Monday, Apr 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Putting faces to the aces

As teenagers in the early 1970s, several of my neighborhood friends and I would grab our clubs and slither under the fence alongside the old sixth and seventh holes at Inverness Club.

On the old par-3 13th hole, my friend Jim Thomas stepped up to the tee and hit a lovely shot from about 145 yards that dropped in the cup for a hole-in-one.

As kids sneaking on the course, we thought wiser of reporting Jim's accomplishment, and to this day Jim's ace has not been recognized. Hopefully, this will ease his mind.

Tom Lancaster

My story is about a hole-in-one that wasn't. One Sunday morning in the summer of 1947 I was playing the sixth hole at Kettenring Country Club in Defiance, where I had caddied during high school and before entering the armed forces in 1943. After being discharged in 1946, I returned to the course and was fortunate to be employed as an assistant greenskeeper before heading off to the University of Toledo on the GI Bill.

The head groundskeeper, Earl Beiswenger, and I often played early on Sunday mornings after watering the greens and setting the tee markers for the day's play. Kettenring was a nine-hole course then, and the sixth hole was about 160 yards over a gully with sand traps partially fronting both sides of the green.

I hit a 6-iron dead on the pin and it looked perfect. This was to be my first hole-in-one and, hopefully, the first of many. But as we approached the hole we noticed the ball was partially visible. We found it embedded in the side of the hole against the metal rim of the cup.

Was this a hole-in-one? The ball was in the hole, at least half if not more, but it was not in the bottom of the cup. It was not wedged against the pin, but was touching the pin. We carefully removed the flagstick and the ball did not fall into the hole. No ace, as it took another stroke to get the ball to fall into the bottom of the cup.

Not only did I not achieve a dream, I also ruined a perfectly good pin placement. There were no players on the course at that early hour, so I rushed home and got my camera. Before cutting a new hole and repairing the damage to the original one, I took a photograph. It reminds me of the closest I have come to an ace in 65 years of playing many, many rounds of golf.

Bob Schlembach

My bizarre hole-in-one story happened a few years back on the first day of the new millenium.

I'm a former Toledoan and we had a group of folks from Toledo down for a New Year's get-together at our place north of Columbus. The weather in December that winter was pretty brutal, but on New Year's Day the temperature shot up into the 50s.

So Wayne Martin (Perrysburg), Brook Miller (Toledo), John Godfrey from Delaware, O., and I decided to take advantage and sneak in a round of golf. Luckily, Oakhaven Golf Club in Delaware was open and the snow had melted just enough to allow play.

The second hole on the back nine is a 155-yard par 3 almost totally over water. I hit my 7-iron shot fat and it took off hopelessly short of its destination. It landed on the lake that was still frozen, took a huge bounce off the ice onto the green and ran about 30 feet directly into the cup.

That's a bunch of “ones” - a hole-in-one on the 11th hole on 1-1-00. True story.

Mike Linehan, Delaware, O.

My two boys enjoy playing baseball, football and basketball and, consequently, we haven't had a lot of time to invest in another sport like golf. But Josh and his brother Levi do share a set of clubs and spend time hitting balls in a five-acre pasture behind our house.

Josh had a chance to play on a real golf course last July, so to keep peace in the family I promised Levi I would take both of them golfing. It was Sunday, Aug. 11, and we played slowly, waving a couple other groups through, at Suburban Golf Course near Bryan. Then we reached the par-3, 110-yard fourth hole.

Josh used his junior driver and hit a nice drive which took two loping bounds before landing on the green and following a laser-like line to the hole. The ball rolled some 40 feet from the front of the green to the flagstick and, after what seemed like an eternity, dropped out of sight. The ace was verified by another group that was waiting behind us on the tee.

So Josh, then 12, had a hole-in-one on just the 13th hole of “real” golf he ever played.

Mick McGuire, West Unity

Every year, 16 friends get together and have a scramble golf tournament in the Lake James area of Michigan. We play 36 holes of golf and everybody throws in a little money and the lowest foursome score wins.

