A Six-Pointer! Or how one of my playing partners aced a par four...with a stroke
Enjoyed a cool but dry and relatively calm round at Goswick Golf Club on Sunday. Alas, my game was about as drab as the cloud cover. But one of my playing partners -- Keith Turnbull -- managed to brighten up the proceedings by capturing lighting in a bottle on the 304-yard (from the winter tees) 8th hole.
Simply put, he aced it! Absolutely crushed his driver, propelling his ball on a penetrating tight draw arc unmoved by a cross breeze that, after a favorable bounce and a wee bit of roll, found its way into the cup. Double-eagle. Albatross. Whatever name you prefer, it was brilliant.
Now, links golf often presents blind approach shots where you can see the ball in flight but are not entirely certain of the result until you reach the green. Think of it as an extra dose of drama free of spoiler alerts. In this instance, the drama was further heightened as the ball was nowhere to be found when we set foot on the putting surface. Keith, not wanting to jump to an unrealistic conclusion, first checked the mounds behind the green -- assuming that his scorching tee shot had simply run through. It wasn't until that search came up empty that he asked another member of our group -- George Millar -- to check the hole. Lo and behold, there it was.
We had a Stableford match going at the time. So even though George and I managed a par with a stroke for three points, it paled in comparison to Keith's net zero for six points. Not that we felt the least bit put out by that trouncing.
Keith's partner, Paul, very thoughtfully extracted his smartphone from his bag to commemorate the moment with a photo. As you can likely deduce, that's Keith in the center with the ball, George on the left with the pin and me on the right with the goofy grin.
This moment of pure golfing joy, however, wasn't completely devoid of some controversy. On the previous hole, George made a net par for two points and Paul had a net bogey for one. As such, I assumed that exchange had earned us the honor on the 8th tee -- yet Keith stepped up to hit first. I raised a mild protest. But my playing partners informed that's just not how it's done over here. And you know what happened next.
For the record, the subtleties of Stableford vs. better-ball protocol were discussed and clarified over a bottle of Famous Grouse (compliments of Keith) in the clubhouse after the round. He was, indeed, in the right. His moment will live on untainted.
Keith said he's only had one other hole-in-one in his life, on a bit of a flukey mishit shot on a par 3. This one, however, requires no asterisk. Dead solid perfect. Well done, Keith.
And perhaps it will inspire the golfing gods to allow me just one such moment. After some 40 years in the game, it doesn't seem like too much to ask.