant event in his life, he chose the hole-in-one he scored at the age of 11. When we asked for hole-in-one stories, Pat's mom, Deb Kramer, submitted a copy of his report.

“Hey, I found one,” I said to my dad as I dropped my 9-iron into some mud to pull out a golf ball. I pulled out a faded yellow range ball that had a piece of mud covering one side of it. Little did I know this would be the best ball I have ever found in a swamp.

I threw it in the ball pocket of my bag, then marched toward my second shot. I took a deep breath and could feel a slight chill in the air as sunset was upon me. I looked ahead and could see the green about 125 yards away. To the sides were tall, mature trees lining the fairway. I hit my approach and it landed just short of the green. Unhappily, I chipped on, then putted out with the light click of the ball hitting the bottom of the plastic cup.

It was about 7:30 p.m. on May 31, 1998. I had just finished hole No. 6 at Cottonwood Creek. The next hole, the one I always had the most difficult time with, is an 85-yard par 3 that is surrounded on the back and on the sides by a horseshoe-shaped pond.

As I marked my score for No. 6, I looked around and enjoyed my surroundings. It was evening and the sky had that special glow of orange, pink and purple in the west; a dull blue to the east. I could hear the sounds of bullfrogs and other animals calling as summer was just around the corner. I could also hear planes descending to make a landing at the airport and the occasional violent crack of a golf ball hitting a tree, usually followed by some vulgar language.

After the group ahead of us finished the hole, it was time for my father, brother and me to step up to the tee box. There was a stiff wind coming from the north, right into our faces. My brother hit first, using his little junior driver. The ball rolled along the fairway and finally stopped at the back of the green.

“Great shot,” my dad said.

“Yeah, it was pretty good,” I said as I dropped my ball to the ground and prepared for my shot. I was using the mud-covered ball I had found because I anticipated hitting it into the water.

“That shot was nothing compared to what you're about to see,” I said, taunting my brother.

I used a 6-iron and didn't even wipe the mud off the ball. I heard it hit the sweet spot and I immediately looked for the ball, which I saw heading straight for the pin. I heard the soft thump of the ball hitting the moist turf of the green just behind the pin. I watched carefully and then it disappeared.

“What? It's gone,” I said.

“I don't see it,” said my dad in a puzzled tone.

“Maybe it went in the hole,” my brother suggested.

“Well, I'm going to go see,” I said as I began running toward the green.

When I looked down in the hole I saw a piece of mud staring back at me. I kissed the ball and began hollering and jumping on the green and making a real scene. Everyone on the surrounding tees and greens stared at me like I was a crazed idiot, but I didn't care. I placed the ball in my bag and marked a `1' on the scorecard.



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