Two years ago, we were playing at Blackberry Patch and at the end of a long day my foursome was tied for first place. We decided we'd have a winner-takes-all playoff. We were still tied after one hole and agreed that the second playoff hole would be the last and that if nobody won we'd split the money. It's a beautiful par-3 hole of 205 yards from an elevated tee down to an undulating green. The wind had kicked up, so I used my 5-wood. The ball landed on the green, took a huge hop and disappeared. My friend, Kelly Cartwright, said he thought the ball had gone in, but I figured it was too much club and that the ball would be in a back bunker.

So Kelly drove all the way down to the hole, reached down and pulled the ball out of the hole. Everybody on the tee cheered. Not only did my team win, but we did it with a hole-in-one. The great thing was that the night before we were all sitting around having a few beers when somebody suggested that if anyone got a hole-in-one everybody would owe him $10. Nothing beats having a hole-in-one with 15 of your best friends as witnesses, unless it's 15 guys handing you $10 bills.

Stu Benford

Back in the late 1960s, my friend John Haggerty and I went to the old Par 3 course at the corner of Talmadge and Monroe on a day it was relatively deserted, thankfully, since neither of us was very good.

We'd played a few holes when John teed off and had his club head shatter when it broke off the shaft and sailed off to the left. Both of us watched the club head instead of the ball, then walked up toward the green to search for our balls.

I found mine, but we must have searched 10 minutes or so for John's ball before giving up. We wandered up toward the green, John pulled the flagstick, looked down and, wouldn't you know it, his ball was in the bottom of the cup. A hole-in-one that neither of us saw.

Bob Fotoples

On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001, at Chippewa Golf Club, I came to the 18th hole, a 175-yard par 3, and hit a 5-iron shot in the hole. It was great, but that night I couldn't get to sleep because I kept dreaming I was going to do it again.

I got to the club the next morning and even commented to the manager of the restaurant that I thought I was going to repeat the hole-in-one. I even teed off at the start of the round with the same ball I'd used on Saturday.

When we got to the 18th hole, one of my playing partners said another hole-in-one would cost me a whiskey. So I teed it up and hit a perfect draw with my 5-iron that went right in the hole. Same hole, same shot, same club, same ball, two days in a row!

I heard guys on the 17th green behind us say, “You've got to be kidding me.” My playing partners all gave me high fives and I asked them if they were all ready for that whiskey.

Robert Hagemann, Oregon

I was playing Ottawa Park a few years ago when my friends and I got to No. 14, which was playing about 100 yards. I hit a sand wedge that started right and was blown even farther right by the wind. No one saw the ball come down out of the trees, so I teed up a provisional just in case. This time, I hit a little knock-down, Paul Azinger-like shot that bored right at the hole, hit a few feet short, checked and took two little soft bounces right into the cup.

Of course, we found my first ball at the base of a pine tree and I chipped up and one-putted for par, the same score I would have taken with my “hole-in-one” if we had been unable to find my first ball. Yes, I'm still in therapy!

Brett Langston

While competing in a scramble event a few summers back, I scored a hole-in-one but was unable to claim it due to rules of the tournament. The event had a strategy rule whereby all players on each team must have their drives used on a certain minimum number of holes.

This was our last hole and I had already reached my maximum for drives used while one of my partners was one under the minimum. So it was his hole. I teed one up anyway and aced it.

Word spread quickly and by the time I reached the clubhouse, my account at the bar had been opened and a few friends had already started “celebrating” my ace without knowing the whole story.

Mike Henningsen

Four members of my family - father John, brother Sean, sister Kelly and I - were golfing in Vail [Colorado] in the late 1980s. Sean scored a hole-in-one on the 17th hole, carded an 11 on the 18th and finished with a score of 137. That makes him quite possibly the worst golfer to ever make a hole-in-one.

Jeff Savage

In July of 2001, while playing in the S.P. Jermain match-play championship at Ottawa Park, I went 1-up in my match by acing No. 12 with a wedge shot. On the 13th hole, I came within inches of back-to-back aces as my 3-metal shot ended up three feet directly behind the hole. I made the putt for consecutive eagles.

Two months later, I was playing in the Metro Golf Association's Friendship Cup event at Wolf Creek in Adrian when I sank an 8-iron shot for a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th. I now have three career aces with the first coming at Tamaron's No. 5 hole in 1986. Then nothing for 15 years, then two in two months. This game makes no sense!

