Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A beginner's first Eagle

It was Sunday, May 22, 2005. I was at Tierra Rejada by myself, talking to management about the lesson fiasco. When all that was settled, I asked if they could get me out to play. After a short wait, they put another single with me and sent me out, free of charge. The guy’s name was Alonzo, and he seemed like a fine playing partner for the day. I still feel compelled to apologize in advance for any blunders I may make due to my beginner status, especially when playing alone, because people often assume that I’ll be better than I am if I’m willing to get out there by myself. So we get that out of the way. He played the regular white tees and I played the reds (they’re actually gold at Tierra).

We both made decent tee shots on this par 5 #1 hole. Then we both struggled a bit and wound up taking a pair of sevens. Got that out of the way, on to hole #2. It’s a par 3 with an elevated green. 130 yards for Alonzo, 105 for me, uphill with a little wind, pin in the front. He hit his a little long; we could see it go over the pin but we couldn’t see the green to see where it landed. There’s nothing but weeds and trouble behind the green, so you don’t want to be long, but if you’re short you still have to come over the hill to the green so you don’t want to be short. I teed up with my pitching wedge, took a little bit off my swing and hit a fine shot right at the pin. It had to be close. Alonzo said “that might be in the hole.” Yeah right, that’s what people say. I just laughed and I drove us up the hill. As we approached, we saw that my ball had rolled back onto the fringe at the front of the green. Like I thought, a fine shot. Alonzo was just off the back but not in the weeds. Also a fine shot on not the easiest of holes. When I got to my spot, I realized the object we thought was my ball was actually a cigarette butt, which I announced to Alonzo and I glanced around quickly, and didn’t see anything else around. We looked at each other and ran to the hole and sure enough, there it was! We laughed and jumped around and high-fived and hugged and had a glorious time. Neither of us had ever witnessed a hole in one before. We celebrated a little longer and then Alonzo putted out (I think he made par, but I was a little delirious). This was only the second hole; we had a lot more golf to play. Alonzo proceeded to tell everyone we ran into (the guys in front of us, the guys behind us, the marshall and the cart girl) about my achievement. On the fourth hole, the cart girl informed me of the policy that when you get an ace you have to buy drinks for everyone in the clubhouse. I told her to keep the news to herself and I didn’t want to see a crowd down there when we were done. I shot a 98, which was 5 under my handicap based on my index and course handicap that day (I created a calculator I’ll share with you later) so it was a record round in that respect as well. Plus, I got off easy at the clubhouse – there were only four people in there. The club had me fill out a form, and had Alonzo sign it as my witness. Then they had me sign my ball (I actually kept the original and gave them a duplicate) and they put it on display in their ace case. So yes, it was my first Eagle, it just happened to occur on a par 3!

Next post.

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