Jim O'Neal

In January, 1990, I underwent surgery to replace my left hip while spending six months in Florida. Naturally, I couldn't play golf for a while, but the surgeon eventually gave me permission to chip and putt without making full turns or swings.

In April, my wife and I set out to play nine holes for the first time since my surgery. On the fourth hole, a par 3 of 145 yards, I hit a 7-wood shot in the hole. I thought to make a hole-in-one legal, you needed to complete a full round. Needless to say, I was done-in by the time I finished 18 holes.

Paul Kesler, Delta

A member of our regular golf group has had three holes-in-one in the past 10 years, but with two different livers. Joe Martini, the retired bursar at Bowling Green State University, had his first ace at Riverby Hills in 1992. Two years later, he had a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic and has since added two more holes-in-one, one at Ironwood in Wauseon and one at Forrest Creason, the BGSU campus course.

Allan Chamberlin, Bowling Green

Back in June of 1985, I was playing at Deme Acres in Petersburg, Mich., with my brother-in-law, Ron Dodds, and his son, Ronnie. I was up first on the 18th hole, which plays 172 yards, and I took my 5-wood from a new set of clubs, dropped a ball on the ground and hit it. Ron said it looked pretty good, then yelled that it went right into the hole. I didn't believe him, but I got to the green, looked in the cup and was in shock.

Two years later, the three of us, plus my uncle, who is a scratch golfer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., were back at Deme Acres. Ron and Ronnie had told my uncle about the ace so when we got to 18 he told me, “Hey, kid, another hole-in-one would really help your score.”

I said, “Yeah, right.” And, then, believe it or not, I hit my ball, saw it land on the green and roll right in the cup for my second hole-in-one on the same hole.

Lloyd Claussen, Temperance, Mich.

I had my most memorable day in golf a number of years back on July 3, 1990, as the attached Blade article recalls.

“Toledoan Jack Miller,” the article began, “has played golf for 30 years without ever coming close to a hole-in-one. Yesterday, Miller, 57, made two holes-in-one within 30 minutes of each other by sinking two 9-iron tee shots on the front nine at Ottawa Park.”

The aces came on the fifth (118 yards) and seventh (145 yards) holes and I was able to see both roll into the cup.

The closest I've come since was in Florida about six years ago when I had a one-inch, tap-in putt on a 183-yard hole.

Jack R. Miller, Sylvania

This story is eerie, but true; as surreal as it was exciting to witness. My group was standing on the old par-3 12th at Sycamore Hills in Fremont when the three of us noted that this was the hole a friend of ours named Bert had aced a couple years before. But none in our group had ever witnessed a hole-in-one let alone scored one although we had all been playing together for more than 20 years. So, of course, playing partner Larry Gwozdz, steps up first and knocks it right in the hole.

Since that day, I've been fortunate enough to have two aces of my own. One was priceless in that my two teenage sons were present recently when I aced my last shot of the day on the 18th hole at Loudon Meadows.

Al Rysz, Rossford

My son, Geoffrey Vollmer made a hole-in-one on Aug. 24, 2000 at the Napoleon Municipal Golf Course. The interesting part is that the ace occurred during Geoffrey's very first high school golf match as a 14-year-old freshman on Wauseon High School's junior varsity team. It made it more special that my husband, Doug, and I were there to witness it.

Karen Vollmer, Wauseon

OK, so I read the Enquirer. I don't believe the stories, I just read the dirt. One story caught my eye, though. It had to do with a blue dot; supposedly some psychic channeled all her energy into this blue dot and if you carried it around with you you'd have good luck. Stupid, right?

But I cut it out and carried it around in my purse. Months went by and I forgot all about it. One day I was getting ready to play in a ladies' golf tournament at Heather Downs Country Club. I was digging around in my purse looking for a bag of tees when I saw the blue dot all crinkled at the bottom. I figured, what the heck, and I put it in my pocket.

I played my usual game until we reached the fifth hole, a par 3 over a creek. I pulled my shot left and it landed way up on the hill, hit an old tree stump, rolled down the hillside, through a sand trap, popped up on the green, hit the pin and went in.

It definitely wasn't skill, but was it the blue dot? I still carry that dumb thing around and nothing as great has happened since. I guess it only works once.

Barb Gail

I'm writing because my husband, Bob Chew, won't. Male pride, I guess. But he has had two holes-in-one on the same hole, No. 14 at Ottawa Park. He has been all around the country playing golf but, needless to say, this is his favorite par 3.

Nancy Chew

I was scheduled to play in our Dayspring Church golf outing last July, but I had been up sick all the previous evening and was still “using the facilities” at home when the outing started. I decided I should go because, I asked myself, what if this is my day for a hole-in-one?

I arrived at Stone Ridge late and joined my group on its third hole, the par-3 13th. I took one warm-up swing, hit a perfect 5-iron shot 152 yards onto the green and right into the hole.

Gail Sterling, Perrysburg

How can a golfer's first hole-in-one become a golfer's worst nightmare? By not having a witness. My wife, Connie, usually walks the course with me, keeping score and tending the flag, but she was watching the grandkids that day, so I went by myself to Shady Grove. On the second hole, a short, 80-yarder, my sand wedge shot landed four feet short, rolled up and dropped in. There were only six golfers on the course and nobody anywhere close. I opened my mouth and screamed, “My first hole-in-one and no witness!!” It almost got worse. Four holes later, on the 153-yard sixth, my tee shot stopped six inches behind the hole.

Paul Inbody, Findlay

I think women will appreciate my story. I learned to golf quite some time ago, but never got out on the course much until marrying someone who played regularly. I joined a league and my husband Bill, who is quite competitive, wanted to see my partner and me win the league. So he took me out one weekend and tried to teach me everything since (wink) he knows it all.

We were playing No. 4 [Wolverine Course] at Bedford Hills and I took out an older ball because there's water to the left and I sort of assumed I'd hit it in there. Instead, I hit a pretty good shot and my husband screamed, “It went in, it went in!” He likes to joke and I truly didn't believe him but, sure enough, my ball was in the hole. While it was hard for him to accept that the rookie had the hole-in-one, not the veteran, he has always been a great sport about it.

He tried hard to get a hole-in-one since I had mine, and sure enough, he ended up getting one at the Maumee Sports Mall in the Jamie Farr Classic hole-in-one [qualifying] tournament.

Sheri Caldwell, Oregon

In the 1991 Chippewa men's summer scramble, my group reached the ninth tee and the group ahead of us yelled back to ask how we were doing. We had to birdie the 138-yard, uphill par-3 hole to tie them for the front nine. One of the fellows, Joe, said he was two inches from the cup and challenged us to get closer.

I went last, used an 8-iron, and the ball hit on the green three feet right of the hole, spun left and dropped in. Joe walked away from the green shaking his head and he and his teammates never said a word that can be printed. It was the first of my three holes-in-one during the 1990s.

Jim Blanchard

This isn't so much a story as a list, sort of a family plan of holes-in-one. I have had nine during my lifetime, including three at Chippewa, where I also scored a double eagle on the par-4 8th hole in 1984. My daughter, Jackie Hill, had an ace at Hidden Hills, my son-in-law Don Hill Sr., had one at Detwiler, and grandson Joe Gilreath also had a hole-in-one at Chippewa.

Dick Gwinner, Rossford

I had a hole-in-one at Tanglewood in Sept., 1972. It came at No. 8 and I proceeded to the next hole and hit my tee shot about 10 yards. Oh, well. The interesting thing is that almost 20 years later, in July of 2001, I aced the same hole while playing with the Maumee Senior Elks.

Paul Kleeberger, Perrysburg

It was a little after 7 o'clock on a dark and gloomy morning at Ironwood Golf Club in Wauseon and nobody could see where their shots were going, including my ball on hole No. 3. Sure enough, we found it in the cup. That was on June 7, 1993. On Aug. 26 of the same year, I used a 5-wood from 157 yards on the sixth hole, over a pond, and was able to watch as the ball bounced a couple times, hit the flag, and dropped in the hole. Two aces in one year, and none since.

Verlin Myers, Wauseon

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